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Oct 3, 2012 09:03 AM

Copper Pan Experts: Please weigh in on this set for sale on Ebay


I'm interested in transitioning to copper cookware. I've been looking at new pans as well as used ones on Ebay and Craigslist. I was hoping you could opine about a set of 5 pans currently on Ebay.
One thing in particular I would like you to comment on is the condition of the tin. Not having any experience with tin, I can't tell if the tin is ready for a re-tin or in fine shape. I also have a hard time determining the thickness of the copper from pictures. By the total weight, I would think they're over 1.5mm, but that's just a guess.

I really appreciate your guidance.

Thank you.

Here is the link:

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  1. Hi, Wolfgang:

    At "over 35 lbs", this is a thick set of 5, even accounting for the larger-than-average sizes and lids. I would say they're at least 2mm, maybe more. Bigger saucepans tend to look thinner than they really are.

    I think that, although they are unmarked, they may be Bourgeat, and they appear to be round and sound. The photos aren't the best to assess the tin condition. The one close-up shows that pan needs retinning, but I see no sign of exposed copper on the other 4. I *can* assure you that the splotchiness of the linings' appearance is completely normal, and is not itself a sign of needing retinning.

    5 larger saucepans of this quality, WITH LIDS, (now) for $305? That's a good bargain, even if you had to retin all 5. The lids alone are worth about that.

    Good Luck,

    1. Ok, I readily admit that K knows a lot more about copper pans than I, but I am going to disagree with his assessment on the thickness. Comparing the images I see on a large screen with pans that I have of the same diameter as the ones for sale, I'd be shocked if they were 2mm or thicker. Maybe, just maybe, 2mm, but no thicker. I'd bet they are 1.5mm.

      The weight doesn't provide too much info, because we don't know if he's offering the pan & lid weights or the shipping weight, which I've seen many do in these auctions. Also, ten iron handles weigh a lot, especially heavy duty handles like these. I don't think the weight is conclusive in any way.

      They are now $325, and they will probably go higher. The lids are probably worth just as much as the pots. I have two lids, very similar to these and I paid about the same for each lid as I did for it's matching pot.

      I don't know if they were made by Bourgeat, but it appears to me that they were not made by Mauviel. It's just something about the way the handles are shaped compared to other Mauviel pots, pans, and lids that I've seen. There's too much of a 'bulb' on the end of the handle where the 'eye' is.

      9 Replies
      1. re: jljohn

        Hi, Jeremy:

        Yes, it's a *little* ambiguous whether the set itself is >35 pounds, or whether that is the shipping weight.

        However... As a reality check, I weighed a 3mm lidded set in 10-, 9-, 8-, 7- and 6-inch sizes, and they total just under 40 pounds. Those'd have to be mighty heavy handles on the OP's set to be 1.5mm, IMO.

        With this e-bay stuff, as you know, you pays your money and takes your chances. Even so, a lidded set of 5 that goes for $400 is still just $80/pan. And the market being what it is, no one's gonna get hurt reselling--in fact, one could buy the set, and piece it out and turn a decent profit. But I think it'd be a sin to separate a set like this.


        1. re: kaleokahu

          Thank you both for your thoughts. They are very helpful.

          1. re: kaleokahu


            I agree wholeheartedly on your value analysis.

            But I am skeptical of them being any thicker than 2mm. I admit that my skepticism is based solely on the visual relationship between the known diameter and the appearance of the wall thickness. Unless confirmed, there are so many issues with weights on ebay. I'm betting people do crazy things to get weights on stuff (like weighing themselves on a bathroom scale while holding the item and subtracting what they think their own weight is). Heck, just last week I inquired about a 2.5mm x 16" x 12" x 4" copper roaster and was told that it weight between 4 and 5 pounds. Only after I insisted that the given weight was not possible, did the seller actually re-weigh the item and give me a correct weight of between 10 and 11 pounds. I think someone here should buy the set and settle the question!


            1. re: jljohn

              Hi, Jeremy:

              Yes, for whatever reasons, weights on eBay can be frustrating.

