The value of antique coffee grinders ranges from about $20 to $100 or more. There are several factors that can influence how much a grinder is worth, including condition, materials, and even some things you wouldn't expect. Learn how to spot a good deal and whether your coffee grind might be worth more than a couple of trips to Starbucks.
How to Find the Value of Your Coffee Grinder
Because there is so much variation in the value of coffee grinders, it helps to have a process to identify them and see how much they are worth. Follow these steps to ensure you know as much as possible about your coffee grinder and its value.
1. Inspect the Grinder
Start by carefully inspecting your coffee grinder. Is it a small, hand-held or wall-mounted unit for home use? Is it a large professional grinder? On a sheet of paper, note down anything of importance, including materials used and special features like decorations. Also look for patent numbers and identifying marks. Don't forget to check for labels or manufacturer names, including these common ones:
- Landers, Frary, and Clark
2. Evaluate the Grinder's Condition
A coffee grinder was a daily household item that may have received a great deal of use and abuse over the years. In addition, time isn't always kind to materials like cast iron and wood. How things are stored can dramatically affect their condition. Take a look at your coffee grinder for the following:
- Rust - Cast iron components like the handle or inner workings may rust when exposed to water. If the rust is light, it can be cleaned up, but significant rust can cause damage.
- Cracking - Many coffee grinders are made of wood, which can crack with changes in humidity and temperature. Some grinders are also made of china or porcelain, and they can crack too. Cracks can detract from the value of a coffee grinder.
- Functionality - Although antique coffee grinders are decorative, functionality is important. If the grinder works properly and the inner parts have not seized, the grinder is worth more.
- Appearance - These days, most people collect antique grinders for their decorative beauty, which makes the appearance of a grinder an important factor in its value. Ideally, the finish will be even and attractive, and china or porcelain grinders won't have staining or crazing.
3. Compare to Similar Models
When you've learned as much as you can about the grinder, it's time to compare it to recently sold examples that are similar. To do this, look at online antique stores and auction sites like eBay. Search for sold items only, not grinders that are currently for sale. When comparing value, remember that people can ask anything they want for an item. It's whether the grinder sells for that price that determines its actual value. Here are some common examples for comparison from recent eBay sales:
- A wooden Arcade coffee grinder in very rough condition sold for about $20.
- A Delft porcelain grinder with a few minor chips sold for about $90.
- A large, professional antique coffee grinder from Philadelphia Enterprise sold for $350.
An Accurate Value
In most cases, these steps will give you a good idea of the value of your antique coffee grinder. However, if you're still unsure, consider getting a professional appraisal. Whether you research it yourself or have it appraised, it's great to get an accurate sense of the value of these unique kitchen collectibles.