is it possible this was the original roof?
Sure looks like the original roof was pressed metal "tiles" to me. Or, at least this portion of the roof. I remember running across an old ad for these tiles sometime in the past. I think there are companies that still manufacture them.
very cool. WFNorman.com might have some useful info/pix. I know they carry repro outdoor tin roofing in addition to ceiling tiles.
I think that I had WRNorman fabricate a finial piece out of zinc for my tower back in 1996. They were excellent and very fair in their pricing. I was obsessed with using zinc, the original material of my finial, and they fully accommodated that for me.
That is absolutely your original roof. We have the same thing in our attic. But our original, pressed tin shingles are still functioning as our roof. It's possible that they're pressed tin shingles that are rusted, so they look copper. It wasn't an uncommon practice when a roof leaked that you would just slap another one right on top. Unfortunately, it looks like somone drove nails right through the pressed shingles to apply the new roof, which,I'm guessing is a layer of plywood and asphalt shingles. I've attached a picture of our roof from the outside, and inside. While the imprint on our shingles isn't as extravegant as yours, it looks VERY similar to our attic view of our roof.
Also, if you want to have it repaired, cleaned and resealed, be prepared to pay about as much as it would cost for a new tin roof. We managed to find a company that works exclusively with antique roofs, and were quoted at $11,000 to clean and reseal it. We decided to reseal it ourselves this spring. The paint is a little pricey at about $150 per 5 gal bucket. Anyway, I guess it depends on how badly you want your original roof back, and how badly damaged/ rusted it is.
Thanks for posting, my tin roof is buried under the shingles(: