Let’s be honest; food tastes significantly better when made in old an old pot or pan. There is simply something about old kitchen tools and gear that make cooking and enjoying also incredibly enjoyable. Truth be told, more and more people are turning to old, antique, or vintage pots for their kitchens, for multiple reasons. Obviously, they’re super durable and will withstand the test of time, and, tasty food is always welcome.
If you’re looking to purchase antique or vintage copper pots, there are some things to know and explore before doing so. Because there is a big demand for vintage copper pots, it is important to know what to look for and how to determine fake from the real deal. And, there is also the value and cost of the copper pots, which is pretty essential when it comes to buying antique kitchen gear. We’ll share with you all of the essential info, including places where you can purchase and get an expert appraisal on antique copper pots. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Antique Copper Pots 101
History and Origin
To understand the importance of copper pots to humanity, we need to take a brief look at the history and origin of these incredibly useful kitchen essentials. Now, let’s start by saying that it is pretty difficult to pin down the exact location of origin of these copper pots. What we do know is that multiple cultures across the world utilized copper cookware dating back as far as 9000 BC. That is when the discovery of different metals made it possible for humans to alter them and create stuff with them, including weapons, tools, vessels, and of course, cookware.
The use of copper pots and other cookware was well documented in the ancient middle east as well as ancient Egypt. Copper pots, for example, were used to produce and store water, cook food, and for different medical practices. Copper was used to sterilizing different things, including water and wounds.
Copper cookware was extremely popular in the Ottoman Empire as well. As the empire spread its territory into European regions, it also spread the copper cookware tradition, which remains to this day. Generally speaking, copper cookware has become a staple in high-end restaurants across the world, and many different cultures and traditions still utilize it for cooking and preparing different dishes.
Why Buy Antique Copper Pots?
Sometimes we want to buy things without really knowing what they’ll contribute, in regards to quality, to our lives. Now, when it comes to copper cookware, we all know that it is good; after all, we’ve seen our predecessors use the same copper cookware, and the food was always amazing. But, why exactly should you go for copper cookware nowadays?
Well, copper is still one of the best heat conductors available. This means that, as your food is cooking, the pot ensures the heat is evenly dispersed, so all get cooked evenly as well. Moreover, copper cookware can last for decades, even centuries, and somehow even get better the older it is. There is also the incredible appearance of copper pots and cookware that simply make us believe that someone is an exceptional cook and they know what they’re doing in the kitchen. What more can you ask for? Wonderful looking, wonderful cooking, and a life-long investment – copper pots are simply a must-have.
How To Know If a Pot Is Worth Buying?
When buying vintage or antique copper cookware, including pots, there is some information essential to know, especially if you’re planning to use the cookware daily in your own kitchens. The following information will help you determine whether an old copper pot is any good and worth buying
- The pot lining
As humans experimented with copper, they realized that too much exposure to it can cause us health harm. That is because old copper cookware didn’t have a tin lining, which we now know prevents the copper from entering the food as it cooks. Luckily, in the 18th and 19th centuries, people started lining the copper cookware and even sent their copper kitchen items to be re-tinned or re-lined.
Nowadays, stainless steel is used to line copper cookware. Nevertheless, some cookware manufacturers, like the French Mauviel, still make tin-lined copper cookware. Mauviel has been making copper and other cookware since the 1830s, so if you’re looking to buy brand-new cookware that will last you a lifetime, make sure to check them out.
- The pot handle
Antique copper pots have handles that are made from brass, oftentimes. There are also copper pots with cast iron handles, but these are no good since they disrupt the weight distribution and make the pot tip over, especially when it’s empty. Always look for antique or new copper pots with regular iron or brass handles, preferably brass if you don’t want your cookware to be too hefty.
- Good balance and even design
Sometimes, simply because of dozens of years of use, antique copper pots are uneven and don’t have a good balance. What we mean by this is pots tipping over because of extremely heavy handles, dents, or other damages that make them not flat. This could make things a bit complicated especially if you’re planning to actively use your copper pots in the kitchen.
We recommend you avoid buying such pots, but if you have a coppersmith in your region or town, do not hesitate to go and have your copper pot flattened or even lined by an expert. Truth be told, there aren’t that many coppersmiths available nowadays, so simply avoid buying damaged or uneven copper pots if you’re planning to cook in them.
