Tips/advice for buying used le creuset?
I just can't justify the price of new, but there seems to be some good deals on used. Any tips or advice in general for doing this?
It is expensive to ship so if you buy on Ebay, much of your savings can go to shipping. Still if you want a specific piece or color, it is an option. I would consider other brands that are not made in China. Descoware, Cousances, Copco, Klefrestrom and Prizer are some of the brands I have.
I have had the best luck at antique malls, but that is not to say you can't find it at estate sales, yard sales auctions and of course thrift stores. It is heavy and not always the best at stove top cooking so people often get rid of it. I mostly use it in the oven. I have some small pieces that I use for serving cold sauces in because it stays cold longer. I would think of what pieces you would use. If you are patient and don't mind looking, yo can find it reasonably. If you need it quicker, you might pay a little more. TJX stores often get it and it is very reasonable on clearance. I avoid any with chips if I can, also if too worn or burned.
I've bought several through eBay, and have been very happy with the prices and quality. You might have to be a bit patient to find just what you want. There are a lot of brand new Le Creuset pans sold there, too; it's become a bit of a dealer haven.
Also, Le Creuset sells discounted seconds through various outlets; a friend once bought me one of their dutch ovens with an entirely inconsequential chip out of the exterior enamel and it's one of my favorite pans.
I don't see much in thrift stores or flea markets but it can be found - but its usually the less useful pieces - skillets and grill pans not dutch ovens
as mentioned used on ebay shipping can get expensive but you can still save over new - just make sure the enamel in the interior is in tact and not overly worn.
I am not a big fan of the cheaper MIC brands that I have seen - the enamel just does not feel right but there are some neat vintage european brands descoware/copco that are nice and have funky vintage designs
also as mentioned keep an eye on the discount store racks - it does show up steeply discounted - retail on that stuff is crazy and unjustified for anything but wedding registries
I would give up on one particular colour unless you are prepared to wait for someone selling a whole collection $$$.
I stay away from Ebay mostly. They have seller charges that inevitably inflate the purchase price and shipping is expensive especially for heavy items. I have never had bad dealings.
Your local buy and sell is a better bet. Be prepared to wait a while. I have an eight dollar Creuset Coccote that I love, but it came by chance.
I would decide if junk shopping is something you enjoy and can afford time wise. Would you spend 3 days salary to have 3 days cooking with precisely the items you want?
Still, you might get lucky.... :)
Definitely consider if you enjoy junking. We were traveling and stopped at two lower end "antique" malls. Scored a cousances pristine white quiche pan($5) and a descoware small saucepan w/lid in really good shape, used but still has sheen and no chips($15) When I was checking out a lady ahead of me had a ~11" LC skillet for $8. Down the road stopped GW and found a corningware Merry Mushroom 4qt pot. Highly unusual to find that much usable cookware in such a short time. It is out there.
Have you looked at places like TJ Maxx & Marshall's? My LC came from TJM at a substantial discount - $99 + tax. No, that's not the $5 yard sale find I brag about & $100 still isn't chump change... But honestly for enamelware like that, I kinda prefer to be the first owner.
I figure in the long run all the stainless & cast iron and corningware I've picked up for pennies on the dollar so significantly lowers my "cost per piece" that I can "splurge" on a factory second or floor model piece that is new to me.