the story of the antique copper bundt pan

by | Aug 16, 2021 | All Things Home, Favorite Finds, Kitchen | 53 comments

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.

suburban kitchen | painted cabinets| green island | pot rack | miss mustard seed

This is the gorgeous antique copper bundt pan I’m referring to…

antique copper bundt pan | miss mustard seed

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…

antique copper bundt pan | miss mustard seed

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.

antique copper bundt pan | miss mustard seed

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?

53 Comments

  1. Deanna Rabe

    My best yard sale find was four Spode tea cups with saucers, in the Blue Room pattern, for $2.00 total!

    Reply
  2. Babs

    All the yard sale finds are a big jumble in my head but I did get an amazing score at a church rummage sale. I purchased a child’s sled for $.75. It had the name of a local hardware store on it and it was very old. An older gentleman came up to me to see if I knew just what I had. He explained about the name of the sled and about how old it was…I was tickled pink to know the history. I still have the sled in my kitchen. I had turned it sideways on the wall and hung pots from the runners for the longest time. The red and green paint matched my kitchen wallpaper perfectly.

    Reply
  3. Rhonda K

    I love to yard sale. It is my “me” time on a Saturday. When I was younger, I too, did it for survival and mostly kids clothes, etc! Years later, I still love to get up on a Saturday and treasure hunt. Most of my home has been decorated with yard sale finds and I have purchased countless furniture pieces which I lovingly painted or stained to make my own. Recently, I snagged a two drawer spool cabinet (which needed a bit of love) for $30.00. I have since refinished and so love it! The other thing I like about yard sales is the social aspect. You can go to a sale and have a conversation with a total stranger which more times than not, ends up bringing joy to my day!

    Reply
  4. amy Mogish

    I love a good story…and when an item can take me back to a memory or remind me of a time in my life, or how it was purchased…those are my favorite finds……I do have a wood bowl that I dug out of the ground just to have it, it was worth the dirt under my fingernails! Love your story.

    Reply
    • Terry

      Amy I’m with you, love the story but I have unearthed a number of very old marbles while gardening around our 100+ house. I can totally see the kids playing under the watchful eyes that came through the kitchen windows.

      Reply
  5. Christie

    I love hunting for treasures but don’t get out to do it very often. One year, our town had a town wide yard sale day. Tons of people everywhere.

    There was an Amish gentleman selling some things. In particular, he had 2 beautiful antique handmade quilts hanging for sale that the women in his family had made & used lovingly, but his wife had made new quilts (understandably as they were very old). All of these people kept walking up, admiring them and leaving like they were a museum pieces.

    I walk up, and they aren’t priced. I am never shy at these things, so I quietly ask the price. $1 each. I walk up, scoop them up and pay. As I’m leaving, the same women are telling me I will have them forever and what beautiful quilts (and acting like I was paying hundreds of dollars each for them LOL).

    They have a prized spot in my house, and the memory just adds to how much I love them. My favorite yard sale memory. Never hesitate to ask the price!!

    Reply
    • Jeni Bishop

      I found a 1940s Italian bedding set. Quilt, blanket, rug, 6 pillow cases and 2 dresser scarfs. Made of chenille and those gorgeous Tuscan colors. Total price $25. Not only was I happy but it had a beautiful love story behind it.

      Reply
    • Robin Cawley

      Ooooh!! I love that story!! What an amazing find : )

      Reply
      • Robin Cawley

        I want to clarify I was referring to the Amish quilts, but I have enjoyed all the “find stories!”

        Reply
  6. Teddee Grace

    The bundt pan is beautiful and I loved the story of your generous mother. I have a question. I purchased a Le Mere Poulard sauce pan on Saturday at a thrift store that bears the Depuis 1888 medallion. I don’t collect copper, but figured, since it was less than $3, that I should purchase it. It has a strange sort of metal collar that exactly fits inside and can’t be removed without damaging it. I don’t know if it belongs there or is something that has got stuck inside in its travels. Any ideas?

