A June auction of more than 900 lots of cast-iron cookware provided a good barometer of the marketplace. According to Rilla Simmons of Simmons & Co. Auctioneers, Richmond, Missouri, the best items sold well, while the lower and middle sections of the market were soft. No surprise there.

However, the sale did indicate some trends.

* Griswold remains the name most collectors want.

Groupings of common skillets have seen increased interest at some auctions. Pictured here, however, is no everyday assemblage. This stack of 13 Favorite Piqua Ware skillets, from the No. 1 to the hard-to-find No. 13, sold for $3,200 at an auction conducted by Simmons & Co. Auctioneers. (Photo: Simmons & Co. Auctioneers)

* Favorite Piqua Ware continues to see increased interest. “For some reason the Piqua Ware from Ohio was especially strong,” said Mrs. Simmons. “There is a more limited supply of it than there is of Griswold and Wagner.”

* Common cookware has little appeal. “There doesn’t seem to be a lot of tremendous interest in what anyone can find at the local garage sale,” said Mrs. Simmons.  The most notable exception has been the demand for groupings of skillets. “We were very surprised how strong stacks of skillets were…. If I was thinking a good stack of lower-end skillets would bring $50, they were bringing $100 and $150.”

What’s it all mean? The right piece of cast-iron cookware is still worth lugging home, but be selective. A tremendous number of common examples have been produced over the years. As a result, most of those pots and pans have little value today, while hard-to-find items continue to bring premium prices.