I’ve had success finding good deals on eBay for vintage French copper pots and pans, and I don’t mind sharing with you the search terms I’ve used.
(vintage, antique, old) french copper (pot, pan, casserole)
Paste this into the eBay search bar and you’ll get back all the listings where the seller has a copper pot, pan, or casserole that’s vintage, antique, or old, and that the seller knows (or thinks) is French. (The inclusion of the term “casserole” will also reel in the odd listing from eBay France.) While we all dream of the ignorant seller with a fabulous piece for pennies on the dollar, that’s pretty rare. You might be better off buying from a knowledgeable seller who will accurately describe what he or she has so you know what you’re getting.
Pro tip: Sort the list by “Time: Newly listed” to see the things that have just been posted. Sometimes the good stuff gets snapped up quickly.
If you decide you want to widen your net a bit, try this modification.
(vintage, antique, old) copper (pot, pan, casserole) -revere -revereware
This version takes the word “french” out, so it doesn’t require that the seller describe the item as French. It also adds excluded terms: “-revere” and “-revereware” will keep the copious listings for Revereware out. (Nothing against Revereware, but we’re looking for French copper here.)
In my experience, this wider search will bring back several thousand listings. You can pare this down quite a bit by focusing the results on items that the seller has described as cookware. To do that, look on the left side of the eBay page for the long list of Categories in which items matching those search terms were found. Click on “Home & Garden,” then “Kitchen, Dining, & Bar,” and then finally “Cookware.” This should cut down the results to a few hundred — still a lot, but a better starting point.
That said, sometimes eBay sellers will put French copper pots and pans into weird categories, so if you’re in the mood for some spelunking, try these places:
Collectibles > Kitchen and Home > Cookware
Antiques > Home and Hearth
You can keep adding more terms into your search to shape it for what you want. As you can see from my example above, a group of words in parentheses means “any one or more of these.” A word with a minus sign mean “not this.” Once you get a search phrase that brings back things you’re looking for, you can save the search and even have eBay notify you when something new is posted.
Always bear in mind that eBay depends completely on the information the seller has provided. This means two things for your searches:
- Sellers don’t always know what they have. Terms like “French,” “antique,” “vintage,” “heavy,” and “thick” are thrown around with abandon, or conversely, not used when they should be. Don’t rely on these words to be accurate.
- Don’t be too specific. If you have your heart set on a 4mm Gaillard rondeau, don’t just search for “4mm Gaillard rondeau” — this limits you only to listings where sellers have included (and correctly spelled) those words.
Have fun and happy hunting!