Awesome .999 Fine Lead Bullion! In convenient "pipe" shape!

Because I have a small element collection, I occasionally troll eBay for interesting metals.

Recently, I've noticed people selling "copper bullion".

This, for those of you not up on precious-metal terminology, is a contradiction in terms. Bullion ("No, not the little cubes you put in hot water to make soup.") is, by definition, precious metals. Gold, silver, platinum, palladium; a metal that's rare enough that it can be used as a reasonably portable means of exchange in its own right, not just struck into coins that can be used to purchase goods worth far more than the coins' intrinsic metal value.

Copper, on the other hand, is a "base metal". It's common enough that trading it by the ounce is ridiculous. As I write this, the spot price for copper is about $US3.85 per pound, not per ounce.

(It occurs to me that this may be the heart and soul of the copper bullion scam. Just charge as much per ounce as the metal is actually worth per pound, and wait for some Modern Jackass to take the bait.)

What people are trading for $3.85 a pound on the base metal markets may or may not be .999-purity "fine" copper, but it's actually quite easy to buy very pure copper from engineering suppliers, or indeed your local hardware store. You generally have to pay more to get copper that's been alloyed with something else.

Today, the price of copper has risen enough that many small-denomination copper coins are now worth more intrinsically than their face value. I've got a roll of fifty of the old, now withdrawn, Australian one-cent pieces here; it weighs about 132 grams, which at $US3.85 a pound makes this "fifty cent" roll worth about $AU1.15 right now.

That's still not a lot, though, and the notion of selling copper as bullion remains silly. There's no real market for it. If you go into one of those heavily-armoured shops that buys and sells gold and silver bullion and try to sell them a slab of copper, they'll laugh and send you on your way.

Precious-metal prices always rise whenever one or more of the world's great economies are in bad shape, so the USA's current enthusiastic attempt to commit economic suicide has created a big spike in gold and silver prices. As I write this, gold is worth around $US970 per troy ounce, and silver's around $US19. As recently as 2000, gold was worth less than $US290 per troy ounce, and silver was around five bucks an ounce.

One troy ounce of copper, at the moment, is worth about 26 US cents.

Even if you've got a tonne of copper, it'll still be worth less than $US8500 at the moment. $US8500 worth of gold currently weighs six-tenths of a pound.

And yet... there are people selling "copper bullion". EBay's rotten with 'em at the moment.

I just did a "completed items" search for "copper bullion" on eBay, and turned up one 1055-gram bar that went for $US34.05 ex delivery (value at $3.85 per pound: $US8.97), a one-pound bar that went for $US18.51 (and is now worth, that's right, $US3.85), and an overstruck US copper penny (you could still see the ghost of "ONE CENT" and the Lincoln Memorial through the crudely-restruck eagle and "1/10 TROY OUNCE .950 COPPER"...), which sold for $US3.25.

If that penny was genuinely a tenth of a troy ounce - which sounds near enough - then the 95% copper content in it might actually be worth as much as 2.5 cents now.

And on it went. Before I got too depressed to go on, I found at least one successfully-sold "MASSIVE!! 3 KILOS .999 Fine Copper Bullion Bar/ Ingot"... for $US140 plus delivery.

It's worth $US25.46.

I did like the little ingots (available in copper and silver!) stamped with an image of Martha Mitchell holding a telephone, though.

Even if you decide to get in on the ground floor by buying a hundred of the one-troy-ounce "Australian Copper Bullion" ingots currently on offer on, what you've actually just bought is 6.86 pounds of copper, worth less than $US27.

As I write this, the eBay Buy It Now price for one of those packages of a hundred little ingots is $AU350 - about $US340 - plus delivery.

So even if the price of copper rises by a factor of ten, you won't have made your money back, unless you manage to find yourself a greater fool on whom to unload your zillions of little copper bookmarks.

I have a nice 25 by 15 by 250mm offcut of copper bar - I bought it from this seller, now on OZtion instead of eBay. It's great for demonstrating eddy-current magnetic braking, with a rare-earth magnet. But it weighs 827.5g, which is 26.6 troy ounces - ninety-three dollars and ten cents, at the $3.50-an-ounce "bullion" price!

