There’s just something thrilling and rewarding in collecting antique copper cookware. Back in the old days, a lot of dishes were made out of copper. They still are, but it’s not the pure copper used as it was back 100, 200, and even more years ago. Antique copper pots have a long history and were extremely durable cookware. Today, many people want to add it to their kitchen because of the sentimental and historical value they hold. Still, many collectors also have their eyes set on these pots, which is what gives them the most popularity.

Whether you want to buy an old copper pot at a flea market, yard sale, or inside an antique store, there are a lot of things to look into. It’s interesting to note that most antique copper pots can still be used today when cleaned, despite their old age. They were made durable so that they can withstand years and years of cooking.

In the same way, if you recently dug out your grandmother’s vintage or antique copper pots, you must be wondering if they’re worth anything and whether some collector could benefit from their quality as well as value.

The good news is that antique copper pots have great value in the market if you know how to search for what’s right for you. We assure you that collectors of antique cookware are well-versed in that and will pick only the best antique copper pots.

That’s why we wrote this guide for everyone who wants to sell or buy their own antique copper pots for their home. Whether you’re a novice collector or simply want to have something antique at home, we’ll guide you in identifying antique copper pots.

Being able to successfully date antique copper pots will also give you the necessary knowledge and experience with haggling, as well as to recognize if some pot is more or less valuable than the seller says it is. That said, continue reading on and learn everything you need to know about identifying antique copper pots.

What Are Antique Copper Pots?

How to Identify Antique Copper Pots - What Are Antique Copper Pots
Credit: @thegentlemanfarmer363

The first thing you need to understand is that copper pots were not just one of those antique items that appeared two centuries ago and made it into the present times. Copper pots have been used for centuries, and not just in The USA or European countries, but worldwide.

The first nations that recognized its numerous benefits were people in the Middle East and Asia. However, as time passed, the practice of cooking food in copper pots became the norm, particularly thanks to the Romans and their advanced civilization.

The practice remained after The Roman Empire had fallen, and eventually made it to the new continent during the voyages from Europe to The American continent. The reason why this pot persisted against the tooth of time is that copper is some of the best materials to cook in.

It’s still used worldwide, although not a full copper alloy. The reason why copper is used so much in cuisines around the world is because of its great conductivity properties. It’s great at conducting heat and electricity.

Although the electricity bit is not as relevant, it’s worth mentioning that its great heat conductivity allows the food to be cooked evenly and properly, which was important back in the age when big meals took hours to cook to perfection.

What probably attracts antique cookware collectors is the fact that copper dishes develop a patina over time, which just makes dishes look even more beautiful, making the dish even more attractive. It’s also a clear indicator that the item is vintage or antique and evaluation is not that difficult to do.

The reason why copper dishes like the pots are so popular among collectors is because of its reddish-gold shade, the fact it’s a sturdy, strong, and durable dish and it’s resistant to corrosion. Another reason why people use it is because of its antibacterial properties.

It’s a perfect cooking dish because it can prevent the growth of bacteria such as legionella, MRSA, and E. Coli which often make it into the food, especially contaminated waters. It can also effectively prevent the growth of different food fungi so it’s still used today.

With this, the benefits of copper-made cookware just begin, but we don’t have time for that so without further ado, we’ll get to identifying antique copper pots so you can excel at evaluating at a flea market, or you can even sell your pot expensively.

Identifying Antique Copper Pots

How to Identify Antique Copper Pots - Identifying Antique Copper Pots
Credit: @udsonvalleyhouseparts

Identifying simple things made of copper can be difficult, especially if the item is extremely old and doesn’t have manufacturing markings or stamps. That’s why we’ll focus on other key things to identify antique copper pots successfully.

Some of the things include the weight of the pots, the type of metal (whether it’s made of pure copper or a copper alloy), patina, tarnish, and even surface. To see what all to compare when identifying antique copper pots continue reading further on.

The Size

One thing to get started with is the size of the pots. Normally, pots were made much bigger in the past, because it was more suitable when feeding large families. Remember that in the past, families weren’t so small, but rather consisted of large households, counting 7 to 10 family members per household.

That being said, even among the poorer families, antique copper pots were made quite large, whether by the manufacturing companies or blacksmiths who made them for the needs of large families. With that in mind, if the copper pot is particularly large, it can be a good indicator that it’s antique.

Still, that’s just the first sign, it’s important to look at other traits of the antique copper pot and make the connection between the details.

The Condition

When it’s about collectors, they will try to look for thick antique copper pots with smooth surfaces, no handles missing, and no signs of wear and tear. However, if your antique copper pot is old for hundreds of years, that’s impossible to achieve.

Antique pots are sensitive even though they’re made of copper. While you’re likely not to find any kind of cracks or signs of breakage, there will be visible signs of wear and tear like the scratches that will especially be found on the inside part of the pot.

Additionally, the material may be darker in some areas because of the burning-in of the food that was cooked. Let’s face it, even our grandmothers made mistakes when cooking. Nevertheless, your antique pot can still be in a mint state, so continue exploring and inspecting further.


How to Identify Antique Copper Pots - Patina
Credit: @antiquemarketandmore

We mentioned earlier that antique copper pots are resistant to corrosion. However, it’s worth mentioning that copper doesn’t corrode in the same way as some other materials. It instead develops a patina.

