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The Gooseberry Hunt

As I shared the other day, while visiting an antiques shop in Virginia, I fell in love with a set of vintage Pyrex. I’ve also shared in prior posts that other than cookbooks, I’m not a collector of anything.

I’m also not an antiques lover, or so I thought. But this Pyrex bug has bitten me pretty hard. I found a very nice set of vintage Amish Butterprint Pyrex mixing bowls on eBay the other day for $35. An early Christmas gift to myself, it almost made up for leaving the pink Gooseberry bowls behind in Virginia. But not quite.

I’m sure you can see where this is heading….

This morning I had to run a couple of errands. Along the way  there is a pretty big Salvation Army store. From what I’ve read on the vintage Pyrex site, Pyrex Love (don’t even give me crap that I’m aware of this site), it’s not uncommon to find vintage Pyrex at thrift shops and rummage sales. So, I stopped in to see if they by any chance had any pieces. You just never know.

I beelined right to the house wares section and lo’n behold there it was. A gleaming stack of Amish Butterprint just sitting there amongst the other junk. A big sticker on the top said Sold As Is $5.99.

Sweet mother of Betsy! $5.99? I grabbed it off the shelf and did my best to inspect it. It was all taped together with packing tape and I couldn’t see the bowls tucked inside. There were no visible chips or cracks, so off to the cashier I went. $5.99. Craziness.

Now, to be honest, I felt a little guilty about this purchase. I had already ordered the bowls in this very pattern off of eBay as I mentioned before. BUT when I took the tape off, I discovered that it wasn’t the bowls nesting inside. It was the matching casseroles. I danced in the parking lot.

Just look at this. I don’t even think they were ever used. I mean, they were produced in 1957! So lovely.

Ok, so that was pretty amazing and I should’ve stopped there and gone home. But as luck would have it, right across from the Salvation Army is an indoor weekend flea market. Why would I not just take a peek?

When I walked in I was a little creeped out. Ok, a lot creeped out. It was in a sketchy building that looked like it should be condemned and most of the stuff was piled up in jumbled heaps on the floor and on teetering tables.

The sellers were smoking cigs outside and I’m pretty sure they had flasks squirrled away somewhere close by that they’d probably tap into before noon. I guess you could call it a little rough looking.

But as you know, I’m an adventurer and I plunged ahead. This is the kind of place where you have to dig a bit to see what’s there. And I thought I was going to leave empty handed, but I saw a glimmer of red and white peek out of a very banged up cardboard box.

As I pushed the dusty junk off of the box, I discovered that it was a vintage 1950′s Pyrex nesting bowl set along with a set of ramekins. Lord Have Mercy.

The owner of the table was not around and he put his neighbor in charge of his table. The set had no tag, so I asked how much? $20 he said. I tried very hard not to let my jaw hit the floor. I didn’t haggle. I whipped out my payment and hustled back to my car. Smiling a big cheshire smile the entire way.

But it still wasn’t pink.

At that point I should’ve called it quits. Really, that was a lot to be content with. Beautiful vintage bowls that I will certainly not only treasure, but get tons of use out of in my baking and also as props for my food photography. And I paid a fraction of what they are worth. A very good morning indeed.

But that pink Gooseberry was still haunting me, so I made one last stop at a local antiques dealer. I really didn’t think that they would have the set and if they did, they’d surely know the value.

My area is known for antiques shopping. Antique shops line our roads and are as prevalent as Dunkin’ Donuts. But the problem is that they know the value of their stuff.

It’s not like other parts of the country where you can go find a sleepy little antiques shop and score something spectacular for $5 when it’s worth $5,000. The dealers here know their values.

I figured if they had the Pyrex Goosberry set, they’d charge accordingly. So, when I saw three pink Gooseberry bowls stacked up on a shelf I was shocked and I figured I couldn’t afford them.

But upon closer inspection, the bowls were very reasonably priced. They were tagged individually, but when I asked if they would lower the price if I bought the whole set, they tossed in a bowl for free.

$30 for all three. Certainly not as amazing as my $5.99 Salvation Army find, but $15 less than what the dealer in Virginia wanted.

It would appear that I’m now a collector. And while I won’t do the eBay thing to grow my collection, I’ll certainly keep my eye out for crazy thrift store finds in the future.

Some people collect LLadro. I collect Pyrex. At least it’s not an expensive thing to collect. But it sure is pretty! And it’s pink. Squee.

Now I just have to figure out where in Sam hill I’m going to put this stuff…

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Comments

  1. Michele B. says:

    Please disregard any hate mail/messages from my husband. I read your post on the “original find” pink Pyrex and IMMEDIATELY hit up ebay to see what they had. I haven’t purchased any pieces yet but it’s inevitable….I’m going to be a Pyrex junky and I have you to thank. Thank you :)

    • Be careful. This is a highly contagious hobby, lol. Your best bet will be hunting and pecking at yard sales and flea markets. Pieces still go for a buck or two if you hit the right sales. eBay sellers know what the stuff is worth! So, they charge much more. And from what I’ve read, there’s still a ton a vintage Pyrex in circulation!

  2. Krista S. says:

    BEAUTIFUL!!!

  3. Sally in Seattle says:

    Lucky you! I love, love, LOVE the solid pyrex bowls for every day needs. Ever heard of Moderntone Platonite.. you can search using either word…. I love red and have a collection of this in one of my china closets. Consider yourself blessed today. :)

    • Oh dear. Moderntone Platonite? I’m afraid to look. I don’t need another addiction. ;)

      • Oh don’t look at the Moderntone Platonite! You will be hooked on that too. It is 1940s Hazel Atlas Glass Company, made in opaque white, then in pastels in blue, green, pink and yellow. They are stunning but getting pretty pricey!!!

  4. I love finding old pyrex bowls and casserole dishes at Goodwill! Love it love it! You found some great deals!

    • I wish we had more thrift stores close by. I guess I’ll just have to wait patiently for yard sale season next summer. Boy that’s a long time away!

  5. I love a good thrift store find! Congrats Melanie!

  6. Mel, your words at the end of your post were my thoughts throughout reading this – I was thinking, “And just where is she going to put these wonderful pieces?” I think you need some sort of display cabinet/curio just for your new/future collection of antique Pyrex. By the way, I absolutely love all the pieces. They are gorgeous. I have a few but I only got them because they were given to me by my uncle from my grandmother’s house. I didn’t even know they’re so collectible but you’ve enlightened me…again. Great post, as always Mel. I know that everything you photograph with these will enhance your dishes to the max.

    • Storage is an issue in my house. There isn’t much of it. Between my food stockpile and my kitchen tools, it’s a tight fit here. :)

      I’m so glad you have a few pieces of your own. They are wonderful. Even better that they come from your Grandma’s house!!

  7. Etsy carries these too!!!

    • Oh great. I didn’t need to know that, lol. Another site to stalk. I wonder if their prices are more affordable than eBay?? Must resist the urge to go look….

  8. Jennifer B. says:

    Congratulations on all your purchases of such lovely pieces. Persistence pays off!

  9. You are making me want some now too! My grandma has the mixing bowls you have the picture of but just I think three or four of them by now. They are AWESOME

  10. Lollie ~ The Fortuitous Housewife says:

    What a fun adventure, thanks for taking us along with you!

  11. Stephanie P. says:

    I remember my Mom having some of these as a kid and probably her mom too! They’re awesome! Brings back memories….

    • Yes, they speak of a simpler time. I made a recipe with a couple pieces yesterday and it felt good to know that they will be used for years to come. My girls were cooing over the pink and blue bowls, so odds are good that they will want them when I’m gone. They are sturdy enough that I think they can make it through multiple generations!

  12. I just did a happy dance for you. Such a great start to your collection.

  13. I knew this would happen, it always does after you get that first piece!

    Great deals! The original bowls you found, the 401 (smallest) looks brown, the true color is blue

    • Yup. I was aware of that when I bought it, but I got so many additional pieces from that vendor included in that $20 that I didn’t care. I’ll run into the blue one someday somewhere. :)

  14. Congratulations – very well played!!!
    And if you divide all the pieces up between the eight nights of Chanukah you can really amortize the costs!
    ;o)
    - Lee

  15. As I read I decided to go to our Goodwill store more often. My very next thought was, “Now, where would I put anything new?” :)
    I love them! Nice finds!

  16. So glad that you found your bowls!

    I think you are an official collector now!

    I live in NW Florida (close to Alabama) and the best places are the grungy shops with the owners smoking outside. They usually have open bottles of whiskey and quite often have tattoos of rebel flags (and I have seen rebel misspelled on the tattoo more than once).

    And you need a cabinet to display your beautiful bowls!

    • Yeah, I think you’re right. The grungy places are they way to go. It’s better to go with a friend though, lol. I felt a little odd at that flea market. Maybe it’s because I was the youngest female in the room, but I felt like they were oogling me. Just a strange feeling. But I got the bowls. Mission accomplished. :)

      • You are gorgeous – of course they were oggling you!

