At the Park Avenue Armory Antiques Show in New York City, Martha visits Susan Stone, co-owner of Eve Stone Antiques in Woodbridge, Connecticut, to see her collection of beautiful copper and brass antiques. Copper is a soft metal, and old pieces that have survived the years in good condition can be quite valuable. Most of Susan's pieces are from England, and many bear the "Birmingham mark," a scepter and orb, which indicates their city of origin and adds to their value.
Susan's favorite piece is a mid-nineteenth-century copper mold emblazoned with the silhouette of a young Queen Victoria. Such molds were used for puddings, jellies, and ice cream. Other copper items of interest include a ship's kettle, the boxy shape of which is less likely to tip on a pitching ship; Christmas molds with lids for heating pudding; and an eighteenth-century mold from Oxford's King's College kitchen, which is prized for its rich patina.
Martha admires a set of copper saucepans with lids, and Susan explains that most nineteenth-century saucepans did have lids when they were originally made, though the lids often become lost over time. She also notes that if copper is showing through on the pan's interior, the pan needs to be retinned.
For cleaning your fine copper and brass pieces, Susan recommends a pasty, wax-based polish such as Met-All rather than a liquid -- she finds that liquids are more likely to contain a fine grit that can scratch the metal. If you own a piece that is extremely dull and dirty, you may need to take it to a professional to be buffed on a wheel.
To learn more about Eve Stone Antiques, visit evestoneantiques.com.