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More copper than I know what to do with

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My neighbor went into assisted living and I "inherited" all her copper
pots...which she hadn't used for years.

What should I do? Use them? Not use them? Keep a large braising pan and give away the rest? Sell the rest?

I am baffled, and because I just don't know what to do with them they are stored under my bed. I need advice.

sweetfern

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  1. Use them!!! If you don't want to use them then sell them. There are many on this board and eBay that would be interested I am sure.

    There has to be a law against keeping perfectly good copper under your bed ;)

    3 Replies
    1. re: mandymoo

      If there isn't a law there certainly should be!

      Use them, enjoy them, I'm sure she did in her day.

      Better yet, just give them to me :D I'd enjoy them!

      1. re: thimes

        "Use them, enjoy them, I'm sure she did in her day."

        Totally agree. I'm sure I have overshared (in other threads) about my mother giving away her copper pans and KA stand mixers.

        I'd love to know that those things are being used and enjoyed!

        1. re: pedalfaster

          My stomach clenched just reading that!

    2. I'll pay the shipping! :)

      Seriously though, why not give them a go. If you post a couple of photos of the assortment, folks here might be able to help you select what is the best/most usable/most useful of the lot and that might give you a place to start.

      1. Hi sweetfern,

        I think it's a little overwhelming to inherit that much cookware at once. My suggestion is to try one or two of them. Whatever you normally make, make it in one of the copper pans the next time you cook to see how you like it. Or, use the same pan for a few nights in a row to see what it's capable of. The nice thing is that you get to experiment with copper cookware without (1) having to pay for it and (2) worrying about devaluing a new pan since these pans are already used. If you use them for a while and find that you don't particularly care for them, then you can still sell them. I would love to find out what shaped pans you inherited and in what sizes.

        1. Hi, sweetfern:

          Barring multiple duplicate sizes/shapes, I cannot fathom the concept of having "more copper than I know what to do with".

          If you would list the pieces you "inherited" (and you should be clear with her family about having been given them), many here can suggest what to keep and what to sell. If it is good stuff and includes some larger or older pieces, it could be worth a substantial amount of money.

          FWIW, I would keep everything you even REMOTELY think you could EVER use--replacing at a later date it could be extremely expensive.

          I once passed on a 4-pan set of Gaillard extra fort saucepans (with matching lids) for $150. The worst part was that I later learned that they were exceptionally rare models that had *vertical* handles. So far I've worn out 2 pairs of shoes kicking myself in the ass for that...

          Post a list and see what the cognoscenti have to say. Lucky you!

          Aloha,
          Kaleo

          4 Replies
          1. re: kaleokahu

            OK, I guess I start trying to see how to use some of this stuff.
            BTW, the family gave them to me instead of Goodwill.
            True story.

            Let's think about the tinning--some may need it...any ideas for this?

            sweetfern

            1. re: sweetfern

              If you post pictures of the pieces, top and bottom, along with any identifying markings, several here could help you identify and value them. As for retinning, there are several reputable tinners in the country, and some not so good. Again, some here could help.

              The more detail the better. Much depends on the details

              1. re: sweetfern

                While there are several very good retinners out there, my recommendation is Peter at Rocky Mountain. Beautiful work--fast turnaround. I sent a pair of saucepans a few weeks ago (via parcel post from Boston to Colorado) and I had them back in hand 16 days after mailing them: a week in transit each way and 2 days in his shop. Here's his website:

                http://www.rockymountainretinning.com/

                If you want other recommendations, search the forum. There have been several threads in the last year.

                1. re: jljohn

                  Peter has been my go to guy for years.

            2. Pictures, please. I would love to see what you have. I don't have copper, it would be a "lottery purchase" for me.

              2 Replies
              1. re: breadchick

                Hi, breadchick: "...it would be a "lottery purchase" for me."

                I don't have the receipts to prove it, but I'm pretty sure I paid more, average-per-piece (at retail) for my Le Creuset than I have for my copper by scrounging for vintage pieces.

                Example: Earlier this week on eBay, a Gaillard 24cm saucepan went unsold for $150, and a Havard crepe pan went to the only bidder for $51. Both had very good linings.

                So, if you watch and wait, it's affordable for a lot of people.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  It's shocking how expensive even SS cookware has become. When you start to price new cookware I think Copper becomes a great value.
                  I'm not sure I could sleep with copper under my bed. It might talk to me in my sleep with that raspy Dirty Harry voice.......
                  Do you feel lucky Punk? Go ahead....Use Me, Make my day!

              2. Keep them and use them if you can. You don't accidentally own a full set of tin lined copper pots. Nothing would give the previous owner a greater thrill than some pictures of you cooking with them, except perhaps having a meal cooked in them brought around.

                A friend of mine got given a Landcruiser (big old 4WD) by his Godfather when he was too old to drive. We went camping on the beach down south near Esperance and had lots of photos. He took them round to show him and he was so thrilled and touched to see his car put doing what it was built to do.

                1. Wow....sounds wonderful! If you like to cook at all, use them and see how you like them. A number of us here scout eBay regularly for good copper cookware, so if you don't like them and they are good quality, you will probably find people happy to get them off your hands!

                  1. I'm sure I am not the only one who, besides being a bit envious, am dying to see what you have!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: TheCarrieWatson

                      Wow, guys, I'm already segueing into tax season and book writing. What I'll do--gosh--is check any markings and
                      post them.

                      Best idea so far: take pictures and bring them to my friend.
                      We lived side by side for years, she could be awfully crabby,
                      but also very funny and she was an artist. Then her short term memory went, the kids came to clean out the place, and she with it. etc.

                      sweetfern

                      1. re: sweetfern

                        I have about 13 pieces. They are either Lamalle or
                        WMT. WAGNER 1415 LOCUST ST. This last one is hand hammered.

                        sweetfern

                        1. re: sweetfern

                          Hi, sweetfern:

                          If you have marked Lamalle pieces, you have Mauviel. Charles Lamalle was importing French copper long before Chuck Williams started Williams-Sonoma.

                          While I have yet to see a poor Lamalle, some are better grade than others. I have a very large Lamalle oval gratin that is at least 2.5mm, and a Lamalle Pommes Anna that is 3mm on the bottom and 2mm on the lid.

                          As you go through these, it would help if you can both weigh them (along with LxWxH dimensions) AND compare their wall thickness with a US nickle.

                          I'm ignorant as to WMT WAGNER, but weight and condition are more important than mark. There is a German firm named Wagner (did mostly molds and bakeware), but I believe it goes by Christian Wagner. You might check the mark at oldcopper.org

                          Aloha,
                          Kaleo

                    2. My take-away from the thread and from my heart is. . . .

                      use them - don't give them away - pass them on to someone else who will appreciate them when its time for you to pass them along.

                      I have my Grandmother's salt and pepper shaker that I remember from my childhood and am thrilled - imagine if she had copper.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: thimes

                        Hi, thimes: "...don't give them away - pass them on to someone else who will appreciate them when its time for you to pass them along."

                        Exactly. There are Red Violin secrets in fine vintage cookware. But especially wondrous are the pieces that are 50, 100, or more years old. Who held them? What passions--and who--moved their custodians to cherish, or to neglect them? Were they instruments or expedients? Can we wield them? Apologies to FoodFuser.

                        Aloha,
                        Kaleo

                        1. re: kaleokahu

                          This is all helpful. They are back under the bed, for now.
                          Some pots have never been used. The 2 heaviest have the W M T. Wagner 1415 Locust St. stamped on them, and they are hammered copper.
                          I've roamed the web, can't find anything on this mark, will try again.

                          sweetfern

                          1. re: sweetfern

                            William Wagner, whose business was at 1415 Locust in the 19th century, was a Philadelphia merchant who created/founded the Wagner Free Institute of Science (still in existence)..

                            He died in the 1880s, and I don't know how much longer the business continued -- but there is a real chance that the pots marked that way are close to at a hundred years old. A 1919 industrial directory of Pennsylvania lists the business still at that location. If you're in the Philadelphia area, you might be able to find out more locally than a web search will let you do.