    Reply
    • Kathleen

      Go to VFC @ http://www.vintagefrenchcopper.com. There, you can learn anything imaginable about copper. You can fill out the contact form to ask your questions, send pictures. I’ve found out so much from this website as a she (or he?) thrives on researching copper pieces to get the histories. It was a super resource about what to buy, how to know if the copper is worth the asking prices (new and old). It provided me with everything I wanted to know (and even what I didn’t know I needed to know) before purchasing copper. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  7. Donna Breck

    I love hearing your stories! You are a gifted writer and storyteller! And the bundt pan stunning!!!

    Reply
  8. Jessica

    As always I love the story and the Bundt pan is truly beautiful!!! Have you ever cooked anything in the pan???

    Reply
    • Kelly

      I was at a yard sale in the country near my folk’s new home. The elderly owner was walking around and I felt a pang of guilt and sadness he was in the position to sell his possessions.
      I ended up purchasing a set of gorgeous enerald green dishes with a white flower in the center for $12.00.
      I remember I was with my sister in law and wondering why no one want
      ed the dishes. My sister in law assured me he would want someone to appreciate them.
      They are my favorite dishes and the memory I have with my now deceased sister in law is a
      precious one.

      Reply
    • Catherine ten Hertog

      Mine was 2 years ago when I scored 5 cream and red French outdoor bistro chairs. Talk about good fortune. I couldn’t load them in my car fast enough.

      Reply
      • Catherine ten Hertog

        I forgot to add that the price of the set of french bistro chairs was the grand price of ten dollars. I see them on Serena and Lily and Wayfair for hundreds of dollars each.

        Reply
  9. ellen clairmont

    Your bundt pan is so beautiful! My favorite garage sale find is a set of gorgeous English blue and white china. A whole box full of dishes for $6.00. That was years ago, but today I went to the thrift shop and found a 1990 signed and numbered Linda Nelson Stocks print. It’s called “My First Halloween.” I paid $15. There is one on ebay for $280! I love the thrill of the hunt!

    Reply
  10. Debbie Johnson

    Oooohhh … that bundt pan! I think I need to hit some yard sales!!!

    Reply
  11. Claire

    I did not buy this at a yard sale but instead at a junk/antique store in a bin of random linens, cloth napkins, doilies etc. I found a 34 inch square linen cloth hand embroidered with signatures from the late 1800’s. The signatures are of men and women and fraternity and sorority symbols are embroidered on the cloth along with school pendants and flags and the names of schools Harvard, Yale, The University of Pennsylvania and Hobart. Oars and running shoes are also embroidered on the flag. It appears to be a cloth signed by college students participating in sports and hand embroidered by the owner. I’ve never been able to find out anything more than guesses on it and I would love to find a home for it in a museum.

    Reply
  12. Karen Harrison

    Just this past Saturday I found two large blue striped crockery bowls at $6 and $9! They are usually $40 -$90 when I see them on E-bay or Etsy or even at local auctions. My favorites are from Marshall Pottery nearby where we live and these did not disappoint.

    Reply
  13. Krista

    Beautiful bundt pan and beautiful, heartwarming story! I don’t go to yard sales anymore, but maybe I should!

    Reply
  14. Sharon

    My hubby’s grandmother was very poor in earthly goods but the kindness most loving person you could ever meet. At the time of her death, we were going through a really rough patch financially. A sale was held and a kinda beat up large enamel blue swirl pan came up for sale. To say I wanted it, not only because I loved it, but because it was hers and she had used it. My mother-in-law was with me and could see I just loved that pan; so she bought it for me knowing I could not afford it. It sits in the kitchen above my cabinets and I lovingly think of her when I see it.

    Reply
  15. mary m

    I bought a Chanel Bag at a rummage sale. It had all of the documentation inside. Another time at the same rummage sale I bought a Pucci (sp) mod top that my daughter sold in California for hundreds of dollars.

