This is an experiment.
Early on when I started buying copper I decided to keep track of my purchases so I would know what I had. As I recorded the dimensions and weight of each piece, I also captured the price I paid. (I didn’t include shipping or additional restoration charges, just the base price of the piece as it was.)
When I figured out how to compare purchases based on price paid per weight, I began to see some interesting things.
First, I can see which piece has been the best value (lowest price paid per pound) and which has been the worst (highest price paid). (Euro-per-kilogram conversions use currency values as of the date of this post — September 2020 — and not the date of purchase, and are intended to be representative rather than precise.)
US$8.90 per pound with lid (€16.61/kg); $11.62 pan only (€21.67/kg)
34cm Jones Bros saucepan, “Moulton Paddocks”
This is one of my favorite pieces for its wonderful character and backstory. The fact that it’s also the best value in my entire collection is icing on the cake.
Honorable mention for best value
US$11.07 per pound (€20.65/kg)
This is a close runner-up. Compared by weight without lid, this is a slightly better value than the Moulton Paddocks saucepan above. I kept it unrestored and I use it to hold firewood.
US$46.63 per pound, pan body only (€87.01/kg); $42.89 for pans with lid (€80.03/kg)
I include this because I think it could be a useful piece of data for you. What this tells me is that for the last few years — say, 2018 to 2021 — the general price per pound of copper cookware has been between US$40 and US$50.
Runner-up for worst value
US$190.97 per pound (€356.30/kg)
21cm scrollwork-handled stockpot
This is a really lovely piece that I bought purely for emotional collector reasons, knowing full well that I was overpaying for it. But on the positive side, it’s in fantastic physical shape and was well-restored so there were no additional restoration costs, and it was sold to me within the US so shipping charges were not as high as they might have been.
US$309.34 per pound (€577.15/kg)
16cm silver-lined Windsor
This purchase was the inspiration for My buying mistakes. It’s just 0.7mm thick — all the weight is the iron ring reinforcing that paper-thin copper. I also overpaid for it because I was seduced by the seller’s flowery prose (just this side of misleading) and I got into a bidding war. NEVER AGAIN.
I can also see the average I have paid for different types of pans. (This is based on the weight of the pan body only with no lid.)
|Row Labels||Average $ per lb||Average EUR per kg|
|Trout pan (pan de truite)||$ 139.78||€ 260.80|
|Braisière||$ 126.14||€ 235.34|
|Saumoniere||$ 88.54||€ 165.20|
|Windsor (sauteuse evasée)||$ 72.08||€ 134.48|
|Bain marie à sauce||$ 65.55||€ 122.30|
|Egg pan||$ 64.04||€ 119.48|
|Turbotière||$ 60.69||€ 113.24|
|Gratin ovale||$ 59.63||€ 111.26|
|Daubière||$ 56.03||€ 104.53|
|Skillet (poêle)||$ 53.75||€ 100.28|
|Cocotte ovale||$ 50.91||€ 94.99|
|Sauteuse bombée (mousseline)||$ 46.66||€ 87.06|
|Stockpot (marmite)||$ 46.48||€ 86.72|
|Gratin ronde||$ 46.10||€ 86.01|
|Fish pan (poissonière)||$ 42.61||€ 79.50|
|Casserole (saucepan)||$ 41.72||€ 77.84|
|Saute pan (sauteuse)||$ 40.12||€ 74.86|
|Rondeau||$ 38.91||€ 72.60|
|Roasting pan||$ 37.54||€ 70.03|
|Soup pot (bassine à potage)||$ 34.87||€ 65.06|
|Casserole à glacer||$ 34.76||€ 64.85|
|Stewpot (bassine à ragoût)||$ 33.31||€ 62.15|
|Paella||$ 25.95||€ 48.42|
This is an idiosyncratic and therefore imperfect mechanism to quantify value, of course. Here are some caveats:
- These prices are asking prices. I am terrible at haggling and you could probably do better with a little negotiation. (On the positive side, however, this means that the values I’m showing you are pretty true to the market and not due to some kind of purchasing advantage that I have.)
- Price premium for restoration is not considered. A pan in unrestored condition should be priced less than the same pan that’s already been restored.
- Shipping is not considered. This is a really variable cost, however, so perhaps it’s best that it’s not factored in.
- Euro-per-kilogram conversions use currency values as of the date of this post — September 2020 — and not the date of purchase, and are intended to be representative rather than precise.
But even so, I hope this data is a starting point for you. What do you think? Is this useful information? Do you think price by weight is a fair assessment of value? What’s been your experience with your purchases?
What a clever presentation and entertaining read!! It will be interesting to redo this analysis in 5 years as copper prices are truly going bonkers right now. I daresay the price of copper cookware may soon surpass US$60 per pound (if it hasn’t already). Thanks, VFC!!
Val, that’s a great idea!
It’s interesting seeing your info put together like that. Another great informative post. Where in the US do you live? For some reason I always thought you were in the UK.
Hi Chris! I’m in the eastern US.
Hi VFC, An interesting article but I think other factors must come into play.
If an item has a rare stamp mark or is very rarely found, then it commands more price from the French sellers who have become very savvy of late to increase their prices as so many new sellers have popped up over the last few years and continue to do so and are now chasing the very same articles.
Buyers from other Countries are also chasing these same items here, so the only true winners are the original sellers, because of such increased buyer demand, they just sit back and reel you in
When I started up as a seller here in France in 2013, , I had almost a free reign on my buying choice and the prices were so much lower and the quality Antique items were so much more plentiful.
Before Covid, I was travelling in my R.V all around the South Of France which also incurs costs that I have to factor
I am very selective and only sell quality Antique or Ancient copper. My buying prices have more than doubled, so hence my selling prices have had to increase also.
When I look back at items I have sold and even just going back to five Years ago, the prices were far less than today. Demand has certainly pushed prices through the roof here.
I have recently had French sellers push me up well above the original asking price and then agree that price with me, only to sell to another buyer, as he was playing each of us to get best price.
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