It’s a type of coating that is blue or green and looks the most similar to oxidation found on the Statue of Liberty in New York City. Copper is much slower to oxidate compared to other metals especially because of its long exposure to the atmosphere.

The most important thing about copper patina is that unlike the corrosion on other metals like iron which is undesirable, patina is very sought after and desirable on copper pots. One of the reasons is that it gives the pots a unique look that will be desired by many collectors. Another reason is that it adds up to the age of the copper pot, which means that it’s really old if there is a strong patina formation on it.


Most of the cookware has a lining of some kind. However, the important thing is to make a difference between the lining antique dishes use and those made now use. Most of the time, you will find that antique cookware was brushed with tin, and copper pots made 100 and more years ago are no exception.

Vintage and new copper pots are brushed with stainless steel which will prevent the formation of patina but also make it look new for many years. Copper pots were covered with tin for centuries because just like copper, tin is also a great heat conductor which would’ve made cooking more effective.

Another reason why tin was used is because it prevented the food from getting stuck to the pot or pan, and made it more durable that way. The non-stick features were the winning game for many housewives back in the old days. Recognizing that the pot has a tin lining helps identify and date the pot.

Stainless steel pots don’t have as good non-sticking properties. That said, if you leave it on the fire for a very long time, the food is more likely to stick and glue to the surface of the pan, ruining it in the process.

The burning and sticking marks on antique copper pots are quite rare, which is why it’s such a good addition to your antique cookware collection. The best part is that you can reuse it without worrying about anything.

Weight & Thickness

Usually, the older cookware is much heavier than that used today. More importantly, older dishes were also made of thicker copper designs with sturdier and more durable construction. That’s because these antique copper pots were supposed to last for a lifetime, and oftentimes even longer.

The thickness and heavy construction ensured that the dish won’t twist or become bent. It is made so that it can be used on both glass and clay-top ovens, as well as the electric ovens we have had in the last 100 years.

Most of the antique copper pots will be about 3 millimeters thick, the newer it is, the less thick it is. For example, vintage and newer antique copper pots will have a thickness of 2.5 and 2 millimeters respectively.


How to Identify Antique Copper Pots - Handles
Credit: @collierantiques

Checking the handles of antique copper pots is also a good indicator of their age. Most of the dishes will have attached handles with it, but what matters is the design and materials used to make the pot holders. Some of the older copper pots used bronze or hardened steel, but those that are old relied on cast-iron skillets to ensure that there’s not as much heat conductivity and that it can be gripped more easily, even when the pot is really hot.

Hammered or Industry Copper Pot

Another key detail for identifying the origin of the antique copper pot is whether it was hammered by a blacksmith or manufactured in some of the old factories. Hammering was popular many years and centuries ago, to ensure the metal hardens to maximize the heat conductivity.

It also contributes to higher weight and thicker construction which means that the pot is older and more durable in the process.

Manufacturer Stamp

Most of the identification process can be confirmed by checking for stamps or the manufacturer’s seal or watermark. The stamp can include a combination of letters, words, logos, numbers, and other symbols that get hard-pressed during the process of manufacturing.

Manufacturers’ stamps are important both for the identification and dating of copper pots. More importantly, they can be used for evaluation too. Aside from the manufacturers, the stamp can also show which store sold the antique piece. Sometimes, these stamps are located near the handles of the pot, as well as its bottom. If you preserved the lid, they can be found there too.

There are many different copper pot manufacturers. Some of them still work today. But, if you need help identifying your antique copper pot, here are some of the most popular copper pot manufacturers.

  • Benjamin & Medwin
  • Mauviel
  • Villedieu
  • Joseph Heinrichs

If You Struggle With Identifying Get a Help from an Expert

Identifying antique copper pots, especially those that are handmade is extremely difficult, which is why sometimes it’s good to consult with an expert and get help identifying what you need. Here’s what you can do.

Get Help from a Professional Appraiser

One thing you can do is get help from an appraiser. They can often be found owning antique stores or through a contact in the antique stores. Some of them also have official websites which you can refer to and see whether they can help you date your antique copper pot.

Editor’s notes: If you find an appraiser online, don’t just go to them, especially if they are located in another town or even state. The best course of action is to message them and supply pictures of the antique pot and have them tell you whether they can help you or not. You don’t want to be scammed or surprised that they can’t help you once you’re there.

Consult Another Antique Expert or an Enthusiast

Another thing that you can do is consult with other like-minded collectors or enthusiasts about antique copper pots online. The best way to do that is by visiting some blog or even a community or forum. Some of the best forums to look at are Reddit. Some of the most popular subreddits for antique copper pots are r/coppercookware and r/BuyItForLife.

Other online communities can also help you date and identify your copper pot. Some of them include valuemystuff and

Get Information at Auctions

If you’re unable to get an expert opinion from an appraiser or at some online community, it’s time to have some fun and visit some auctions and see other antique copper pots. There you can interact with knowledgeable people and sellers who’ve already gone through the struggle of identifying their antique copper pots and other copper cookware.

Still, if you don’t want to leave the comfort of your home, you can also research online auction sites such as eBay and find some interesting antique copper pots and other antique cookware made with copper and compare it with what you have.

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