I also bought a bunch of 3.5-inch copper boat nails a while ago. (Copper's used for boat nails because it won't corrode, and you can drive work-hardened copper nails through wood with no trouble; when I annealed one of the nails, though, I could bend it with ease.) I've given a few of the nails away, but have about 950 grams of 'em left, and I think they're quite pure copper.

The copper in the nails is worth only about eight bucks at the current spot price, and they cost me about forty Australian bucks delivered - but if I melted them down into fancy little ingots and sold them for $3.50 a troy ounce, they'd bring me well over a hundred dollars!

Heck, I've got a whole box of old CPU coolers, many of which have solid copper heat sinks! I'm a MILLIONAIRE!

(Oh, and I wrote the title for this page before I discovered that at least one eBay seller actually is selling "lead bullion". Oy.)

This scam's a weird one, though it's apparently been around for a while; Google for "copper bullion" and you'll find quite a lot of exceedingly dodgy Web sites trying to get you to buy the stuff. (One of the sites I found also linked to one of those "run your car on water" sites that always show up in the Google ads whenever I write about how you can't run your car on water.)

The scam would also appear to be quite well-known among people who spend a lot of time trading metals on eBay.

With any luck, this blog post will save at least one person from blowing their kids' university fund on vastly overpriced copper door-stops.

25 Responses to “Awesome .999 Fine Lead Bullion! In convenient "pipe" shape!”

  1. Roscoe Says:

    Actually "lead bullion" is used in the pyrometallurgical field to describe crude molten lead from smelting processes. (I've designed and commissioned lead smelting furnaces) I believe the term has been around a long time. I'd never really thought about it, but i wonder if it has to do with silver, which is often present in lead concentrates and collects in the lead metal, and then subsequently removed in a refinery...

  2. TimDurnan Says:

    One of your ads on this page (surprisingly, I didn't see a run-your-car-on-water ad):

    A few tasty highlights from the above link:
    * The date shows today's date.
    * Quote: "It's estimated that production in 2007 will fall short of demand by 120,000 before reverting to a surplus of 300,000 tons in 2008."
    * You can sign up for a newsletter that shows you how to make money off of this!
    * Quote: "Become a Gold World member today. It's free, and there's absolutely no obligation, ever. And don't forget to get rich this time!"

    Just lovely.


  3. MorePower Says:

    You misplaced the decimal for the overstruck penny value. The copper in it would be worth 2.5 cents, not 25 cents.

  4. Maverick Ronin Says:

    Here in the midwest USA rising metal prices are creating a new generation of metal thieves. I've seen local TV news reports about thieves striping construction sites of copper plumbing, riping out whole air conditioners for scrap, making off with catalytic converters, and even misappropriating beer kegs! At this rate I wonder what will be next.

  5. Mary415 Says:

    After reading this I was intrigued. I couldn’t believe there were so many “modern jackasses” (as the author puts it). But after educating myself on the facts I have come to the conclusion that the only “modern jackass” here is the author and the following is why...
    First the quoted “spot price” for copper is the best “recycling” price published on U.S. and world websites. This is the price for JUNK copper. What that consists of is old pipes, wiring, electric motors etc. Scrap copper is leftover unrefined copper that varies in purity that CAN be refined to pure .999 copper. Scrap prices are roughly half of their more refined counterpart! To believe you could actually purchase 99.9% Pure copper for “spot” price is ridiculous. Just contact any metals dealer and tell them you want to buy C110 grade copper (99.9% pure) bars and will only pay spot price. I suspect you will leave empty handed. If you don’t, please pass along the name of the dealer. I’ll take all they have!!!
    Second, he states that calling this stuff bullion is a contradiction of terms. So I looked it up. Following is the definition of “bullion” according to Bullion is the pure form of a precious metal such as gold, silver, copper, or platinum, from which coin metal alloys are made. The U.S. Gold Eagle is not really pure bullion; it is an alloy of 91.67% gold, 3% silver, and 5.33% copper, although the total amount of gold content weighs out to a solid ounce. The U.S. Silver Eagle and the U.S. Gold American Buffalo are both considered to be true bullion coins, since their alloy is at least 99.9% pure. By this definition 99.9% pure bars of copper are indeed “bullion”. To suggest otherwise merely spotlights your ignorance on the subject.

