She Buys $5 Rusted Out Dutch Oven At Yard Sale, Gives It Some TLC; Now Has Valuable Heirloom

Updated November 18, 2017

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and, in this case, a discarded rusty pot bought for $5 at a yard sale turned out to be an amazing find. Seeing the potential in the rusty cast iron pot, Imgur user Sandytoo explained how she bought it with the intention of refurbishing it so that it would be usable again. She wrote: “I bought this dutch oven for $5 at a yard sale. The woman I purchased it from didn’t think it could be salvaged. I don’t know the manufacturer, but it has the words ‘No.10’ and the size are stamped on the bottom. This is a huge dutch oven…. it is more than a foot across. I thought we could save it.”

She shared images of the cast iron pot, including the very badly rusted interior. Could it be saved?

It was clearly a lot of work, as the Imgur user explained the steps to scrub it, apply lard, and bake it twice for an hour each time. Sandytoo explained: “I actually spoke to it while I was rubbing it… I told it how handsome it was.”

That bit of TLC beautifully restored the pot to as good as its original condition, but it also revealed a marking on the bottom. It is a No. 10, 12 5/8 IN dutch oven, which another Imgur user explained it was probably made by the Birmingham Stove & Range Co. between 1930 and 1940.

A No. 8 dutch oven from that company during that era sold for $65 on eBay, while a No. 14 was listed at $450, and a No. 12, listed at $399.

Given the big return she could get for it (remember, she only paid $5), you would think the owner would be eager to sell, but she explained on Imgur that she had other plans: “Beautiful! I can’t wait to use it!”

Question of the week: If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Many fans of cast iron weighed in with comments on the post, with one person noting: “This was so satisfying. Cast iron is the best and there isn’t much that CAN’t be salvaged. Nice find,” “Happiness is cooking on well-seasoned cast iron,” “Damn that’s nice,” and “That’s really awesome!”

Another commenter noted: “As a line cook and overall food lover, please understand my appreciation when I say DAMN! You did a great job!”

One person noted how valuable the information was, writing: “One of the more informative posts I’ve ever seen. As a lover of dutch oven food, this made my day” and another explained, “I saw this tip in Field and Stream, glad to see its more than an article gimmick.”

Others added, “Inspiring! I will look for some neglected cast iron next yard sale/thrift store.etc” and “That is such a sweet find! So glad that you were able to fix it! Happy cooking times!”

One person noted that they wished this bit of TLC worked on humans: “God I wish it was that easy to overhaul a human. Bit of a sand…some lard…then bam! Beautiful again.”

This commenter, like so many others, was very impressed, writing: “Nice! I like it when people find and use things that are perfectly good — great, actually — but not the “latest-and-‘greatest’.”