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2016-04-25

As with any hobby, there are niches and cliques where the hardcore geeks get into shouting arguments over the silliest little details. In cast iron, I'm a geek and nerd for Birmingham Stove and Range, a brand that went out of business in 1992. I enjoy the fact that these cast iron pans are great users, and I'm fascinated by the history and the mystery of this company. Posted on the Facebook group for Birmingham Stove & Range cast iron:

"I know of one person running a Facebook group - not this one, but I'll not mention the name because I don't want to cause arguments over this - who suggested it's the fault of research on groups like this one that eBay prices for things like BS&R are going up. It's certainly true that eBay speculators are gathering up this information and using it to jack up the prices of their listings. Now on eBay you can see folks trying to sell "BSR Red Mountain - RARE S SERIES!!!" and the like. However, I actually prefer this state of affairs for one reason: the history and the information is being preserved and not lost. Folks like Saunders and Hugh aren't going to live forever – no offense, folks! smile emoticon – and those of us who know and enjoy BS&R would rather see the legacy of this company live on in the future, even in the heritage of its cookware. Besides, much of those eBay listings are from speculators who use any excuse to inflate their prices. In general, eBay is far overpriced and often (not always, but often) not to be trusted. The best prices can still be found in the vintage treasure hunt; but it's especially because eBay is overpriced that the Facebook selling groups like Iron Man, Patriot Cast Iron and Black Iron are becoming as popular as they are. Besides, there are speculators and shysters out there, no matter what we do. Just yesterday in Sweetwater, Tennessee, I came across a guy running an antique store who knew his iron…sort of. He kept pushing me to look at his Griswolds and Wagner, and showed me a very impressive Etowah with lid that he was selling for $250. Heaviest skillet I've ever held, including older spiders - it was an impressive piece. That same guy was selling a fake Griswold #0 at a price of $39.95. I pointed out to him that it was a fake, and he nodded with a smile and said he knew that. He didn't make any hit that he'd be dropping his price, either. This Facebook group can't be blamed for that, not in any way. I did find a rather rusty Century No. 8-B (7) there and bought it from him for $10, because he obviously didn't know what it was. It's doubtful he'd ever know BS&R because he wasn't a specialist in the history of cast iron; just an antique vendor following the trends and the hot brand names."