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Handcrafted Dish a Tourist Souvenir

Ornate Aztec hammered copper serving plate/wall hanging dates from the 1940s-1960s.
Asheford AT Teaser
Aztec hammered copper serving plate.

Aztec hammered copper serving plate.

Question: I have what I believe to be a large copper serving dish; it’s about two-feet across. It seems like the designs are handcrafted. Can you tell me anything about it? - Nick Sangregorio

Answer: Traditional copper work in Mexico has its origins in its Hispanic period divided into three main periods: the pre-classic period, before 250 CE, the classic period 250-900 CE, and the post-classic period 900-1521 CE.

Your ornate Aztec hammered copper serving plate/wall hanging depicting the Aztec culture dates from a much later time period, the 1940s-1960s, when tourists would bring home a souvenir such as your copper serving plate.

A souvenir copper serving plate

A souvenir copper serving plate

To obtain the design of your plate consisting of many ancient Aztec symbols, it involved hammering and the use of many tools such as chisels, pliers, tongs, scissors, shears, punches, mallets, and various anvils and hammers. These were used to shape and emboss the piece. The decorative work of embossing, also called “repoussé,” consisted of hammering the piece from the inside to push the shape outward.


From the photos provided of the edge of your copper plate, I did notice areas of bright green indicating corrosion. Fortunately, there are ways in which to stop copper from corroding and I would take initiatives now to prevent further damage.

Considering the age of your piece and its condition, I would value your copper serving plate at $50 in today’s marketplace.

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