Marie Kondo has been out there encouraging everyone to get rid of things that don’t spark joy, but you might be about to find joy in an unlikely place! Whether you’ve had these most of your life or you’ve been gifted them from older relatives for your first apartment, you could be sitting on a gold mine in the back of your pantry.
Rare CorningWare Dishes
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably got a small stash of CorningWare casserole dishes hidden in the back of your cupboards. But let’s be honest, when was the last time you used them? Probably a while ago, right? So, they sit there collecting dust, when they could net you a small fortune.
It’s recently come to light that collectors are now on the hunt for ‘rare’ CorningWare designs and are willing to pay mega bucks for them. Sentimentality is huge for collectors and it’s driving them to search for CorningWare pieces. ‘Collecting is often what you remember, which is why this is big now because baby boomers are buying back what they grew up with. Boomers are decorating with these pieces in their homes.’ says glass expert Dean Six, to New Idea Food. Patterns that had short runs are the most collectible because they are more difficult to find, but even some of the more common ones could still get you decent money. (1)
CorningWare Wedding Gifts
In the 1970s and 1980s, CorningWare was all the rage for wedding gifts, with some people receiving entire sets. If you still have a full set, it could be worth a mint! ‘One piece of CorningWare, in a pattern not widely produced, sold on eBay recently for $7,000,’ Six says. ‘It was a 1970s product that fizzled’. And that’s just the one piece. Imagine how much a full set could go for to the right buyer? (1)
What is CorningWare?
Since being introduced in 1958, CorningWare has been popular for its pyroceramic glass cookware. It can survive sudden temperature swings without cracking. This means that you can take your Corning Ware glass ceramic casserole dish from the refrigerator and straight to the stovetop without having to wait for it to acclimate to the room’s temperature. This saves you time an effort. You no longer have to wait for ages in fear that the dish might crack from the sudden change in temperature. Using only one dish also saves on washing up, which is always a good thing! (2)
As it turns out, CorningWare was actually invented by accident! S. Donald Stookey was experimenting at Corning one day in 1953. He put photosensitive glass into a furnace intending to heat it to 600 degrees. ‘When I came back, the temperature gauge was stuck on 900 degrees, and I thought I had ruined the furnace,’ he said in an interview several years ago. ‘When I opened the door to the furnace, I saw the glass was intact and had turned a milky white. I grabbed some tongs to get it out as fast as I could, but the glass slipped out of the tongs and fell to the floor. The thing bounced and didn’t break. It sounded like steel hitting the floor.’ Fascinating how things just happen. (3)
If I were you, I’d get hunting in your cupboards for any old CorningWare you might still have. Or better yet, visit your older family members and see if they’d like to go in with you on selling their set. You could even look at yard sales to see if anyone is getting rid of them for cheap, or become a collector yourself. If a piece is in good condition with no cracks or discoloration it may be worth thousands of dollars!