Bread bowls are highly collectible and still used today for making biscuits and raising bread dough. Wooden bowls are popular, affordable estate sale finds.
According to New Hampshire Bowl & Board “… those who pioneered America weren’t just sentimental: they valued a good dough bowl because they were practical, too. Wooden bowls have always been the preferred choice for bread-making because the heat generated by the yeast is retained in the wood, giving the dough an even rise—and because the bowl’s high sides protect the dough from drafts.”
Bread bowls have sold well at estate sales this year, not only because they are beautiful and hard to find, but because it’s the best place to get a great deal.
This bread/serving bowl recently sold at a Six Houses estate sale in Indiana for $85. This is truly a one-of-a-kind find, the likes of which are only found at antique stores for 3 times the price.
What is your bread bowl worth?
Bread bowls are valued less for their age and more for the make and aesthetic character.
A bread bowl handmade today that looks like the bowl above will easily sell for $140 on eBay, comparable to the price of an antique.
That said, history does matter. If you know the history of your bowl, you can increase the value of the bowl by telling its story. People love knowing the stories behind the bread bowls they own, and a great family history adds significantly to the value.
If you need help identifying the type of wood and style of your bread bowl, eBay has a great guide you can read here.
Quality is a determining factor in figuring the price.
This bowl sold at the same sale as the bowl above, has the same family history, but the crack through the side considerably decreased its value. It sold for $15.
This is a modern, Indonesian wooden bowl with woven edges. It retails for $20, sold at an estate sale for $8.
This bowl is shallow and lightweight, two sold at an estate sale in 2016 for $45 each.
A final thought on buying wooden bowls:
Estate sales are ideal for shopping for wooden bowls because you can see and feel the bowl. Its weathering, its texture, its weight, are all important factors in determining price. Buying off eBay deprives you of this tactile shopping. Antique stores price these bowls too high, making it difficult for most people to enjoy them in their homes.
Be sure to follow your local estate sales and let the owners know you are looking! Happy shopping!