    The moral of the story is before you believe everything you read, educate yourself on the facts! Don’t just take the word of a “MODERN JACKASS”!!

  6. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I'm staggered at the honour Mary415 has paid me.

    There she is, one of the select few with the insight to realise that the per-pound spot price for copper should actually be the per-troy-ounce price, but she was still willing to take a moment out of her busy day of selling metal for 15 times what she paid for it to call me an idiot.

    My hat's off to you, Mary415! What a humanitarian! (Have you told the US government about this amazing discovery? I think they could use the cash.)

    All the rest of us were sitting here thinking that the metallurgically-pure copper that anybody can buy from an everyday metals merchant or seller of electrical cable was just as good as the blessed-by-a-genuine-licensed-eBay-dealer "bullion" bars. But Mary is ready to correct us.

    That's right, people - just because mass-spectrometer analysis can't find one per cent of impurities in a slab of copper is no reason to suppose that it's "bullion". The way you actually tell the difference is very simple:

    If you buy it cheaply, it's junk.

    If you pay ten to twenty times the spot price for it, it's bullion.

    That's all you need to know!

    Regrettably, until some dude on eBay polishes it up and whacks it with a stamp, no copper qualifies as Mary415-Approved Copper Bullion.

    But I'm given to understand that this level of official certification is fairly easy to achieve.

  7. Mary415 Says:

    I see now why you posted this in the first place.
    You simply assume you know what your talking about.

    You assume that I sell metal. I don't. You assume I think the per lb. spot price should be the per troy ounce price. I don't.
    The one thing you assumed that IS correct is that the pure copper you get from a metals dealer is the same as the bullion bars you can buy on eBay. It is! First thing you got right all day.
    As far as it being bullion is concerned, well, bullion is bullion. Whether it be gold, silver , platinum, or yes, even copper.
    The information I offered is just the facts. Quoted from very reliable sources. Not just the rantings of an ignorant asshole!!!!

  8. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Would you care to name any of your "reliable sources", Mary, or are you just going to continue to assert that there's some mystic bullion-grade copper out there that nobody else can find, and as a result I'm a son of a bitch?

    Yes, there are different grades of copper. Blister copper fresh out of the smelter is about 98% pure, but everyday refined industrial copper is often 99.95% or better. But the stuff being traded by the pound, if not the ton, is at the very worst not far from that quality.

    As I write this, the London Metal Exchange Copper Grade A contract is worth about $US4420 per tonne. At 2204.6 pounds per tonne, that's only two bucks a pound. (Base metal prices have taken a bit of a hammering since I first wrote this post.)

    The LME Contract Specification page tells you that these contracts are for "cathodes", which should clue you in to the fact that it's not mere blister copper - but don't worry, there's a handy-dandy Chemical Composition PDF right there on that same page that'll give you the precise details.

    And I quote: "Sum of elements listed in this table other than copper: 0.0065 max."

    So mainstream by-the-ton market copper is already at least 0.9935 pure. Most of it will actually be a little better, right up to the 99.95% industrial standard.

    Just showing us a place that tracks the value of by-the-ounce copper would, Mary, be a good start for you. Every metals exchange in the world has copper, but it's always right there in the Base Metals section, priced by the pound or ton.

    To aid you in your research, here's a heavy industrial supplier that'll cheerfully sell you a three-tonne coil of 99.99%-pure copper rod. E-mail 'em for a quote, or hunt through the numerous similar dealers to find one that lists prices online - tell us if you find anybody using the word "bullion" with a straight face - and then try to figure out why that copper costs so little more than the per-pound metals-exhange price, when it's an order of magnitude purer than three-nines gold.

    If you post any more comments that're just abuse, I'll delete them. Name your sources, or shut the hell up.

  9. Mary415 Says:

    Hi Dan, Im back. I think your missing my whole point here.
    We could beat the bullion issue to death all day and get nowhere. I say any copper material with a purity of 99.9% pure or better is copper bullion. You say I'm wrong. Fair enough, your entitled to your own opinion. So am I. I offer the definition of bullion as defined by And I quote " Bullion is the pure form of a precious metal such as gold, silver, copper, or platinum, from which coin metal alloys are made. The U.S. Gold Eagle is not really pure bullion; it is an alloy of 91.67% gold, 3% silver, and 5.33% copper, although the total amount of gold content weighs out to a solid ounce. The U.S. Silver Eagle and the U.S. Gold American Buffalo are both considered to be true bullion coins, since their alloy is at least 99.9% pure. " You can look it up yourself. I'll simply let others decide for themselves.

    Industrial grade copper comes in many forms and grades. Few of which would qualify to actually be called bullion by this definition. But, there are two.
    1. C11000 ETP copper. 99.9% pure. Basically used for electric buss bar applications and available in bar form.
    2.C10100 Oxygen free copper. 99.99% Pure. Same basic uses as C11000 but has higher conductivity as is used in specialized applications.
    Just for the hell of it I contacted a couple industrial suppliers and requested a quote.
    I asked for a quote for a piece of C11000 copper buss bar, 2" X 2" square and 12" long. A piece this size would weigh approx. 16 lbs. and be very similar in size and shape to some of the bullion seen offered for sale on eBay.
    The first place quoted me a price of $8.76 per lb. The second $8.62 per lb. One was located in Houston, Tx. and the other in Decatur , Tn. It seems this price is fairly consistant nationwide. That was today, and like you said, the metals market has taken a beating lately. Precious and base metals alike. What would the price per Lb. have been 2 months ago?
    Its like I said, the published price per lb. quoted on such sites as is the best "scrap price". Scrap , by anyones definition, consists of old pipes, wiring, electric motors etc. Scrap copper is leftover unrefined copper that varies in purity that CAN be refined to pure .999 copper.
    Copper refing is very costly and hence the difference in price.
    Even the copper cathodes you refered to on the LME must be further processed into a usable product. Again, very costly.
    Only a copper producing mill would have the resources necessary to process such cathodes into a usable form. So basically, the LME price doesn't mean diddly squat to your average consumer.
    So you see Dan, there is no big scam. It is simply impossible to buy pure, bullion quality copper for spot price. In any form. Thats my point!!!!!
    Some experts beleive, that at the present consumption rate, world supplies of copper will be depleted within 60 years.
    Investors beleive copper will reach precious metal status long before the copper runs out, driving the price through the roof. This may or may not be true. It is merely speculation. But thats what investing is all about, isn't it? Any of this info is available on the web if you look.

    You know maybe you should stash a few hundred pounds away for a rainy day. You never know, you or children might just thank me.

  10. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Copper cathodes are already quite pure enough to be drawn into wires, or rolled into sheet, or used for many other purposes. Few companies that buy them need to refine them any further.

    If your argument depends on someone on who reckons you can call coin-copper alloys "bullion", I really must insist that this does not change the accepted definition of the word, which covers precious metals only. I suppose that in the minting business "bullion" may be a jargon term that applies to any input metal, even steel or zinc, but in the investment world, which is what everybody but you is talking about here, even nine whole dollars a pound doesn't make copper a "precious metal".

    The exact argument you're using could be used to argue for "bullion" versions of any other metal, or nonmetal for that matter. Just because it is possible to buy a high-purity substance that costs more than the bulk-traded substance does not mean that copper, lead, iron, zinc, uranium, silicon or hydrogen are in any meaningful way "bullion".

    And since you seem to agree with me that everybody who's actually selling "copper bullion" is a scam artist, I don't know why you're belabouring this tiny corner of the definition.

  11. Mary415 Says:

    Oh, on the contrary. I never said I agreed they are scam artists, quite the opposite! I fail to see how referring to 99.9% pure copper as "bullion" amounts to a "scam". I said "let each person decide for themselves". eBay is basically an auction website. Most listings are auctions. They list an item and people bid. In an auction the "buyer" decides the fair market value. Not the seller. True?

    If someone wishes to pay to have someone cut, shape, mark and polish a piece of pure copper for them, so it resembles a bullion bar, how is that a scam????

    Are they selling 99.9% pure copper? Of course!! They wouldn’t be selling for long on eBay if they weren’t. If it was something other than pure copper and they claimed it was, that would be a “scam”.

    Is it a good investment? I don’t know. I guess only time will tell, as with any “investment”. Is it a “scam” to for them to suggest it is? No, because all investments are based on “speculation”.

