The Corningware Con

Corningware photo by David Trinks on Unsplash

Or: No One is Going to Pay You 27K for a Used Casserole Dish. Settle Down.

I was messing around on Etsy recently, when I stumbled across a series of listings for Corningware, a brand of casserole dish first produced in the 1950s and popular for the next 4 decades.

As I scrolled through the listings, I was baffled to see that the humble casserole dishes I had grown up with were being sold for prices upwards of a thousand dollars. Checking eBay I found even more inflated prices, with the most expensive listing starting at $25,000.

25K and they’re still charging for postage?!?

What was going on?

Was Corningware code for something?

Were these listings really selling a piece of Pyroceram cookware or something much more nefarious? Like hard drugs. Or yellow cake uranium.

And, if people were suddenly paying thousands of dollars for retro kitchenware, should I start hitting my nearest thrift stores and raiding my grandmother’s cabinets in an effort to find some?

I didn’t know, so I hit Google.

The first news article that caught my eye seemed to confirm what I had seen on the online auction sites. People were indeed making money out of Corningware, with one enterprising thrift shopper (name withheld) noting she had been able to fund a family holiday by selling just a few pieces online.

Well, that was it.

I began to see not just dollar signs but possibilities.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Suddenly, all those things that had been out of my financial reach seemed possible. Maybe I would be able to travel Europe after all. Maybe, if I sold enough secondhand Corningware, I would even be able to buy a house!

That was it. I was ready to jump in my car and begin a quest to find every piece of used Corningware in my state.

But before I did that, I decided to check exactly what people were paying for the stuff.

Returning to eBay, I typed Corningware into the search bar, hit ADVANCED and ticked the SOLD ITEMS box. A few seconds later I could see the prices of every piece of Corningware sold on eBay in the last three months.


For a casserole dish.

It appeared the hype was real. People really were shelling over their hard earned cash for cookware.

And yet, something didn’t feel right. I mean, that third listing doesn’t even have a lid. From my understanding of antique collecting (gained largely from episodes of Bargain Hunt and Dr Lori on You Tube), you want your vintage item to be intact before you pay the big bucks. So, before I jumped in my car and visited every thrift store within a 50 kilometre radius of my house, I decided to do a little more research.

Soon after, I came across an article on The Insider that seemed to address my concerns. With the help of an antiques appraiser, the article explained that these Sold For listings were most likely bogus. Those that had a Best Offer option had most likely been sold for much less than their listed price. However, the price they really sold for didn’t appear onscreen, as per eBay’s practice.

The article is worth a look if you’re interested but if you can’t be bothered, then I would recommend looking at the eBay SOLD FOR prices yourself. After scrolling past the first three listings you might notice, like I did, that the prices decrease to the much more sensible $50 to $75 mark.

Not pennies, but not a windfall either. No one was paying off their mortgage by selling a few dishes on Ebay.

Maybe one or two people on the internet are making big Corningware bucks. But my guess is that story on the “reputable” news organisation website was clickbait.

Influential clickbait, if Etsy and eBay listings are anything to go by, but clickbait all the same.

And to think, I almost fell for it. I almost got swept up in the Corningware Con.

So, while I won’t be raiding every thrift store in my state in the hopes I hit kitchenware paydirt, I’ll still keep an eye out for the curiously coveted cookware.

After all, 50 bucks is 50 bucks.

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

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