I purchased this casserole dish for $10 before shipping charges, which I thought was a great deal. The larger version of this enamelled cast iron piece currently sells for $140 on Amazon.
Here comes the but... The underside of the pan is marked with the measurement across the pan in centimetres, with the number 20 in a diamond. It also reads "Made in France". It does not, however, have any markings indicating that it is a Le Creuset piece.
The seller, rightfully so, made no references to the brand, identifying only the markings that are visible. The piece came from an estate sale where the seller also bought a Descoware pan. Of the companies that produced enamelled cast iron in the flame colour, I believe there was only Descoware, Cousances, and Le Creuset. Descoware pieces however, are marked "Made in Belgium".
I have read some forums which discuss identification of fake Le Creuset pieces. Some have phoned their customer service line, where Le Creuset has confirmed three specific items always noted on the underside of their pieces: 1) Number representing the size in cm, 2) Made in France, and 3) Le Creuset.
I believe what I have here is a vintage Cousances Au Gratin piece. Cousances items simply had stickers indicating their brand on unmarked pots. In the 1950s when Le Creuset purchased Cousances, I can imagine some transition period where pieces used Cousances molds without having the new Le Creuset brand name stamped onto them. The other indicator for me is the size tag within the diamond shape, which you see in many of the midcentury Le Creuset-marked pieces.
Either way, I'm happy with the great condition of the pan and the $10 cost. I'm quite sure I'll come up with some new recipes for roast potatoes or my tried and true garlic prawns with havarti cheese...
Linking to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday!