Monday, July 27, 2015

Going All Out then Reining Back In: Confession Time

I haven't blogged here in a while, so I thought it was time I made a contribution again. I have been collecting pyrex for several years now. I feel very, very lucky to have started when I did. The recent price inflation, onslaught of new collectors, attention for dedicated resellers, and trendiness of vintage in general have made Pyrex a very expensive habit. I do wish I could go back in time and buy a few pieces that I am on the hunt for now. At the time, I told myself prices were too high, that they were bound to come down. Boy, was I wrong.

So, here it is...what I would like to finish things off (and yes, some of these pieces are Glasbake and Fire King).

See? Crazy, I know. But having a simple visual reference has really helped to keep me focused. And it feels so good to finally check things off. When I finally got a Starburst after years of hunting and refusing to buy online, it was so satisfying.

I will consider myself "done" with U.S. Pyrex once I have these pieces. That doesn't mean I will stop looking for pieces to add to my collection; these are just the pieces I really want to round it out. I would never turn down Barcodes or more bakeware. And, because I am often a glutton for punishment, I have already started in on my JAJ and Agee collection; I have a few select pieces I would like to get and am sadly aware of just how much it is likely to cost to have them show up at my doorstep.

But reaching this point in my collecting has allowed me to reflect some. I had some foresight in that from the very beginning I kept track of every piece I brought home: what I paid and where I got it; if I traded it, and if so, for what and to whom; if I sold it, and if so, to whom and for how much. It's a bit compulsive but also very eye-opening. For example, I have run across enough Butterfly Gold to last me a lifetime. I have found enough Butterprint refrigerator dishes to build more than a handful of sets. And, in all my years of hunting, I have found Friendship in all shapes and sizes is very, very scarce in my area.

In the very beginning of my collecting I, like a lot of new collectors, started out with a huge wish list and buying every piece I came across. Then I started to panic, like most do, at where all this Pyrex around my house came from. So I started trading and sometimes selling, yet I still brought more in. Then I realized I really needed to focus. So I underwent several large purges. All the while I was still trying to figure out my collecting direction, and still bringing things home.

Over time, I have decided I have to use the piece, not just display it. And I mean it when I say I have to use it...I bake enchiladas in my Starburst and use my Blowing Leaves for leftovers. That meant I really, really had to narrow down my scope. I just don't have a lot of space so I have to be picky.

I am still working on letting go a large chunk of my collection. I have over 250 pieces just hanging around the house. I don't need it all, and I have slated about half of it to go. Complicating matters is my daughter's collection (which is part of that 250 pieces); she collects Pink Gooseberry and has everything but the 475. She's nine and has made it clear I am not to rehome her pieces.

As if having over 250 pieces is not a large enough confession, how about this: I have rehomed via trades or sales over 450 pieces. That is truly mind boggling. Obviously when I first started I was very lucky to find Pyrex seemingly everywhere!

What I have learned is I really enjoy the hunt. Sure, the hunt has become a lot harder over the last year or so. But it is still such a thrill to find that highly-coveted piece at a great price. So I continue the hunt, but over the last year have left more and more behind. And that also feels good, because I really hope that those pieces end up going home with a collector who will love them.

Thanks for listening to me ramble a bit! I wish all collectors much luck in finding their most-wanted pieces.



  1. I am so behind/with the times. I have a lot of Pyrex...but not because I collected it. It has been in the family for years and I use it all the time. The more I see the pyrex posts the more I want some new pieces. I have bought some for other people but I could never pay the prices dealers are asking. Good luck with your hunting I hope you find everything your looking for.

    1. Oh I forgot to mention. I had the 475 piece but I gave it away in a swap. I so don't know what is collectable in pyrex.

  2. I really enjoyed this post. Like you mentioned, I feel very grateful I started picking up vintage Pyrex before it became such an expensive hobby. I had very good luck at garage sales for a couple summers, but I haven't seen a piece for sale in the last few years. Though there are still pieces I would love to have, I'm grateful to have as much as I do.

    I love what you said about using your Pyrex. I totally agree with that-I use mine whenever I can.

  3. Ah yes Jacquelyn, I'm safe to say we were in this together--yes?! You know it is the same with me. Purging and re-thinking and purging again. I have let a lot of my Pyrex go, I should probably do a count just to make sure I'm not fooling myself! haha! But some Anchor Hocking, Fire King, Federal and McKee/Glasbake made their way into my home as well. I'm practicing the art of resisting these days, though some things like fridigies are still tough to pass up when they are in great shape. And justifying picking up a "better" piece to replace one I have that's no so great is always a great excuse for me. I too still wish that one day something rare and awesome will show up on that thrift store shelf waiting for me to bring it home! :0)