The Pyrex Series: How to Know What to Pay for Vintage Pyrex

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Favorites, originally uploaded by jenib320.
Welcome to The Pyrex Series! Over the coming month and possibly beyond, I will be posting weekly Pyrex posts. We will cover everything from the different types and sizes to patterns, cleaning tips, and pricing. Here is a basic overview to get you started! If you have any questions please let me know in the comments and I can incorporate them into the posts!

Find all the posts in the series here: The Pyrex Series
My favorite vintage Pyrex reference book: Pyrex Passion by Michael D. Barber*
My favorite vintage Pyrex reference website: Pyrex Love

Pyrex 101
When you see a piece of Pyrex, first and foremost don't get too excited! This is especially important if you are at a flea market. Often vendors price items on the spot and if they see you are really interested in one of their items, they are more likely to give you a higher price. Also, if there are a lot of pieces, you will be drawing attention (during your momentary squeals of glee) and possibly attract others to the treasure trove of Pyrex!

The next thing you want to do is thoroughly examine the piece. Pick it up, run your fingers along the edges to check for chips. If possible, hold it up to the light to check for scratches in the pattern. What kinds of stains are on it? If they are brownish and look like grease stains, Mr. Clean Eraser should be able to handle them along with some baking soda paste. Gray metal marks are more difficult but not impossible to get out. Is the dish still shiny? Is the color faded? Is there a lid included? These are all important things to ask yourself when examining a piece.

Flamingo Pink, originally uploaded by jenib320.
One of the hardest things about collecting Pyrex is how to know if you're paying the right price. The most important thing to remember about pricing is that it is worth what you are willing to pay for it. You decide how much it is worth to you. Try not to use the "if I sold this on eBay how much would I get?" mentality when buying. While eBay can be a great place to sell items and to learn a little about pricing, unless you are specifically buying items to resell it is not a particularly wise strategy. I follow a few simple guidelines when evaluating an item:

1. If I found this item in absolutely perfect condition, how much would I pay for it? If the item I am considering is in lesser condition but priced higher than my max, I walk away.

2. How high is it on my wish list? If it is an item I really want, I am usually willing to pay a little more for it.

3. How "rare" is the item? It is important to familiarize yourself with common patterns and promotional items. There are some patterns that were more widely produced than others, or simply vary in popularity among collectors. I set lower price limits for common patterns because I am more likely to run across those items again, hopefully at a lower price.

4. Does it have a lid? A patterned lid, or even a glass lid that doesn't have any chips in it definitely adds value to a piece, and may be worth a dollar or two more than I would pay for that item sans lid.

5. How much would I pay for the whole set? When I find a lone bowl from a mixing bowl set, I like to ask myself how much I would pay for the whole set. This helps me decide about how much I would pay for an individual piece.

Friendship Cinderella Bowls, originally uploaded by jenib320.
*Remember, one of the biggest factors that comes into pricing is location. The trend seems to be that prices in the east and mid-west are generally less than those on the west coast. This is certainly not always the case but from talking to other Pyrex collectors seems to be pretty common.

Next week we will cover the different sizes Pyrex made and go over the numbering system!

Happy Pyrexing!

*Note: Any links marked with an asterisk in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click through and buy something, I make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.


  1. Thank-you for a very informative Pyrex post! I buy all of my Pyrex from the local thrift stores. The biggest problem that I have is deciding which piece to purchase, because there is always a great selection to be found. My hardest choice came a few months back when I found a complete set of Friendship Cinderella Bowls just like you have pictured and the big daisy bowl. All I had to spend was $5. So I settled on the daisy because that is what I could afford and it completed my set. But oh, what a choice! I think I will try to look at some of antique malls next. Looking forward to your next series about the numbering system.

  2. Jeni, you've made my day!!!! I definitely need to learn which pieces are rare and a good idea of what to pay for normal pieces! I have my eye on a bowl at a local antique store, it's in the town & country pattern, I love it because it looks like cross stitch, it's in great condition and it's $8 but for some reason, I couldn't bring myself to buy it & now I'm kicking myself.

    I did buy 3 gooseberry cinderella bowls for $40, I'm sure that was kinda expensive but I haven't been able to find any online that had ok shipping, plus gooseberry was my very first little piece and it was the bowl that the set didn't come with. They aren't in perfect condition but thats ok, I feel like it's "ok" to use them, haha.

    You should share your ultimate finds! And your favorites!

  3. Such a great idea! I wish I had known this stuff when I had started collecting.

  4. i am looking forward to next weeks's post!
    i always get confused about sizes and numbers *eek*

  5. I found your site after reading that great article in the Star. I had a educational Pyrex post prepared for my blog but yours was far better. So I just posted my inventory and put a link to you. Thank you for sharing. It was very informative and I just adore the pictures as well as your collection. Well Done.

  6. There is an excellent group on Facebook called Vintage Pyrex Love and a Pyrex Love group on Flickr. You may want to check them out if you are not already in them.
    And since you are in Madison you might want to take a short drive south to South Beloit, there's an excellent antique mall called Angela's Attic. My wife and I found a ton of Pyrex while road tripping back from our wedding in Florida.

  7. If prices are lower on the east coast, I can't even imagine what they'd be on the west coast!!!

    Most times when i'm on my pyrex hunts, the average casserole with lid is $20... and I paid $35 for my set of mixing bowls, but there were two yellow and no blue. And I practically had to fight off a crazy lady who was trying to tell me that she saw them first even though I was the person with the bowls in hand.

    Anyway... thanks for all the info on pyrex!

  8. eBay is the way to go when buying Pyrex! The red bowl is usually the hardest to find in good shape. I love my bowls. I have a complete set of Pyrex, a complete 5 piece set of Jadeite Fire King Swirl, A complete set of the old stoneware bowls that have the blue stripe, a new set of jadeite Fire King bowls, a complete set of 5 white swirl fire King Bowls, a complete set of the tulip bowls, the complete set of old Jadeite Fire King beaded bowls and
    I forgot what else. I love mixing bowls, and eBay has been a huge help!

  9. Hmm. I have Pyrex generally in great condition but I have some older solid bowls with paint scratches. Do you usually pass on those - mine cost about $2-$3 each in 442-444 sizes. I believe they are from the green verde line. I also have a large red 444. The yellow bowls scratched don't show up when displayed.
    I use my Pyrex every day (:


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