INDIANAPOLIS – When I first wrote about Pyrex five years ago, I thought it would have its "day in the sun" and quickly return to the oblivion from which it came. Not so! It is is still going strong, and if I had to name the number one vintage collectible for 2019 it would undoubtedly be Pyrex!
Not to be confused with more recent issues, it is Pyrex products from 1946 through the late 1960s that collectors are looking for. “Tough as nails and guaranteed,” the original borosilicate formula for Pyrex was replaced after just a few years by a soda-lime composition line created specifically for the U.S. military effort during World War II. After the war, Pyrex products were made of this opal glass and decorated with bright solid colors or patterns.
Be it an online shop, one of our local antique malls, or on a table at a neighborhood yard sale, collectors are willing to pay top dollar to get that one piece to complete their collection. By the nature of its design, Pyrex is a collectors dream because the majority of it came in sets, and you simply must have the full set! Serious collectors are amassing huge collections of the popular kitchenware including refrigerator sets, nesting mixing bowls and salt and pepper shakers.
Chip and Dip sets were at the peek of their popularity from 1950 to 1959 and two of the top sellers were produced by Pyrex. Both of these are turquoise and white. The often unmarked "Hot 'N Cold Chip and Dip" in the Eyes pattern was issued in 1950, and 1958 saw the release of the Balloon pattern Chip 'n Dip, which is always marked. Both of these are found in the popular turquoise and white. These sets are composed of a large bowl and small bowl and a bracket to hold them together. Note that the absence of the bracket can greatly decrease value.
First introduced in 1958, the Cinderella nesting bowls took the already popular mixing bowl concept a step further by adding a handle on one side and a pour-spout on the other. First year issues came in three patterns and were available in turquoise, pink, yellow and black. Sandalwood, currently a very popular color, was added in 1961.
Casserole dishes, made in colors and patterns to coordinate with the mixing bowls, first appeared in the late '40s. Some were a part of kitchenware sets while others were sold only at holiday time or in other company promotions. The lids for casseroles came with a variety of top knobs and some had none at all. A favorite among collectors is the 1957 2-quart casserole that came with a candle warmer. Cinderella features were added a year later.
Oven-Refrigerator sets are one of the most common finds in Pyrex, but are often incomplete. A spin off of the squared stack-able clear glass issues of the late 1920s, the colored refrigerator sets introduce in 1949 came in a 1.5 quart yellow, 1.5 pint in blue and 1.5 cups in red, all with clear ribbed lids.
Perhaps the most popular of all the Pyrex collectibles are the nesting bowls. The first produced were the “#400 Multicolored Mixing Bowls,” or primary bowls. The set will include a 4-quart yellow bowl, a 5-quart green bowl, a 1.25-quart red bowl, and a half-quart blue bowl. Note that all Pyrex mixing bowls from all eras come in these four sizes, but the newer ones will have thinner walls.
Pyrex patterns that are currently trending include “Gooseberry,” “Dot,” and the aforementioned "Balloon." Considered by many to be the "Holy Grail" of Pyrex is a seldom seen pattern called 'Lucky in Love." The design, which features green grass, clover and pink hearts, was released for one year only in 1959. If you see it at a fair price, grab it!
Until next time, Linda
Linda Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in downsizing for seniors and the valuation of estates. She may be reached at 317-258-7835 or firstname.lastname@example.org.