              Your roaster example is very apropos. The key is to take advantage of these anomalies. Your eyes undoubtedly saw that the roaster was in the 10+ pound range, yet your mind was suspicious of the bargain that the seller's sloppiness offered. More than once, I have queried sellers as you did, only to have them *post* the Q/A, and see the price spike.

              The assessment of thickness is a tough one from afar. SO much depends on the photography, especially the contrast with the rims. Weight, IMO, is less fickle until one gets more experience (I once bought a pair of very thin Gaillards, thinking they couldn't possibly be as thin is they looked).. The weight's what tipped me on this one, along with the seller sloppiness of ending the auction when they did. AmericanPicker, indeed.

              I recently bought a big 4mm saucepan for a friend. IMO, only at that rare thickness does the gauge truly stand out on larger pans, whereas if it were a 5"x4mm pan, the thing would be perceived as half-solid.

              But yes, only the micrometer in the purchaser's hand can say for sure. But $80/pan with lid is a decent price at 2mm.


              PS: From one of my favorite sellers in UK, you might be interested in this roaster:

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Hi Kaleo,

                  I saw that roaster--it's a beauty! If only it would fit in my oven!

                  I decided to ask the seller (In a way that made it unlikely that he would post the question and answer), and here is the exchange:

                  MY QUESTION:

                  I am interested in the 5 copper pans. Can you please measure and tell me the thickness of the copper in millimeters (or in inches if you don't have a mm ruler). A micrometer measurement would be great, but if you don't have one, just laying a ruler across the edge would be sufficient. Alternatively, you could use the edge of a fresh (not worn down) coin. A dime is 1.35mm thick, so two dimes is 2.7mm, a penny is 1.55mm thick, a nickel is 1.95mm, and a presidential or native american (golden) dollar is 2mm.

                  HIS ANSWER:

                  Hello - the smallest pan is at least a penny thick, the largest more than a penny. Hope this helps.

                  My takeaway is that they are between 1.55mm and 1.95, because he said they are "more than a penny", but didn't reference a nickel. Who knows, maybe he didn't bother with a nickel! At any rate, it does sound like the small one(s) are just north of 1.55mm. Maybe the larger ones surpass 2mm.


                  1. re: jljohn

                    Hi, Jeremy:

                    " least a penny thick" "...more than a penny..."

                    This is even more ambiguous than the stated weight--read literally, all his answer amounts to is they're >1.5mm. Unless the handles are lead, I can't see how this set can weigh "more than 35 pounds" *and* be <2mm. I also surmise that he didn't bother much with getting you good information--probably just eyeballed them, if that.

                    Virtually all of the pans I've examined that have stamped size numbers but no makers' marks have been middle-grade restaurant pans, not 1.5mm table service. The thinner pans don't take the stamps well without deforming.

                    It would take a buyer to resolve this for sure, but the >35 pounds just doesn't square with these being table service pans.


                    1. re: kaleokahu

                      Update: There is a *possible* way this set could weigh >35 pounds and the rims could be <2mm. Some marks, such as Jacquotot and Gaillard, turned some of their saucepans in such a way that the bases are much thicker than the walls, and the walls themselves taper. Still structurally robust (except at the very rim), conserving of precious copper, and lighter.

                      I have catalogue cuts from makers with cross-sections that show this tapering-wall configuration, so it is possible that's what this set represents.

                  2. re: kaleokahu

                    Also, for what it is worth, via some very unscientific studying, I've come to the conclusion that if you ask for the information you want (the thickness of the copper) in a lengthy way or bury it in a series of questions, the answer is almost never posted to the listing. However, if you shoot them a question like, "How thick is the copper?", the answer usually is posted.

            2. Well, Wolfgang, were you the winning bidder at $460?

              This sounds like a lot (there was a war between two bidders with zero and 5 total transactions, respectively), but considering that it was a matching set of 5 large, *lidded* saucepans, still a good price by retail standards, even if 2 or 3 pans are sent out for retinning.

              If it *was* you, please carefully measure both the wall thickness at the rim and the base thickness (you do that by subtracting the interior floor-to-rim height from the overall height), and let us know if the base is as thick as the rim.


              1 Reply
              1. re: kaleokahu

                No, I wasn't the winning bidder and I wasn't part of the bidding war.
                I'm not sure if I want to make a 5 pan investment in tin lined copper.