    Is it correct to call it bullion? Maybe, maybe not. Is it a scam to do so? I think not.
    In fact, the U.S. government declared pure copper as legal bullion by an act of congress. So I’m pretty sure that the U.S. Government has been informed that pure copper is indeed “bullion”.

    True, cathodes are quite pure enough, BUT, I checked with the sellers you suggested, where you can buy 200 Lb. cathodes at spot price. You can. But the catch is, you must order a minimum of 500 metric tons at roughly $6,000 per ton. That is over $3 million dollars worth of copper, not including what it would cost to ship that amount of material from Africa or South America which is where these companies are located. It is the manufacturing of the cathode into a product that makes up the difference in “spot price” over “refined price”, not necessarily the refining.

    In fact, by my calculations of what you can buy the refined product for and what the sellers on eBay are selling it for, I’m not seeing a “scam” or even a large markup. It appears to me they are charging reasonable prices for their services to finish the product into a “bullion bar”. That’s it! Not some huge markup like you are claiming. Just simple business dynamics.

    The point I am trying to make here is that an ordinary individual CANNOT PURCHASE 99.9% PURE REFINED COPPER FOR “SPOT PRICE”! Therefore, there is NO “scam”!!! Do the research and find out for yourself. That’s what I did.

  12. Daniel Rutter Says:

    1: There is no market for "copper bullion". Nobody trades it professionally; just these small retail dealers on eBay and such. Copper is simply not traded by the ounce. The only people buying it that way are suckers on eBay. Base-metal markets move billions, if not trillions, of dollars a day; the total market for "copper bullion" appears to be a couple of hundred dollars a day, tops.

    (This also means that there's nobody making sure that the metal on sale even is 99.9%-pure copper, not that that's a particularly rare substance anyway. Who's ever going to check?)

    2: There is nothing special about the copper the eBay sellers are offering that makes it worth anything like whay they charge. Three-nines copper is widely available on the industrial market, sold by the pound or even tonne.

    As I write this, copper "bullion" has been selling on eBay for around forty Australian dollars for five tiny one-ounce bars; that's about $US26.60, right now. The current spot price for copper is less than two US dollars per pound. So even if you have to pay nine dollars a pound to get three-nines copper in relatively small lots from a metals dealer, the eBay price is still about 8.5 times what the metal is actually worth.

    If the bullion bars cost nine bucks a pound then that price could, as you say, arguably be justified. But the eBay dealers are actually charging well over a hundred US dollars a pound.

    There is no realistic prospect that the price of copper will increase enough for a purchase at this price to be considered an "investment" in even the next decade, and exactly the same substance can currently be purchased much more cheaply, as you yourself say, from normal metals dealers.

    Polishing and stamping copper does not make it worth 8.5 times as much. Neither does the US government's jargon term for copper to be used to make coins have any impact on the value of even that copper, which eBay-bought copper isn't anyway.

    3: Yes, people should be free to buy whatever they like on eBay, or anywhere else, for whatever price they're willing to pay. If, however, they're buying an "investment" which is less likely to turn a profit than a similar amount invested in lottery tickets, I see no reason why I shouldn't be allowed to point this fact out.

    If you want to invest in copper, go to a metals dealer and buy a slab of 0.999 copper you can barely lift for a couple of hundred bucks. Or, to avoid the hernia risk and get something you can easily sell, just buy shares in a copper exchange-traded fund.

    Nobody who knows about these options, and their far lower price, could possibly want to buy the "bullion" bars instead. It's like buying a 15-year-old Toyota Corolla for $50,000. I think that's a pretty good definition of a scam, since you ask; anybody who discovers the truth after buying some of the "bullion" would be entirely justified in feeling that they'd been ripped off.

    The only way anybody will be able to unload "copper bullion" bars at anything like these outrageous purchase prices is by finding a greater fool. The market for Magic: The Gathering cards or Beanie Babies is orders of magnitude more liquid than the "copper bullion" market.

    I now consider this matter closed, Mary. You've made your case, such as it is, and I've taken far too much time out of my day replying to you. I will delete any further comments from you which merely reiterate your commitment to the Objectivist approach to consumer protection.

  13. liquified56 Says:

    Whos the modern jackass now that many of the top refineries and trade sites started offering copper BULLION.. looks to me like the sellers on ebay just forecasted better than most.

