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Renowned for their durability, cast-iron skillets, pots, and baking pans last for generations and are commonly sought out at antique malls, estate auctions and yard sales.

Each piece often provides only a few inconspicuous, cryptic markings to help decipher its quality, history and value.

Salter holds a Bachelor of Architectural Studies from the University of Waterloo.

Sometimes foundry workers also added a small raised number, letter or group of letters on the base to identify who made the pan.

Due to high demand, certain vintage cast-iron cookware brands carry inflated prices and greater incidence of forgery.

In fact, this particular line of cast iron was manufactured from 1991 through 1999: The Wagner cast iron company was purchased by the Randall Corporation in 1952.

The same company also acquired the Griswold manufacturing company in 1957, and both the Wagner and Griswold lines of cast iron cookware were manufactured at Wagner's foundry in Sidney, Ohio from 1957 through 1999.

Fakes often have rough, irregular surfaces, casting flaws and faint markings.

Look for pieces with crisp, well-defined edges and clear markings that are easy to read.

Though each brand produces roughly the same dimensions for each size number, they often measure slightly differently, so that a "6" pan made by one company may be a little larger than one made by another.

Instead of using traditional size numbering, some brands during certain periods mark the dimensions on the piece in inches, such as “6-1/2 Inch Skillet” or “10 5/8 IN.” Manufacturers often cast a pattern number -- also known as a catalog number -- into each piece with a small group of numbers or numbers with letters, such as “701” or “1053C.” They usually appear on the underside of the cookware and identify the mold used to cast the piece.

Cast iron pans made today are heavier, with a rougher cast surface; whereas vintage cast iron pots and pans from the early 20th century have a far smoother cooking surface, and are lighter in weight and heft.

(This doesn't mean modern-day cast iron pans are worse to cook with than antique iron, it only means they're slightly different.) And if you know anything about acquiring and collecting antique 20th century cast iron, then you know that brand names to look for are Wagner and Griswold.

A number corresponding to the cast-iron cookware's size usually appears on the top of the handle or on the underside of the piece.

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