Copper: Part I The new currency.

Jack H Barnes's picture

I don’t know if you have noticed what I
have, but lately it appears that people are using Copper as a poor mans
currency.  I started to notice during the crash of 2008, that copper was
being sold in a .999 pure bullion.  The photo attached is for a single
troy oz of “Fine Copper”.  The list price for this copper, as is, was 12
dollars.  Think about that for a moment.

Copper sells for about $4 per pound in the
futures market.  The contract size is for 25,000 pounds, and it costs
$250 dollars per penny when quoting copper, the December forward month
is currently quoted at 400.60 pennies, for a total cash cost of $100,150
per contract.

I dont know about you, but I would love to
have a business where my future cost of inventory was 27 cents per oz,
and after some remarketing costs, I am able to charge $10 to $12 per oz.

Check out this google link to Copper Bullion for sale
It’s not just the 1 oz bars, people are now selling copper bullion in
kilo bars, coins, rounds and pretty much anything else they can make it
look like a legitimate currency.

The ironic aspect to this, is that if the
rumored one world currency is deployed, and it has in it, physical
commodities like copper, you can expect an increase in crime to break
out. If people started to look up at power-lines and instead of seeing a
few pennies per pound in realized value at a junk shop, instead becomes
thousands of future World Dollars, we will have problems.

Utilities, which are already heading
underground will have to be moved there even quicker, and the deployment
of new communications like WiMax will be necessary. The era of cell
phones, and 4G internet, will end the need for copper to be installed in
homes going forward.  The Net will always be there, and why leave your
phone at home wired to the desk?

In simple terms, we are close to turning a
point in the technology curve, where the value of the copper in the old
POTS (plain old telephone system) is more valuable torn out of the
walls, than left in them.  Consider that for a moment.  Now, think about
how easily accessible to anyone this stuff is.  Savaging will greatly
outweight the cost of trying to find job’s for our chronically

The streets are currently lined with money
hanging from wood poles.  When you think about buried fiber optics,
WiMax and Cell phones, the question becomes why do we have all of this
copper in the walls, buried under the yard, etc.

Ironically, copper is already one of the
most owned metals, due to its usage in home building.  It could be
argued that it is already distributed to the masses, and as such could
be considered a currency already.

A buyer of an abandoned house in today’s
economy *already* has to make sure that it still has its copper in the
walls.  It takes very little effort in the big picture, to strip out
hundreds or thousands of pounds of copper from an abandoned home or

If Copper becomes part of the next global
currency, the world will have a new crime wave.  The only difference, is
that it will be based on a physical commodity changing hands, or at
least represented in the exchange.  While there is not enough Gold in
the world, or Silver in the world to act as the physical basis of a
currency, there is enough Copper.

Is that enough of a reason to develop it into an international currency? What say you?

Disclosure: Jack Barnes has no exposure to Copper, or any companies listed in this article.  This disclosure and others are available at

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TheInterest's picture

Here's what happens when you mess with copper and power lines:


iota's picture

What's extra fucked is the bottom pic the guys skin has a copper tone.

Praetor's picture

Colloidal copper ingestion?

gwar5's picture

Maybe the JP Morgue is cornering the copper market so they can debase silver and gold bullion with it like the Romans used to do.

iota's picture

But hasn't that already been done? The copper and silver currency in the monetary systems of the world ceased to be copper or silver some time ago.

Dimeboy's picture

Before they got shut down and arrested last year on trumped up counterfeighting charges, I picked up a few tubes of the Silver AND COPPER Liberty Dollars - very nice 1 oz bullion coins in both metals. There are about 50 variations and they are quite collectable now. I can easily see myself using a copper dollar coin for modest purchases in the near future.  The Liberty Dollar founder was the head of the Hawaiian Mint at one point.  Too smart for TPTB's liking. Made the mistake of putting the word "dollar" on his first strikes.

kreso's picture

JP Morgan is about to get squeezed in silver contracts. To avoid this, JP Morgan is trying to corner copper market. Good work Barnes, you're not JP Morgan shill?

Bastiat's picture

"JP Morgan is about to get squeezed in silver contracts. To avoid this, JP Morgan is trying to corner copper market."

Yep--first we got the unaudited diversions known as SLV and GLD.  Now we get the bald-faced copper mis-direction.  Desperation.



Sofa King's picture

I just heard that Fromunda cheese is the next currency!

How about the next currency is what the Cartel tells you it is going to be and guess what, even if you have it...they will tax the shit out of it when you try to convert it, so you'll still be broke ass. And don't give me any of that Black Market nonsense, the folks running the show were the same guys running the Black Market so good luck with all of that.

