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)
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?