- Overall appearance and damage
It is generally recommended to avoid buying vintage copper pots that have major dents and damage. The reason for this is that these damaged pots might have trouble staying flat, or retaining good balance as you cook. Now, you don’t want your copper pot filled with hot soup, for example, to tip over and have everything spilled on you or around the kitchen; it can be really dangerous to use unreliable cookware.
The other thing is, well, the heat won’t be distributed evenly in pots that are heavily damaged, meaning, the food won’t cook as well as you want it to. Overall, it is too much hassle to deal with improper copper pots, especially if you’re planning to cook in them.
Also, sometimes old, or antique copper pots look brand new. Don’t be alarmed by this because the owners have them usually lacquered to make them look more current and in better shape than they used to be. This also allows them to cover some scratches and other minute damage and increase the value and longevity of the pot. If you don’t like the lacquer, you can easily get rid of it by boiling the pot in water and washing soda or by using nail polish/lacquer thinner. Either way, we recommend you get rid of the lacquer if you’re planning to cook in the pot, and if not, then you can leave it on.
Where To Buy Antique Copper Pots?
Now, let’s talk about reliable places where you can purchase your antique copper pots.
We always recommend Etsy; there, you can find some incredible vintage copper pots that are in great shape and simply look wonderful. We recommend you always go for French vintage copper pots. They often have the ‘Made in France’ logo, or the French manufacturer logos (manufacturers like Mauviel, E.Dehillerin, Atelier du Cuivre, and Villedieu, just to name some exceptional vintage brands).
Another great place to look for vintage copper pots and pans is eBay. There, you can find pots in exceptional shape from great brands like Villedieu, or vintage Havard. If you’re looking for vintage but not antique copper pots, you can look for Baumalu copper pots on eBay as well. They are usually made in the 1970s and are of exceptional quality. Often, they are sold in great shape, so make sure to check them out.
Rabbit Hill Lifestyle is a French antique copper cookware website where you can purchase high-end vintage and new copper pots and pats, as well as other cookware and kitchen tools. Unfortunately, you cannot simply make purchases on this website whenever you want. Online pop-up sales happen every few weeks, or even a few times a year; the dates of the pop-ups are highlighted on the site. The new pop-up is planned for February 4th, 2023, and it will last 24 hours. Luckily, these pop-ups are planned to happen on the first or second Saturday of every month for this year, so make sure to tune in regularly.
If online purchases aren’t really your thing, we recommend you regularly check out flea markets and antique stores in your region. We also recommend you check out established antique shops, where the sold items are genuine and the workers know how to help you out. It may take you a little practice, but with time you’ll be able to determine genuine copper cookware and know what it should feel like.
And, if you give up on trying to buy antique copper cookware, you can always turn to new copper pieces, which are of high quality, exceptional appearance, and of course, longevity. Always look for French copper cookware, since it is truly the best.
Antique Copper Pots Value
Now, it is pretty easy to find antique copper pots and pans online. However, the difficult thing is knowing whether the price attached is really the true value of the copper piece. Often, antique copper pots and pans that are in excellent shape (meaning no scratches, damage, lining or lacquer issues, and feature lids or tops), come at a price between 200 and 300 USD.
There are also high-end antique copper pots available for online purchase that can cost up to 800 USD. These are vintage pots in pristine condition, without any visible damage or dents, and usually come with lids. These high-end pots are also handmade and often date back to the 19th or early 20th century.
Cheaper vintage pots are also available for purchase and can cost anywhere between 20, 50, and 100 USD, depending on their condition, damage, appearance, lids, etc. Often, these aren’t really considered vintage, as people simply sell their old cookware under the pretense that it’s vintage or rare. But, in some cases, you can come across genuine copper pots for a cheap price, often because of the damage and dents.
Copper cookware has been used for thousands of years, and even nowadays it is indispensable is any respectable kitchen. If you’re looking to update your cookware with a new vintage cooper pot, you’re doing the right thing. The pot will change the way you cook, the way you understand the importance of good-quality, long-lasting cookware, and most importantly, it will make your food taste good, or even better than that. Investing in a good copper pot, pan, kettle, or basically any kitchen tool, regardless of whether it is vintage or brand new, is simply a smart move.