Victorian Copper Vats

Victorian Copper vats date from circa 1850 when they were commonly used to heat water for domestic chores such as bathing and washing clothes. They are not compression moulded from one piece of copper but constructed by riveting 4 pieces of copper together using copper rivets which gives the genuine 19th Century copper vats their distinctive antique look. The average size of a copper vat or as they are sometimes called copper “coppers” is a height of 32.0 centimetres and a diameter of 49.0 centimetres, on average they weigh around 5kg.

Market value
One of the prettiest and most versatile Victorian collectibles, copper vats are now used as planters, log bins, ice buckets for champagne/bottled beer, paper bins and most stunningly trendy sinks. This versatility seems to be driving the prices of copper vats up with some achieving over £2,000 at auction but the average price to pay for a good example currently (November 2011) seems to be around £500/£600. Christies auction house seem to love antique copper vats and they have more passing through their auction rooms than any other auction house.

Some Christies copper vat auction results below:
19th May 2009 and 30th November 2010

Copper vat restoration
We love copper vats here at Encore and are always ready to purchase any that we find. When we get them into our studio we then work on the copper to remove any large dents and just enough of the green patina (verdigris) to let the copper shine through but not enough to take away the character that has been earned over the many years of life. We then seal the surface with Renaissance Wax to slow down any future patination.

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