        Look in the mirror – I know everyone else that visits you feels the same way…..

  17. Oh I just LOVE that Amish Butterprint!! In my experience, the trashier the place, the better the deals. You hit the nail on the head about the antiques stores usually knowing the value of their stuff. We have a really nice one downtown but it is ridiculously expensive :(

    • Yeah, the antique shops are grossly inflated here too. This area is considered a tourist area and the shops charge accordingly. BUT you just never know. That one shop I visited had them for much less than eBay prices. It pays to check it out.

  18. Welcome to the club! I’ve had good luck finding pieces on Craigslist in addition to the thrifts.

  19. Your finds are fabulous and your haul is impressive! Did not know about this whole “old Pyrex” collecting niche… I have one piece of old Pyrex – a 1.5 qt casserole with lid – it was something that I “needed” when I moved out on my own, since I knew what recipes fit in it and had cooked in my Mom’s kitchen and she would not let me take hers along. Mine isn’t as cute as her orange and white one, but mine does have a metallic gold design on the side and a clear lid and has stool up through a lot of use and still looks new. Some day your girls will be on the search for ones like yours :)

  20. Hi Melanie!
    First of all, I can’t take my eyes off that top photo. The window in the background looks so cool! I never thought much about Pyrex bowls, but these are awesome! It now makes me wonder what I could find in this neck of the woods! Happy Holidays!

    • Thank you! I like that picture too. There’s something about backlight that makes Pyrex shine. :) Just check out any thrift shops in the area. That’s a good place to find pieces for cheap. I’m now awaiting summer so I can get back to yard sailing. I didn’t buy much of anything at yard sales last year, but I wasn’t aware of vintage Pyrex then. It’s a new story next summer. ;)

  21. Cheryl P. says:

    My mom had the blue and white set when I was a kid. She probably still has it! Thanks for bringing back a few memories from my childhood!

    • I think all of our moms had them, lol. Such an iconic product from our childhood. I love how they’ve held up over the years. A well made product made right here in the USA. Love it!

      • KayLuvsCookin' says:

        I am SO GLAD to learn that I’m not the only one who likes to collect kitchen things. To date, my most treasured find would have to be the Waterford crystal glasses that were screaming to me from the shelf of a thrift shop in a little town near Savannah, GA. Talk about a heart-stopper…they were an IDENTICAL match to the juice glasses my mother-in-law had given to me. They were a wedding gift when she & my father-in-law got married…IN 1937!!! I bought the set of five for $4.00! Can you believe that? The shopkeeper was shocked when I told her what they were, but, when I asked if she wanted more for them, she refused to raise the price. I left feeling a little guilty and VERY happy! You are so right about places not realizing what they have. Just yesterday, I was in our Goodwill Store & found some really cool treasures, including a cast iron dinner bell, complete with the piece that could have been nailed to the post of a porch. As I looked at it, an image of a rancher’s wife calling everyone to dinner came to mind. At only $5.00, I couldn’t pass it up!!

  22. Cassie Sue says:

    I have those first bowls. They are a replica of what my grandmother got on her wedding day, and she gave a set to each of her daughters on their wedding day. Then when I got married, my dad and stepmother found a set for me too. Pretty cool, huh?

    • That is super cool. What a special gift. I bet you’ll treasure that gift more than any other wedding gift. I have a set of china from my wedding that’s still in the boxes. Never used. I’m just not a china type of gal. Nor are my four kids. ;)

  23. Capability:Mom loves vintage Pyrex too! So pretty!

  24. Welcome to the club! You’re off to a very impressive start!

    Before you find out the hard way, as I did, let me clue you in. Pyrex & dishwashers do not mix. The effects aren’t immediate, but they are permanent & very sad. All those pretty designs & colors fade in the dishwasher.

    Also, if (when) you find some well-used Pyrex with baked-on grunge, Barkeeper’s Friend is very good at de-grunging. Pyrex Love (& possibly the Pyrex Files) should have instructions for reviving grungy Pyrex.

    My only piece of Gooseberry is a loaf fridgie. The solid colors appeal to me more, generally, but pink! And berries! So pretty!

    • Yes! I’ve done a lot of reading about this stuff and I will never put it in the dishwasher. I devoured Pyrex Love. I read every single post. It’s too bad that it isn’t updated more often. I think the last post was in July. I may continue on where she left off and post when I find interesting pieces. Of course that won’t be very often because yard sale season is officially over here and I won’t pay eBay prices. I’d much rather find a piece here or there locally for a couple of bucks than what eBay commands! And I don’t know what a loaf fridgie is. So much to learn!