    For the last few years I have been extremely lucky. Our town has a recycling center. They have set up a swap shop where residents drop off items and can take whatever they want for free. I smartened up and have been a faithful volunteer every Sunday from 1-3 pm. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You cant imagine what I have brought home.

    Residents are so happy to be able to unload stuff rather than dump it. Ofcourse this is seasonal for where I live. It was one woman’s idea to do this and go forward. Needles to say I have not been to a yard sale in three years! I’m having too much fun doing this!

    Reply
  16. Taria

    The thrill of the hunt is what it is all about. I think my best find might have been a beautiful desk I refinished for my daughter. She was still living at home but has it in her home office now. Lots of fun chatting with folks and finding goodies at yard sales. We were like your family in our young days too~

    Reply
  17. At Rivercrest Cottage

    I happened on a garage sale during a rough period when my kids were young. There were so many beautiful things, but a Victorian shelf caught my eye. It was hand carved with a bar I later learned was for towels. It was only $20 which was every cent I had. I bought it and loved it. In 2019 we sold Rivercrest Cottage, our home in Texas. The buyer bought almost all our furniture. We were seeking better cancer treatment for my husband in another state. It seemed like the time to let the shelf go so I gifted our buyer with the shelf.

    Reply
  18. JC

    The warmth and patina of this burnt pan is only second best to the heartwarming story of its purchase. Priceless.

    When I was a young wife and Mom I had my eyes out for a thrifted red metal tricycle for my toddler daughter, like I had as a little girl. One Saturday morning, when yard sailing alone, I hit yard sale after yard sale with no success. Upon feeling discouraged, I prayed to find a red tricycle. Not soon after praying, I rounded the corner, and what was sitting out on the corner of a yard sale, but a red metal tricylce in great working order!!!
    I took it home to a wide-eyed little girl who was thrilled to help wash it. Her Daddy made wooden blocks to attach to the pedals since she wasn’t quite tall enough yet. She must have put a thousand miles on that little bike. Sweet memory!

    Reply
  19. JC

    Haaaaaaa, should have said BUNDT pan not burnt pan!!!🤣

    Reply
  20. Julie | Home On The Hill

    Can’t get much better than free! I found a free old TV unit locally a few years ago that I converted into an old fashioned pie safe that is now one of my favourite pieces in our farm house.

    Reply
  21. Jean

    My first yard sale I found a Lambrecht butter crock for $5. I haven’t seen them for under $50 for years and usually closer to $100. But I have several now and use them at our sinks to hold soap bottles and always think about that first “steal” that started my love for blue and white and old pots!

    Reply
  22. Gayle Stewart

    I have attended and purchased loved items at more yard sales and flea markets than I could ever count. One of my most favorite was a very large oil painting of a gorgeous woodland scene for $20. It was a church rummage sale and the painting still hangs in my home. Probably the best buy of all time was the 26 cents (yes, CENTS) brand new, still in the original package, I found on a Target end cap. It hung around in my linen closet for five years until I needed it. Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder!

    Reply
    • Gayle Stewart

      I forgot to add the words “toilet seat”! So sorry!

      Reply
  23. Stacey Arps

    I am currently selling the contents of a loved one’s home. He was a collector and to do it right takes time, patience and effort. I have found it emotionally difficult to part with the things that were important to him.
    My wonderful husband pointed out that my loved one had acquired these collections thru auctions and yard sales and that he had loved the process of finding a treasure and bringing it home. That has made it so much easier to let go of his things. I want other people to enjoy finding his treasures.
    I love your copper bundt pan and the fact that it is a found treasure to you!

    Reply
  24. Jo

    I find it so relaxing to go on a treasure hunt for items on my “list” of wishes. Finding it at an awesome price truly makes it a treasure.

