Retinning & restoration

Guest post: Gerhard rescues two sauté pans



“I had a feeling the pans might be something special.”

VFC says: Reader and copper aficionado Gerhard reached out to share his story of a very lucky find.

Today I have a story about a nice purchase on ebay Kleinanzeigen in Germany — which is kind of like Craigslist. Someone had advertised there two heavy sauté pans and a large round pan with two handles. Everything looked pretty awful in the pictures, but I had a feeling the pans might be something special.

Since everything together was very cheap and also still in Munich, where my brother lives, I bought the things. I sent my brother to pick up all, which he did with the bike.

Two weeks later he was with us and brought everything to our home.

He had asked the saleswoman where the things were from. She said that her ex-boyfriend was a cook and had brought the pans years ago. But she didn’t know where they came from. She and her ex tried to clean everything, but didn’t get along. At first I tried a polishing machine but didn’t work either. Then I tried boiling it up with baking soda, which worked wonderfully. Fortunately we have a large wok, which I used for this to the delight of my wife…

The baking soda did what it was supposed to do — remove the organic deposits, first on the outside, then on the inside. The result was great. Even the tinning is still ok. Comparing the two almost identical pans, you can see very well before and after cleaning.

Of course, after cooking with baking soda, I polished both for hours with the polishing machine.

Last weekend my wife and I celebrated our birthday together with friends and inaugurated the two pans with a fantastic bouillabaisse.

I haven’t worked on the big round pan with 38 cm diameter yet.

Now a few facts, figures and guesses about the pans: Only after cleaning the small embossing “Made in France” became visible.

Both pans have a diameter of 32 cm, a height of 9 cm and a wall thickness of 3.5 mm. On the outside, they are hammered on the sides. One pan weighs 5,970 g, the other 6,250 g. The heavier pan has a handle about 5 cm longer, otherwise they are identical. I suspect they were made by Mauviel in the 1970s — could that fit?

Curious to hear what you write about this!

By the way, in one of the pictures you can see a Bain Marie in the background – there’s a good story to tell about that one, too. Next time!

VFC says: Gerhard, these pans are definitely “something special”! I think you’re likely correct that these are high-quality Mauviel production — to the best of my knowledge, the date of manufacture could be anywhere from the 1970s to 1990s. I consider this the second “Golden Age” of French copper production, as Mauviel (and its cohorts in Villedieu) were cranking out thousands of professional-quality pieces for a voracious US and European market. I am so glad that you recognized these and restored them to working condition, and I wish you many years of enjoyment with them!



  1. Very nice job to restore these pans. My first “collector” copper pan was a 32 cm saute pan with the Dehillerin stamp having the same dimensions as Gerhard’s pans. Good to see them back in use!

  2. Wow, wow, wow! You bought amazing pans and your restoration work is impeccable! I’m envious! 🙂 Great finds like these are hard to come by! Wishing you and your wife many years of happy cooking together in these beauties

  3. Nice. Too, I bought a new old stock copper consomme pot a few weeks ago from a bakery in Rahway, NJ. I think for a while they put flowers in it. 🙂 And you made a bouillon with seafood. A dish I like. For that I use my 16cm Allez Freres sauce pot. That’s my go to soup, broth pot.

    Enjoy your new sautes.

  4. Posting on behalf of the guest post author Gerhard:

    “Thank you for your kind comments!

    Yes, it was a lot of luck to make such a find. And it was great fun to make them usable again – at each step of the work you can immediately see the beautiful result.

    Still, of course I wonder who lets such valuable pans get so dirty in the first place. I wouldn’t have wanted to eat in the restaurant or hotel where they were in use…”

    (Gerhard, I am sorry you’ve had problems posting your own comment!)

  5. I am glad to see here on VFC the great search and restoration results of a compatriot, especially since the passion for copper cookware does not seem to be very widespread in our country. The ecological transport of the pans by your brother with a bike pleased me very much, especially since I am also busy with the bike. As an aside, I could tell from the photos that you have the same fondness for cooking accessories from Rösle, Staub and Sabatier or Wüsthof.
    It would be nice if I could see more posts or comments from you on VFC.

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