Since this is one of the most readily available collectible types of glassware, a better question might be, where can you NOT buy Vintage Pyrex? Well, if you want the older stuff you’re certainly not going to be able to get it at the local kitchen supply store. But just about any place that specializes in antiques, used, or older items may have some vintage Pyrex for sale. Here are a few of your best bets:
Ebay - If you’re familiar with buying items on eBay this may be the best place to see a huge variety of different Pyrex pieces in the shortest amount of time. Ebay has been both a blessing and a misfortune for collecting in general. On the one hand, never before have collectors had access to buying such a wide selection of different items. And because it’s an auction, the price is truly determined by what people are willing to pay for it.
On the other hand, some collectors say that Ebay has “diluted” the collectible nature of various items and made collecting in general simply a matter of “buy it now”. Gone are the exciting days of hunting through swap meets and garage sales for years to find that one elusive Pyrex piece. You simply type in the name at the website to get listings.
Craig’s List - What was once homemade online classified listing website for San Francisco has exploded into one of the best place online to advertise items you’d like to sell and buy for free. Craigslist features informal and free classified ads that are divided by region (U.S. cities as well as other countries) in a bare-bones format. One nice thing is that you can put out a “wanted” ad for a particular item for free, and at the same time sell off your excess Pyrex. Because it’s regional, you can try and connect w/ other hobbyists in your area as well, and you might save on the shipping if you can find Pyrex to buy (or sell) in your area.
Yard, Garage, Estate and Moving Sales - If there is any place where you have a good chance of picking up some Pyrex at reasonable prices, it’s at a garage sale. For those that truly savor the hunt, this is where you should be at. You have the greatest chance of finding valuable items for cheap, but also the greatest chance of finding nothing at all. You also have a good amount of room for negotiation, especially for estate and moving sales where they really want to get rid of everything.
To find garage, yard, estate and moving sales in your area, look for the weekly PennySaver (or other similar handout sent once a week) which will list them. We’ve found that terminology can sometimes be misleading, with people incorrectly listing a garage or moving sale as an estate sale in order to try to get more people to show up. Because of this, it’s often better to simply visit the ones closest to you. You might also want to keep a list of the neighborhoods near you where you’ve found the most glassware, and also a “bad” list of homeowners who keep listing estate sales when nobody has actually passed away! And don’t forget to get there early - the early bird gets the Pyrex!
Goodwill, Salvation Army Stores and Pawn Shops - If you have one of these in your neighborhood, by all means pay it a visit. You have a much better chance of picking up some Pyrex in these types of stores than in an Antique Store where the turnover isn’t as high and the proprietors know about the collectible nature of every single piece in their store. That isn’t to say that they are clueless - just that you have a better chance of them not knowing the actual value of a piece.
Because a large quantity of items are donated, the people who work there aren’t as knowledgable about the collectible nature of pieces or worried about getting their money’s worth. One thing: you don’t have much bargaining or negotiating power… prices are generally fixed. However, many have special days where everything in the store is a certain percentage (like 30%) off.
Flea Markets, Swap Meets, Church Rummage Sales - Depending on the type, swap meets can be just as good or better than a yard sale. It can be like having 50 different garage sales wrapped in one… but it also comes with a higher amount of traffic. Because of this, it’s imperative that you get there early. One downer is that some charge a pretty high admission fee, and since Pyrex is inexpensive it may or may not be worth your while.
You may want to look for the swap meets that specialize more in older, “junkier” things rather than those who have vendors who are only hawking new items. For flea markets, remember to check the approximate going price for a particular piece. You might find a different vendor selling the same piece for wildly different prices. For both flea markets and swap meets you have the possibility of negotiating the prices down.
Church rummage sales can be a fantastic place for finding older glassware because a significant amount of the items are donated by people who simply don’t care how much they are worth, because it is going to a good cause.
Antique Stores - Because Pyrex is mostly inexpensive, it may not be worth it to visit the “antique shopping district” area of your city or neighborhood. The good thing is that for the most part there is no charge to get in, like at a Flea Market. The bad thing is that most any common piece of Pyrex that you’ll find will probably be overpriced. Antique Malls (those glass cases inside of antique stores) in particular have items that are extremely marked up, because the seller is not physically there to bargain with, and they need to take into account the overhead fees for their glass cabinet upkeep.
One thing that antique stores may be useful for is to find so-called “Promotional” Pyrex items… that is pieces that are more rare because they were made for a special purpose instead of for general circulation. Of course, you could just as easily look on Ebay for them.