  14. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I'm sure we're all waiting with bated breath for evidence to support this claim. Whenever you're ready.

    (Back in the real world, base-metal prices have been dribbling downward along with everything else. As I write this, the spot price for copper's been down around $US1.50 a pound for some months.)

  15. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Oh, and gold, in contrast, has stayed high, as it usually does when the world seems to be going to heck in a barbed-wire canoe. The current spot price for gold is approaching a thousand dollars per ounce.

    So enough copper to equal the value of one troy ounce of gold would weigh about 626 pounds, or 284 kilograms.

  16. JB Says:

    I don't buy copper "bullion" however I am a silver and gold bullion investor. In the bullion community there is, in fact, at least one person who hoards copper just like the rest of us hoard silver and gold. AND it's not as wacky as you might think! The current melt value of US$1 worth of pre1982 US copper pennies is $1.89. If my math is correct that's 89% profit! Pennies were made of 95% copper until 1982. As a result of the amount of copper in a penny being worth more than one cent, pre-1982 pennies are disappearing from circulation. There's one guy I know that has TONS of copper pennies hoarded away. Storage is a consideration, and technically I think it is illegal to melt them down, but I think it's perhaps because of penny hoarding that copper is now seen to be an investment metal. People buy sorting machines to sort out the copper pennies so that they can hoard them. As a result, it's becoming harder and harder for it to be worthwhile to sort pennies, since most of the copper ones are in someone's hoard already by now. Of course buying copper bullion on Ebay can be considered ridiculous- but even silver sometimes goes for what I consider to be ridiculous markups on Ebay. All bullion hoarding is based (at least partially) on the idea that if a currency crashes, it's best to have your money in something other than paper. By this standard, copper certainly qualifies.

  17. ProfessorRico Says:

    I agree with Mary, and while I partially agree with some of what Daniel says, he's a really rude jackass. Who cares about ounces, and ebay scammers who sell the bars? The point I think Mary was trying to make was that recyclers pay for copper scrap, usually at spot. That's why people steal spools a wire from construction sites. It's why people take old radiators to get scrapped.

    Danny just keeps asking for web-source links and insisting that because people sell copper for inflated prices on the bay, then the whole thing must be crap. Then he screams about calling Mary's comments "abuse". C'mon. Grow up.

    I am researching this, and have found that buying it for even double spot right now could be an investment. The people you take it to for resale (besides ebay?) are the recyclers, who pay spot. If spot grows to double or even ten times what you paid for it, then it's a good investment.

    China is sucking up all of the copper it can, as the economy there grows. We're seeing economic events that have never happened before, worldwide. Including the possible return to a metal-based currency, as the US dollar faces collapse.

    If I get ten pounds of copper from the bay for $6 a one pound bar, and the price rises astronomically in the next few years...then I suppose we won't see Danny give his tirades about it anymore.

  18. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I'll take a moment out of my screaming rudeness to address your concerns, Rico.

    This post was about people selling "copper bullion", by the ounce, for absurdly inflated prices. Which they are still doing.

    Of course copper has value. Of course there is a thriving market for copper scrap. Copper just doesn't have anything remotely like the value these scam artists straight-facedly put on it.

    Mary's claim was that there was something special about the "bullion" copper that made it worth ten or more times spot price. I asked her to support this claim. She was unable to do so.

    If you want to buy a huge slab of copper as an investment, go right ahead. It may indeed appreciate greatly.

    Just don't buy your copper from people who pretend it is a bullion metal, with a real by-the-ounce market.

    If I get ten pounds of copper from the bay for $6 a one pound bar, and the price rises astronomically in the next few years...then I suppose we won't see Danny give his tirades about it anymore.

    Some of the eBay "bullion" dealers currently offer one-pound bars. The cheapest Buy-It-Now ones can, as you say, now be had for less than seven US dollars ex delivery, which is only about twice the current spot price for copper.

    You could indeed possibly turn a profit on those. You'd do even better if you just lowballed the actual auctions for the bars until you managed to get one for a decent price. I contend that this is only likely to result in a profit if you value your time at zero, but I enjoy bargain-hunting as much as the next compulsive eBayer, so it could easily count as entertainment.

