As far as precious metals go, copper is one of the least sought after. It is worth only a fraction of the value of gold and silver by weight and has high premiums. With all that should you be purchasing silver?
Is copper a good long term purchase? Probably not. Buying copper is very speculative, if you are buying rounds of copper, you are paying almost double the spot price for each troy ounce of copper.
In order to make a profit, you would need a large enough copper shortage for the copper price to rise past the premium you paid and net a profit.
Here are the pros and cons of purchasing copper.
Pro: Cheaper By Weight.
For the current price of gold at $1,815 an ounce, for one troy ounce of gold, you could buy about 1,406 troy ounces of copper bullion. That’s 96 pounds of copper!
Con: High Premiums.
The cheapest copper rounds are currently trading for about $1.29 an ounce. The actual spot price of copper is 23 cents. That means you are paying 5.6x more per ounce!
Compare that to gold, which currently has a premium of about 10% per ounce. If copper had the same relative premiums as gold, an ounce of copper would cost about 26 cents!
Pro: Great for Sampling Rounds.
If you are interested in buying an expensive silver or gold round, but aren’t sure about how the design will look in person, buying a copper round may be a good way to test how you feel about the design.
It is certainly cheaper to spend a few dollars on copper rounds to look at designs than to buy silver rounds and decide you don’t like them. Keep in mind that copper can tarnish faster and has less shine than silver and gold.
Con: Weird Copper Smell.
I was excited when I bought my first copper round to have a dense piece of metal to twiddle around my hands as I sat at my desk. What I did not account for was the infamous copper smell.
Copper has a very distinct scent that sticks to hands easily. If you like to touch your metal, copper is not a good precious metal for handling.
Pro: Better for Displaying.
Copper can be better for displaying because it is less valuable. You can leave a 10 oz bar of copper out as decoration and know that you spent less than $15 on it. If a thief mistook your copper for a more valuable metal you would be out very little money compared to the risk of displaying gold and silver.
Of course, the con here is that copper is not as attractive. Guests probably wouldn’t be interested in a regular copper bar unless it is particularly large or has an especially intricate design.
Con: Not as Dense.
Here is a comparison of the densities of copper, silver, and gold.
- Copper: 8.96 g/cm^3
- Silver: 10.49 g/cm^3
- Gold: 19.3 g/cm^3
Holding an ounce of silver or gold has the initial wow factor where it is heavier than you expect. Copper, however, is only a bit heavier than steel.
Of course, you can buy a huge amount of copper for cheaper than a large amount of silver/gold, but remember, you will still have to pay high premiums.
If you are interested in investing in copper, it may be more in your advantage to look for pre 1982 pennies which are made of 95% copper and 5% zinc. The benefit is that you are technically already making a profit in copper by having a 1982 penny.
95% Copper Pennies (Price Per Pound)
from: Money Metals Exchange
Unfortunately, it is currently illegal to melt down pennies for their metal content. That means you will either need to sit on the pennies and hope the law changes, or sell the pennies to someone else who is hoarding pennies in hopes that the penny melting law changes.
Do you buy copper bullion? Share a comment with your tips and tricks! And, as always, vote in our poll below!
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4 thoughts on “Should You Buy Copper Bars and Rounds?”
I’ve thought of buying a few of these copper rounds as novelties, but yeah, aside from that, I wouldn’t have any interest. I have been collecting copper pennies though as you suggest — it costs nothing to do that anyway, so why not?
I wonder how much longer we’ll be minting pennies anyway. I’ve heard there’s some kind of zinc-mining lobby with some influence in DC that keeps it going.
I have one 5 oz copper round I bought as a novelty. Not as big as I imagined it would be though. 😦
I’ve been thinking I might as well start hoarding copper pennies, but I’m not sure it’s worth it for the amount of space they would take up.
Haha, another lobby controlling seemingly mundane things in the US? How predictable. I’ll have to look into that, that’s really interesting.
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“Almost double spot price”? More like 600% over. It’s going for 25 to 30 bucks per pound at the exchanges such as MMX and its competitors.
It takes about 18 pounds of copper to make a car and and about 183 pounds to make an EV. Need I say more?