    Reply
  25. Janet in Kansas City

    I found a 1950’s sunbeam toaster for $2.50. Last night I think it finally died on me. I’ve had it and used it for years. I’m so bummed. 😫😫😫

    Reply
  26. Becky

    Years ago at the local flea market, I bought a plethora of Edwardian lady’s nightgowns with old pink ribbons running through the eyelet lace, slips, baby slips, pantaloons etc. for $40.00. Which was a huge sum for me. All are linen or cotton, possibly hemp and some have a modest embroidered monogram on them. Also a beautiful pair of hand made socks, with mongram and the date of 1926 in red. Oddly enough there was also a uniform from WW2, for a lady’s unit, I have since forgotten the name. I sold that one piece on eBay and made up the $40.00 and then some. The gal that bought it did reenactments. This past year I had my bedroom painted and now have one of the pair of pantaloons hanging on the wall for art. I still treasure the rest. I can’t part with them, as when will another treasure trove of Edwardian underthings come my way?

    Reply
  27. Cheryl L.

    My best find was a small vase purchased at a community rummage sale. I was digging through a cardboard box of kitchen items when I saw this beautiful little 4″ vase. It had a price of $5, but because it was at the end of the day, the vendor sold it to me for 25 cents. This vase sat on my bookshelf for a few years, as I couldn’t find the pottery markings in my research. One night I was watching the Antiques Roadshow, and voila, I learned that I had found a Newcomb College Pottery vase…I was speechless. I sold it for $1325. Best find ever.

    Reply
  28. Kristine Puzel

    I love the story of your copper bundt pan. And yes, I HAVE been reading your blog for years, and knew exactly what would happen! But you give as well as you get; you did a beautiful job of renovating your parent’s master bedroom! I have shopped thrift/yard/rummage/estate sales for years and have house full of treasures to show for it. One of my favorite treasures is from an estate sale near our home. This was around 1970 when I was still in high school. A vase called out to me; it was a kind of earthenware material, and had handles on either side. The flowers painted on the sides are in pinks, greens, blues and yellow. Sunflowers look amazing it; like it was made to specifically hold sunflowers! The best part is on the bottom it simply reads “Italy”. I have had it for 50 years, and I still love it.

    Reply
  29. Debra N.

    A few years ago I stopped by a garage sale where everything was $1. She had a twin size iron bed frame and the original side rails for $1 and it is set up in our small spare bedroom. I really love it.
    I’ve enjoyed reading about everyone’s treasures and memories.

    Reply
  30. Jeanne F.

    About 40 years ago my mom and I found a box of about 60 assorted size blue and white dishes for $5 dollars. I use them every day!

    Reply
  31. KathieB

    I love this story, Marian. I imagined the life it’s had with you and those who’ve loved it before you, the person who made it and the store where it was originally sold. My style is definitely gathered and layered! I love that my pre-loved finds hold memories for me. I also love the stores from their past- both known and imagined. I feel blessed to re-love these treasures.

    Reply
  32. Debbie

    My best find came quite recently when I got a gorgeous pine cupboard with glass doors on top. It’s 52 inches wide and 85 inches tall. It is the perfect piece that holds most of my dish collections. I was so fortunate to pay only $100.00 for it. I couldn’t believe my good luck.

    Reply
  33. Anne Dee

    Love your story of the bundt pan. One of my best finds was a painted firkin for $15! It’s painted black and rather large with the lid. The seller thought it was a sewing box.

    Reply
  34. Sandy

    Thank you for sharing that story. You and you folks are such sweethearts!

    Reply
  35. Vicki

    I love your story! My best garage sale treasure was actually an estate auction that we went to in about 2008. I bid and won several things that my husband and I had picked out pre-auction. At the end of the auction, there were several “grab-bag” type boxes of “household items.” I bid $25.00 and got a large box. To my great and happy surprise what I found inside was a vintage set of Wedgewood Etruria & Barlaston EDME plates…8 dinner plates, luncheon plates, and salad plates and cups and saucers, along with 12 bread plates, two platters, veg. bowl, sugar and creamer, and gravy boat. Also, in the box were odds pieces of sterling flatware, a vase, and some other odd bits. I recently checked for some additional pieces to replace a few things with little chips on the rims. The cups and saucers alone were $9.99 each.