    If you were buying ten bars then you'd want to find a dealer who offers bulk postage discounts, though. The cheaper ones don't seem to. This makes the actual price, even for ten bars, more than $US10 per unit for the Buy-It-Nows, which I contend moves this product back up into the "clearly a scam" category.

    And it's easy to find one-pound bars that cost way more than this. You can pay more than $20 per bar if you're dumb enough.

    Or you can, instead, buy your copper in the form of 95%-copper pre-1982 US pennies, ten pounds of which can be yours, delivered, for less than $US40. There's someone selling sixty pounds of those pennies for $US170.99 delivered at the moment; that's 57 pounds of copper for three bucks a pound.

    The going rate for one-ounce "copper bullion" bars is currently $US10, at least. Hell, there are eBayers offering quarter-ounce copper "bullion coins" for that same price.

    So obviously you shouldn't buy those.

    Because it is, as I said, a scam.

  19. ProfessorRico Says:

    That was a surprisingly lucid reply, but it's like complaining that people on ebay are selling stuff for exorbitant prices. No Duh. People sell silver plated coins that look just like real silver coins for the same price or more than the real ones. Stuff happens.

    I thought the point of the thread was that copper was not an investment metal, and that people are getting ripped off buying it. That's what I got from it, anyway.

    I found a pound slab on the bay for 6.95 with free shipping. I found another guy selling bulk for $5 a pound with free shipping, if you order 10 or more. I do agree that storage could be a problem, if one were to really want to "bunker down" on some copper. Pretty silly.

    There was a lot that Mary said that you wanted sources for, but I didn't understand the hostility.

  20. Daniel Rutter Says:

    Well, it could have come from Mary starting out by calling me an uneducated, I'm sorry, UNEDUCATED IDIOT, later promoting me to "ignorant asshole". So, yeah, I was kind of irritated, and told her to knock off the name-calling and make an actual argument, if she had one.

    Then you said you agreed with her, and called me a "rude jackass", and now it turns out that this was because you were upset about something I hadn't actually said.

    So... yeah.

  21. ProfessorRico Says:

    She was mocking your title with the Idiot line.

    Man, the stuff you said is right here, in the thread! wth? I called it like I saw it, and maintain my stand that you are a rude jackass.

    Whatever. Do you even read the posts, or just skim them and retort with nonsense? This is like arguing with a ten year old.

  22. JamesMillerBand Says:

    copper...some of the animosity may cloud some basic truth.....
    1. open a bank account and deposit $20 in that account.
    2. then take $20 and buy some copper bullion from the ebay sites you are referring to.
    3. in 5 years time, you will know quite clearly which was a better place to store your earnings.

    it is true that the LME/COMEX per pound price of copper (approx. $4/lb.) is a reflection of purchasing TONS of raw unrefined copper of varying purity.
    a long ton, a short ton, or a tonne.
    this means you would have to account for delivery, warehousing, security, insurance and be willing to secure funds of $8,000-$10,000 per ton.
    you can NOT buy 16 oz. of .999 copper for $4/lb. ANYWHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    (i worked in the medical gas industry and laid copper pipes in dozens of facilities.)
    the spot price of copper is based on the avoirdupois pound of 16 oz. which is very different from the troy pound. you can easily research the difference between the two with google.
    you do raise a good point with why there is such a markup on the copper bullion.

    -you can not use paper money or digital currency to:
    a: conduct electricity
    b: pump water to your sink
    c: pump oxygen to your body while under surgery.
    d: pump blood sucked out of your body while under surgery.
    e: make landline phone calls.
    f: pump a wide variety of high pressure gasses
    however , copper can achieve these feats and then some.

    aside from the reasons above:
    - inflation. the dollar is weakening by the day. copper is not.
    - copper bullion is an emerging business.
    - there is a decent supply of it online, but where else can you get copper bullion, walmart? nope.
    - copper bullion is smelted, minted, assayed, relief stamped, uncirculated, and very inexpensive compared to it's silver and gold counterparts.
    - purchase a smelting facility, then try to sell ANY metal bullion for "the spot price" while making a profit, paying your employees, health, dental and fire insurance, lawyers and accountants, and paying off the interest on the loans you needed to buy the smelting facility in the first place.
    that may help you understand why there is a "mark-up" or premium on the price of copper bullion.
    while i agree that before investing any money into any venture one should research thoroughly, i also agree with taking a chance. i have not purchased any copper bullion, but i have purchased tons of copper. and i have made plenty of money selling, "working", fixing, delivering or installing that copper....
    if anyone is looking for a get rich quick scheme, i would suggest something other than copper bullion. it stands to reason that if copper is your "thing", investing in copper mines would be a much better strategy to see profits.

    i enjoyed reading, thank you
    - James Miller (yes, from the James Miller Band)

  23. Daniel Rutter Says:

    1. open a bank account and deposit $20 in that account.

