What You Should Know About Your Vintage Corelle Dinnerware
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If you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s, chances are good that you remember eating meals off white plates with borders boasting golden butterflies, green flowers or elegant blue designs. Today, if those Corelle sets have been handed down to you, you’re probably pondering what they’re worth.
Here’s how to know what’s sitting in your cupboard, whether your dishes have appreciated in value over the past 30+ years, how to maintain them and why you might want to use Corelle for display only.
What Is Corelle?
Introduced in 1970 by Corning—the same company that makes Pyrex—Corelle dinnerware became “all the rage” throughout the following decades. Made of Vitrelle, a material consisting of three bonded glass layers, the brand grew in popularity thanks to its vibrant patterns (like this Butterfly Gold design, which you’ve definitely seen before) and its low price point, which made it accessible to many Americans.
What’s It Worth?
As with any vintage item, Corelle dishes are worth whatever someone is willing to pay—but in general, articles claiming these dishes are worth tens of thousands of dollars are false. The vast majority of listings on eBay fall between $25 and $100. You can find a complete set on eBay for around $60, although prices vary depending on the condition of the items and whether the owner still has the original box (some do).
However, a 20-piece set of the “Spring Blossom Green” pattern, which was made in the ’70s and discontinued in the mid-’80s, recently sold for $80. I also found a new-in-box set of the famous “Golden Butterfly” pattern that sold for $95.
If you’re looking to sell your old Corelle pieces, check sold listings on eBay to determine what buyers are willing to pay, and price accordingly. To figure out what your pattern is called, check out this list of discontinued Corelle dinnerware patterns.
Where to Find Corelle
Corelle is still around today, so it’s simple to head over to their website and shop their popular dinnerware. You can also find current Corelle dishware lines at most department stores, including Target, Walmart and Home Depot.
If you’re looking for vintage pieces, your best bet is probably eBay; a simple search for “vintage Corelle dinnerware” returns hundreds of results. Surprisingly, you can also find vintage Corelle on Etsy—search for “Corelle” in the “vintage” category. You can likely find these dishes at local antique shops, but beware inflated price tags; we wouldn’t recommend paying more than $100 for a full set, brand-new.
Editor’s Tip: The bits and pieces of vintage Corelle don’t sell for much on their own, so you can always start small and build up a set. With that said, listings for used, 20-piece dish sets appear to go for around $50-$60, so if you’re looking to own a complete Corelle set, you won’t have to spend a fortune.
Learn how to buy plates that are ideal for your kitchen.
How to Use It
Current Corelle can be used like any regular ol’ bowl, dish or cup. They’re microwave- and dishwasher-safe.
However, things get a little tricky with vintage Corelle dinnerware. While you could, technically, eat off of them… we don’t recommend it. Certain vintage Corelle patterns have tested for high lead content in their paints, and if that paint chips or cracks, the lead can “leach” into food and cause a health risk.
For more on that topic, read why we recommend using vintage Corelleware for display purposes only.
How to Clean Corelle
Corelle dinnerware bought at Target, Home Depot or any other big-box store in recent years is usually dishwasher-safe, although we recommend checking the box or any instructions that came with the dishes to make sure. If you’re uncertain, the safest option is always hand-washing in the sink. According to Corelle’s FAQ page, rust or brown marks on dishes after everyday use are likely the result of iron in your water supply or exposed metal on your drying rack, and you can get your dishes sparkling again with a non-abrasive cleaner.
How to Store Vintage Corelle
Your vintage Corelle will look great in display cabinets or on shelves; if you’re looking for inspiration, check out this list of how to display dishes on open shelves (and our list of surprising things to do with vintage teacups).
Just like with Pyrex, we don’t recommend stacking bowls or dishes on top of each other without padding in between, since that could cause the paint to scuff or chip. If you need to free up space, always add a layer of paper or non-abrasive material between pieces.
Next: See the vintage-style bakeware we can’t resist!