      • http://pyrexcollective.blogspot.com/

        Pictures of fridgies in the banner!

        They have lids, & they stack & fit together. They can hold leftovers & can go in the oven! The small ones also happen to be the ideal size for holding teabags.

        When I make applesauce bread for the library bake sale, my counter is covered in them.

        • Oh dear. They are so precious. And little. Certainly I can make room for a few of those. Another website to visit too! Awesome!

        • Love the fridgies. They seem harder to find. Or at least I haven’t seen them anywhere. They are super cute!!

  25. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry but had to get your attention. Yesterday while searching different blogs I came across a mom blogger who mentioned http://www.shopgoodwill.com . I have totally been checking and searching items on the website. So this evening when I read your post I was like wow those are really cute. I went back on shopgoodwill and did a search and low and behold I located the Gooseberry bowls you are looking for and they are going for $7.00 total + shipping. You guys all need to check out the site its pretty neat.

    • Oh no. I’m afraid to click the link. I might fall in forever. Cant. Fight. The. Urge. CLICK!

    • Cassie Sue says:

      That site is amazing, but the shipping is always crazy high, so be careful before you click. I’m not sure who they go through for their shipping (I can’t remember) but I bought a cute jacket for $4, and then paid $10 to ship it to me. I mean still $14, but it was just a lot of money getting it to me.

  26. Hmmm, not a collector except for cookbooks but you have a recently revealed desire to gather vintage cookware… Visiting Pyrex Love web sites, dancing in parking lots and hanging out in sketchy buildings with shifty characters. I think an intervention is needed Stat! I have been to the Boston, MA area and there is nothing more prolific than Dunkin’ Donuts! You have more DDs than Ireland has pubs! Anyway, the Melanie Pyrex Collection circa 2012 may become famous in the future and they are much more useful on a daily basis than any Lladro piece sitting on a shelf! I agree with the comments above and join in on the Happy Dance for Melanie!! Well done!

  27. I read through all the comments and didn’t see mention of it so, thought I would share. The mixing bowl sets (including the Gooseberry Print you have) all include 4 bowls. The smallest size doesn’t appear to be in your picture. It is #441 and is 1 1/2 pt if you need the information to search for it to complete your set. This was my first set of Pyrex mixing bowls handed down by my grandmother therefore, I double checked the number for you. Hope this helps you on your search.

    • Thank you for that info! Yes, I was aware of that and that’s why I got such a great deal on the Cinderella bowls. I’m missing the blue one from the primary set and the one you mentioned plus another from the pink set. And I’m totally ok with that because I’m not going to be crazy about my collection. If I find the pieces here or there, great! I’ll be thrilled. Really, I just love the colors, patterns and nostalgia of it all. I also love the thrill of bumping into a deal. I’m sure you know how that goes!! :) Thanks for checking into that for me. I found a book on Pyrex patterns that I might get myself down the road so that I have a reference.

  28. I might be alittle obsessed with pyrex as well. It started with finding the teal hot air ballon bowl at a garage sale for 2 dollars :) For sure my best find by far

  29. Score! I found one of the old, huge yellow Pyrex bowls a few years ago. From there my collection has grown and my husband’s caught on. I have the largest size pink bowl, though it’s a solid color, not print. I paid $9 for it at a thrift store and never looked back.

  30. Please be careful with any vintage Pyrex and Corningware. Especially if it is ovenware.

    Over time, the glass will fragment. Microscopic cracks appear. Then, one day, when you least expect it, you will cook a great dinner and upon removing from the oven and setting on the table…it will shatter. If it waits that long.

    The temper only lasts so long and depending on the conditions the dishes have survived, it could be sooner rather than later.

    As far as I know, there have not been any instances of the coldware shattering. But the ovenware definitely has a history.

    Just letting you know. The report I read (and later saw on the news) commented that people have been severely injured. I think one may have been blinded…if I remember correctly.

    Good finds. I love Pyrex. I love Corningware. Be careful!

    • KayLuvsCookin' says:

      Donna, that happened to a 9×13 Pyrex dish of mine back in the 70s. I had put a squash casserole into the oven & it EXPLODED. At the ripe old age of 25, I learned (the hard way) to NEVER put a glass dish from the frig to hot oven, unless it says it can go from frig/freezer to oven!

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