    OK. I'm in Australia, but let's run this calculation for US dollars, because I presume that's what you're talking about.

    2. then take $20 and buy some copper bullion from the ebay sites you are referring to.

    OK. I now own one pound of allegedly-.999 copper. (Which, from one of the less outrageous US dealers on, actualy costs $17.99 plus $5 shipping, but let's be generous and say it was only $20 total.)

    3. in 5 years time, you will know quite clearly which was a better place to store your earnings.

    Given the lousy state of the US dollar and its lack of any great immediate-future prospects, $US20 put in a US bank today might, ignoring fees and the trivial interest that small deposits earn, have $15 worth of buying power in five years. Maybe only $10, if things really go to hell.

    So if, five years from now, I can find someone willing to buy a pound of allegedly-.999 copper for an amount of dollars with buying power more than $20 now, I'll be a winner.

    But since there is, I feel compelled to repeat, no real copper bullion market beyond these dodgy online traders, this will leave me searching for a greater fool. I might as well have invested in Beanie Babies.

    Or, of course, I could just buy however many pre-1982 95%-copper US pennies my $20 would get. Here, as I write this, is a thousand of them for thirty bucks delivered. Let's say they're all so well-circulated that they only weigh 3 instead of their mint 3.1 gram mass; a thousand 3-gram 95%-copper pennies gives 2.85 kilos of copper, 6.28 pounds of it.

    So I can buy more than six pounds of government-guaranteed copper for $30 delivered, or I can buy one pound of "bullion" copper that some dude says is pure for more than $20...

    Seriously, it's as simple as that. This "bullion" is stupidly overpriced, and there is no real liquid market for it.

    If you've got a bee in your bonnet about copper, either buy a slab from a bulk metals dealer, or get yourself a sack of whatever your local high-copper coins are, because there really is at least a somewhat liquid small-scale market for those.

    Or enjoy spending the rest of your natural life trying to find a "bullion" dealer with prices anywhere near as good.

    the spot price of copper is based on the avoirdupois pound of 16 oz. which is very different from the troy pound. you can easily research the difference between the two with google.

    Uh, yes; one of my major points is that base metals are sold by the "ordinary" pound, and applying troy measurements to them is silly.

    I think you may not have read my post, and all this interminable blather below it, as thoroughly as you think.

  24. Jax184 Says:

    The level of incomprehension, rudeness and frank stupidity in the comments left here is most concerning. I had assumed that your readership was better than this.

    I work in computer recycling. I spent the last 3 and a half years with Free Geek Vancouver, and now I'm working with a place called The Hackery. We know a thing or two about the value of copper.

    Even doing it on an industrial scale we're not making much off of the stuff. Gold is by far the bigger concern.

    Consider Intel heatsinks from the late P4 era on up. They have a beautifully machined slug of high purity copper in the base. If I had to pull a number out of my ass I'd say 5-6 ounces of the stuff. We get a couple bucks each for them. But nevermind that. I'm prepared to offer a special one time only price to the above commenters of only $20!! Just send it via paypal and we'll be happy to mail you one. We'll even print out a certificate of authenticity on our dot matrix printer.

    Seriously, what is with these people? Nobody would argue that it was a great deal to buy gold at $9000 an ounce when the going rate is $1800. No one with a firm grasp on sanity would say how they were sitting on a fortune by snapping up rolls of toilet paper for $30 each. What makes copper any different?

    Just because something might one day have more value doesn't mean you should pay 5 times the going rate for it NOW. The whole idea of investing is to buy low and sell high. Not buy astronomically high and then pray that the price somehow gets even higher. That's just lunacy.

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