Along with bronze, copper is one of the most durable and beautiful metals used in casket-making.
Copper caskets are naturally non-rusting, which means they can last almost indefinitely underground. And they make a strong aesthetic impact at a funeral or viewing, too.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What’s a Copper Casket?
- How Much Do Copper Caskets Usually Cost?
- Main Types of Copper Caskets
- Where Can You Buy a Copper Casket?
If you want a durable metal casket that’s highly customizable, copper might be a great option for you. Below, we’ll explore copper caskets, how much they typically cost, and where you can find them.
What’s a Copper Casket?
A copper casket is a rectangular burial container made entirely (or almost entirely) out of copper.
It’s important to keep an eye out for “copper caskets” that are, in truth, only copper-colored or copper-finished. This is a marketing tactic used by some retailers online, and it can be hard to spot at first.
You can find true copper caskets in a wide variety of designs, with an assortment of features and additions.
Here are some factors to consider if you’re shopping for a copper casket:
Weight. Unlike steel caskets, which are measured by gauge, copper and bronze caskets are assessed and priced based on the metal’s weight.
For example, you might see a copper casket listed as 32-ounce copper or 48-ounce copper. This number refers to the metal’s weight per square foot.
The weight not only affects the overall weight of the casket, but also the durability and quality of the product. Heavier copper caskets cost more than those that are lighter-weight.
Gasketing or sealing. Many metal caskets are “gasketed” or “sealed.” This means they feature a rubber gasket wrapped around the lid and the edge of the casket. When the casket closes, the rubber gaskets form a seal designed to protect the body inside.
But according to the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule, “gasketed” or “sealed” caskets don’t actually prevent decomposition. And this type of seal isn’t required by law. So if you choose a metal casket, including copper, whether or not you want gasketing is completely up to you.
Locking mechanism. People choose metal caskets primarily for their durability and security compared to other types of caskets. So it makes sense that some copper caskets would feature locking mechanisms.
When you’re choosing a copper casket, you might see models that include locks, or separate locking compartments. Only the funeral home holds the key to those locks, ensuring that the casket is safe and secure.
Size. Another factor to consider is the size of the casket you’ll need. A standard copper casket is typically 84 inches long, 28 inches wide, and 23 inches tall. For most people, the length of the casket isn’t an issue. But people sometimes require wider or taller caskets.
Because it requires more material to construct, an “oversized” copper casket usually costs more than one that’s standard-sized. And some funeral homes and manufacturers might not keep oversized copper caskets in stock.
When it comes to metals, that extra material can add a lot of added weight, too. Consider whether you’re prepared to carry a heavier metal casket if you’re holding a procession.
Finish. When you’re shopping for a copper casket, you’ll find different colors or finishes. A copper casket can look like brushed or polished bronze, or it could be finished with a black, white, or colored varnish.
Keep in mind that a copper casket and a stainless steel casket might look almost identical if they have the same finish and varnish. But the copper casket is more durable and longer-lasting, which is why it costs more.
Hardware. Finally, the hardware on a copper casket can make a big difference in both appearance and cost. The hardware includes features like the rails and design elements.
Some copper caskets include stainless steel hardware, while others feature gold-plated hardware.
What makes copper unique?
Copper is a semi-precious metal with a pinkish-orange color. In casket-making, it’s used on its own or as part of the alloy known as bronze. Copper is also a native metal, which means it appears in nature in a directly-usable form. It’s been used by humans since around 8,000 BC.
As a casket material, copper is unique because, like bronze, it doesn’t rust. It will eventually oxidize over time, but it remains strong and durable. And that means a copper casket buried underground can easily last thousands of years.
History of copper caskets
Copper was first used to build a casket in 1840, as part of the first bronze-finished casket. Before that, humans used wood caskets and coffins or burial shrouds to bury the dead. Metal caskets grew in popularity after the Korean War, and by the late 1970s, they were the most popular option.
Casket-makers started experimenting with more durable caskets made of semi-precious metals, like copper and bronze.
Today, metal caskets are highly popular because they’re easily produced and machined to include intricate design features. Copper caskets aren’t as widely popular as stainless steel, but they’re a valuable choice for families that want a longer-lasting casket.
How Much Do Copper Caskets Usually Cost?
No matter what material you choose, a casket is usually a significant and difficult purchase. But some caskets are more expensive than others. One of those costlier casket options is a copper casket.
In fact, copper is the second most expensive casket material (after bronze). Copper caskets cost more than their steel or hardwood counterparts, and much more than biodegradable or “green” caskets.
The average price of a copper casket is around $3,000. Some copper caskets, however, can cost upwards of $10,000 or more.
If you don’t want to splurge on the cost of a casket, copper might not be the ideal choice. But you can often find copper caskets at discount prices online and from the manufacturer.
Main Types of Copper Caskets
There’s no lack of choice in the world of copper caskets. Below are some of the main types of copper caskets from which you can choose.
1. Brushed copper
A brushed copper casket maintains the “coppery” appearance of the metal but adds softness and detail. It’s a bold, metallic look that can go well with a soft, ivory interior.
2. Silver- or gold-finished copper
Copper is also excellent at disguising itself as other, more precious metals. You can find copper caskets that appear to be made out of silver or even solid gold. Some copper caskets are, in fact, gold-plated, which only adds to the effect.
3. Colorful copper
Similarly, you can purchase a copper casket that’s bright blue, black and white, or pale pink. There are nearly endless color combinations when it comes to metal caskets.
4. Locking copper caskets
As mentioned above, you can opt for a copper casket with added security. If you want the peace of mind that your loved one won’t be disturbed by anyone anytime soon, a lock might not be a bad idea. Some caskets also include locking drawers for personal belongings.
5. Half-couch, full-couch, and glass-windowed
Most copper caskets today are half-couch, which means half of the lid opens up. This is convenient for funerals and viewings, but half-couch caskets are also used for burial.
If you’d rather have a casket that opens all the way up, you can still find full-couch copper caskets, too. And you can even find half- or full-couch caskets with a protective glass plate to place across the lid during viewing to protect the deceased.
Where Can You Buy a Copper Casket?
Deciding on a copper casket is just part of the process. Next, you’ll have to figure out where you can buy the perfect copper casket.
Below are your options if you’re interested in buying a casket made of copper.
If you want to keep things simple, you can purchase a copper casket from the funeral home. But keep in mind that this isn’t required. The funeral home must accept a casket purchased elsewhere if you choose to do so.
Numerous online retailers sell copper caskets, often at much lower prices than the funeral home.
But it’s important to factor in shipping prices when you buy from these retailers. With an item as heavy as a copper casket, those prices can quickly raise the bill higher than you might expect.
Wholesale stores often offer lower prices on those items. And caskets are no different.
You can buy a casket from a big-box retailer like Costco or Walmart, either in-store or online. So far, however, these stores primarily offer stainless steel caskets and some hardwood varieties.
Is a Copper Casket Right for You?
Purchasing a casket is no small feat. It’s often an emotional process, as well as a financially stressful one. And somewhere along the way, you’ll have to decide on the casket material.
The main reason people choose metal caskets, especially those made of copper or bronze, is for their durability. But copper and metal caskets also offer unparalleled customizability and personalization options.
If you want a casket that can last through the ages and look dignified at a funeral, copper might be the perfect choice.
- “Funeral costs and pricing checklist.” Federal Trade Commission. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0301-funeral-costs-and-pricing-checklist