    Reply
  36. Pam

    Reading about how you got your copper Bundt pan, which is beautiful, brought back a wonderful story about my Mom (who is no longer here). Like you in your story, we were going from paycheck to paycheck and my daughter was a year old. I met my Mom at a house where we lived that was having a tag sale run by a group of women. The home belonged to an older woman who was going into a very nice senior living place in the town we lived in.
    Most of our furniture was hand-me-downs that did not always match and that was the case in our bedroom. So when I walked up the stairs in this house and at the top was a dresser with a beautiful wood incased mirror and a dressing table, also with a mirror. I fell instantly in love with the two pieces, but they were not priced. My Mom loved it also and we went down stairs to find one of the ladies who was working the sale to ask how much the pieces were. She told us the was also a tall chest that went with the set and told us for everything $150. I did not have the money and Mom my and I were talking out in the hallway and they lady came out and said $125.00 and before I could say no, my Mom said – SOLD. She paid for it for us and I was so grateful.
    When my husband (divorced now) to pick everything up the next day, there was also a bed.
    I still have the bedroom set and still love it today. I am actually going to give it a uplift and paint it. I worked this weekend on the headboard and can hardly wait for it to be completed.
    Thank you so much for reminding me of memories that are so previous to me.

    Pam Emma

    Reply
  37. Patricia Kasparian

    I love your mum! And the pan is fantastic!

    Reply
  38. Kat

    Must be about 20 years ago now …my husband asked if I wanted to ride with him to our landfill. Sure, I’ll go, nothing better to do right now. As he was recycling our cans and papers, I saw a broken chest of drawers sitting nearby. For some reason I walked over and pulled out the top drawer. There was the top to a milk glass candy dish….only the white top. I looked for the bottom part in the other drawers…nothing. I asked the manager and was told …just take it .lady…it’s missing the bottom, you said. I took it home, cleaned it with an old toothbrush, dried it ,then walked to my china cabinet and placed it on my candy dish….it fit perfectly. I had gotten the matching milk glass bottom at this same dump ten years earlier and had looked for years for a top to match. I still have that candy dish and I smile every time I see it.

    Reply
  39. Susan

    8 English tea cups …total 8.00….white with runny blue print….
    LP records 25 cents each Ian & Sylvia …folk stuff…

    Reply
  40. Carolyn L Dietrich

    A teapot with a copper cover for $2.00. I had seen it in a department store and was newly married and couldn’t afford it. I was stunned when I found it years later at a yard sale. I felt God, knowing how much I wanted it, provided it for me. I had to wait many years but I was so excited.

    Reply
  41. Kim

    The bundt pan is as beautiful as your story. Oh, I have gotten some amazing deals at garage sales over the years!! I think that one of my earliest most amazing finds was an entire pile of 1930s McCoy vases laying on the grass with some other plastic pots, clay pots, etc. I casually asked how much all the flower pots were, and the woman said, “Oh, those are all just free for the taking.” I tried to not let my raging excitement show and scooped them all up!!!

    Reply
  42. Tracy

    My favorite find was a white ironstone soup toureen. I just love the hunt for a great treasure. I love your Bundt pan!

    Reply
  43. SKF

    I found some bells while estate sale-ing with my mom– and one was a sterling silver one like the ones you mentioned on here a while ago. (I had secretly sighed over having a silver bell myself but let it go.) The tone is lovely, and I was so excited to get the whole bag of bells for just $10, so my mom has several regular bells for wrapping presents and I have one silver one for my tree or mantel.

    Reply
  44. Diane Smith

    LOVE your copper Bundt pan…and the story that goes with it! Please write about the lovely blue and white pieces on your island shelves (flour, etc.).

    Reply

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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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