Whenever I share my kitchen on social media or the blog, I almost always get comments about my pot rack and the collection of copper I’ve amassed over the past decade or so. My love of quality cookware started with an epic Tuesday Morning find – a set of stainless steel pots and pans for 90% off. My love of copper, though, started with an epic yard sale find – an antique copper bundt pan for $25. I don’t think I’ve ever shared the story of when I found it here on the blog and it popped in my mind over the weekend, so I thought I would share it today.
This is the gorgeous antique copper bundt pan I’m referring to…
When Marshall was a baby, we had no expendable income. And, when I say no expendable income, that is very literal. We could pay the essential bills, but beyond that, we didn’t have cable TV or internet, we never ate out, we didn’t shop for clothes, and we didn’t spend money on the house. I would carry a calculator around the grocery store and angst about what to put back before I checked out. I would even turn all of the lights and appliances off during the day to try to eek out a bit more savings on our utility bill. We had everything we needed, but things were tight. Yard sales were something I had enjoyed since I was in high school, but now they were really my only option for shopping. So, most Saturday mornings, I would put Marshall in his car seat and we would head out to see what we could find. Most of the time, I was looking for things we needed, but I couldn’t help looking at antiques and home decor. I would sometimes find something for a few dollars that I could afford, which was a treat.
The spring after Marshall was born, I flew down to visit my parents. Both my parents and Jeff’s parents were incredibly supportive and generous during that time. They would buy us groceries when they visited or would take us out to dinner and buy us a few clothes. On that particular visit, my mom and I set out Saturday morning to check out yard sales. We were primarily looking for clothes and shoes for Marshall to grow into and maybe a few toys. Of course, we came across lots of yard sales with baby & kid stuff, as expected.
But, we came across one yard sale that didn’t have any baby or kid gear. There were mostly kitchen and home goods neatly arranged on folding tables. I spotted several gorgeous antique copper bundt pans, wearing the patina of age. I practically raced up to them and quickly looked at the stickers. 25, 25, 35, 45… Oh my gosh! Only a few cents each!! I can afford these!! I scooped all of them up in my arms and carried them excitedly over to the owner. I pulled a couple of dollars out of my wallet to cover the cost and handed them to her. She looked at the bills, looked at me with my arms loaded with her copper, and frowned.
With a thick French accent, and she said, “No, no. 25 dollars…35 dollars.” She pointed at each bunt pan in my arms as she said the prices. My heart sank and I flushed with embarrassment. I could never justify spending $25 or $35 on one completely impractical antique copper bundt pan much less several. I set them back on the table and walked away. I only had $10 in my wallet to spend, so even one was out of my budget.
If I came across that sale yard sale today, I would’ve bought them all without question. Those typically run for at least $100 or more, so they were an amazing bargain. But, in that season of life, even an amazing bargain was too much.
We drove off as I told my mom about the amazing find and my disappointment. And, even though I tried to forget about them, those antique copper bundt pans hung in my mind. For those who know my mom (or have read about her for years on this blog), you will know without question what happened next. We drove back to the yard sale and she contributed $15 to my $10, so I could buy one antique copper bundt pan. And this is the one I bought…
It has been one of my favorite finds for over a decade and, even when I traveled to Europe in 2018 and 2019, I didn’t see an antique copper bundt pan that rivals the beauty of this one. The patina almost glows and I love how light bounces off of the hand-hammered texture. It is a stunning piece.
Sharing this story makes me want to hit some yard sales again! It’s been a while since I woke up early on a Saturday morning, excited about the prospect of what I might find. 9/10 I came home empty-handed or with just a few practical purchases, but every once in a while, I find something pretty amazing like the $4.00 chandelier hanging in my dining room or this $25 antique copper bundt pan.
What’s been your best yard sale score?