7 Vintage Kitchen Items That Could Make You Rich, Experts Say
The resale value on certain bowls, containers, and cookware can be surprisingly high.
It's no secret that buying new cookware, appliances, or gadgets for your kitchen can cost a small fortune if you're looking for a specific brand. But what home chefs may not realize is that some of the heirloom and antique items they're using to whip up meals are quite valuable. These days, a lucrative resale market has popped up that can turn some of your mixers, toasters, and bowls into a stack of cash. Read on for the vintage kitchen items that are worth money, according to experts.
One eye-catching kitchen decor style from decades ago could catch you some serious cash.
"Made of milk glass colored in a jade green tone, jadeite was all the rage in the 1940s and 1950s," says Ksenya Malina, a New York-based interior designer and vintage specialist. "Today, jadeite is a collector's item that usually comes in the form of vintage refrigerator boxes, measuring cups, or butter dishes, fetching around $70 to $150 each."
Vintage cast iron skillets and pots
Cast iron pots and pans have stood the test of time as one of the most beloved and versatile objects in the kitchen. And according to experts, their value has been just as durable as their build.
"Vintage and antique cast iron can be worth $100 or more. Look for older brands like Chicago Hardware, Wagner, and Griswold—and do not be afraid of some rust," suggests Sophia du Brul, an appraisals expert with JustAnswer. "Chances are good that the pan you find at a thrift store or estate sale has been neglected but these pans can easily be cleaned and reseasoned, ready for resale or your next camping trip."
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In decades past, some appliances were built so well that they're just as reliable today. And if you've been lucky enough to have inherited gadgets from years gone by, you might be able to cash them in for a considerable sum.
"Mid-century stand mixers, toasters, and coffeemakers from brands like KitchenAid, Oster, and Sunbeam can sell for hundreds or even thousands of dollars to avid collectors," says Lindsey Chastain, the founder of home blog The Waddle and Cluck.
Specifically, she says the holy grail for many collectors are KitchenAid Model K mixers made between 1937 and the early 1950s, known as the 'workhorse' models. "These were built to last generations and came in colors like Petal Pink, Sunset Yellow, and Island Green. Pristine examples can easily reach $4,000-5,000 at auction."
Vintage enamel bowls
Modern mixing and prep bowls tend to be made of stainless steel or glass. However, one vintage style can stand out in your kitchen while still being functional—and potentially profitable.
"Evoking French countryside nostalgia, enamel bowls in simple white with a black rim make the perfect addition to a farmhouse-style kitchen," says Malina. "Once a utilitarian staple, these products now fetch decent amounts for their retro looks, typically around at least $50 apiece—which can add up quickly if you have a set or stack."
Novelty juice sets
A lot of things have changed about kitchens over the years—and it's not just the appliances and tools we use. Experts say some products that have outgrown their use can still fetch a high value, thanks to nostalgia.
"Remember when all OJ was frozen OJ? Years ago, you needed to have a juice carafe for mixing your frozen OJ," explains du Brul. "Complete juice sets, carafes, and little juice glasses with their cute enameled designs intact can fetch $50-$100 a set. Just make sure the designs are nice and crisp on all the pieces."
Modern non-stick cookware is easily replaceable by design. However, vintage products like Waterford Colorcast stand out for their striking appearance, durability, and functionality that have carried them through today.
"Made in Ireland, this is another line of enameled cast iron from the 60s and 70s," says du Brul. "All of their pieces have a sleek, mid-century modern vibe in red, orange, yellow, or white. Waterford Colorcast is fairly rare and not as well known as Le Creuset, but it resells at $50 and up."
Vintage Le Creuset
It's hard to top Le Creuset when it comes to enameled cookware. The brand remains a beloved kitchen staple, making it a fixture on wedding registries and wishlists. But if there's anything that can top a fresh set, it's a vintage version.
"A favorite of Julia Child, these enameled cast iron pans last forever and can be worth several hundred dollars," du Brul tells Best Life. "The oldest Le Creuset only came in flame—an orangey red—and has an integrated handle in the lid. Later, Le Creuset started to use a black asphalt knob and introduced dark green, dark blue, and yellow to their color lines."
But before you get too excited about cashing in your heirloom, there are a few things to remember. "Look for chips in the enamel, but if the inside is black and crusted, just use oven cleaner to get it to look like new," suggests du Brul.
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