Drag Racer's picture

I think the OP probably has some stock in something tied to copper and wants to create some demand or maybe he is just worried about JPM cornering copper at the LME and opening a copper vault... who knows.


All I know is copper has been used as currency for longer than we have been alive and theft of copper items for scrap value has been around for a while as well. In the mid 90s I managed a scrap yard and copper scrap always had to be looked at closely to check whether it was 'HOT'.

minus dog's picture

"If Copper becomes part of the next global currency, the world will have a new crime wave."

This is a giant, 20-foot tall flashing sign telling us that the author is, like more than a few ZH'ers, living a sheltered life.

Copper theft has been a huge problem for years.  Tweakers, bums, illegals, will strip a structure faster then you'd think possible.   Pipes, wires, A/C coils, bus bars, anything that can be sold for scrap.  You can make thousands of dollars a night doing this with little effort, and anyone saying otherwise doesn't know what the fuck they're talking about.

If you leave a building unguarded for more than a few days, the locusts will come and strip it.  I've seen places lose $50,000 worth of copper in a single night.

This is, coincidentally, why it is so damn hard to get power working in places like Iraq or Afghanistan... people keep stealing the power lines.

buzlightening's picture

We have no honest money standard!! Paper dollar fiat currency is a ship without a rudder!  The only standard we have to measure the U.S. is a morally bankrupt/corrupt system!! You better have your personal morals anchored or you'll get blown away when the dollar becomes a hiss & bye-word!!  All men die and so will the dollar they invented to rob the masses!!  Lets return to an honest monetary standard!!  1st the pain!!  I know it burns as an oven but how else we goon-a separate the wheat from the chaff!!  Burn baby burn!!  You keep anything as a monetary store of value in this beastly system you'll die financially along with the paper ponzi goonzi's who proliferated the psycho babble of it all!!  Paper has value!!  Who are viper squids kidding!!

Goldilocks's picture

Anything that gets mines / trade ramped up again ... be it copper, silver, gold whatever ... will be death to the ponzi in the long run ... they will be essentially shooting themselves in the head. This story may be true (desperation), but it is a non-starter from their money / currency perspective.

pragmatic hobo's picture

if copper is new currency, then does that make Jamie Dimon  our new central banker?


Mercury's picture

  It takes very little effort in the big picture, to strip out hundreds or thousands of pounds of copper from an abandoned home or factory.

Pipes are one thing but unless you're willing to hunch over and strip away plastic insulation like a meth addict for hours on end, I don't think most wire would be worth the trouble.

Bagbalm's picture

Most folks burn wire insulation off - nasty toxic smoke too if you don't get the fire really hot.

Big Corked Boots's picture


A burn barrel doesn't get hot enough. Ask me how I know.

delacroix's picture

little effort my ass. the labor value far outweighs the metal value. it takes tools time, and sweat, not to mention it's a crime

Thanatos's picture

Guess that depends on what you think your time and sweat is worth.

When you have nothing, and no hope of getting anything but more nothing, you can rationalize all sorts of behaviour.

Crime is going on 24/7/365, with most of the serious stuff occurring in DC and on Wall St.

It being a crime isn't going to deter a hungry scavenger, I see it all the time.

UP4Liberty's picture

There is enough gold and silver to restore "sound" money to our monetary system.  If the decision was to go with gold, the price of gold would probably to over $50,000.00 per ounce to account for all fiat paper US dollars.  See this link:

If the decision was made to "leverage" gold for all fiat paper US dollars at a 10 - 1 ratio, then the price of gold could go over $5,000.00 per ounce.

Personally, I'd like to see a monetary standard based upon constitutional weights and measures, and everyone - corporations, governments, individuals could all work within the same monetary reality.

Goldilocks's picture

Indeed, equal weights & measurement ... doesn't give fraud much wiggle room (a ponzi’s worst nightmare).

DosZap's picture

If gold goes up a factor of ten, some people are "richer",

No, the fiat toilet paper is DEBAUCHED.

Golds intrinsic value never changes.

Its the same value now as 3000yrs ago.Its the crap SHEEPLE call money that is causing the prices to go up.

Before we can ever start calling Gold a bubble, it must go ABOVE the Inflation adjusted high of '80, a lot higher.( In my Honest opinion).

Irwin Fletcher's picture

New currency? Besides pennies and nickels here, you can find plenty of copper currency on ebay in the form of pirate booty.

ddtuttle's picture

Copper is an essential commodity used in all kinds of electric and electronic devices, not to mention plumbing. We NEED to consume this stuff to keep everything going. Making money out of it is a total waste. Besides, every time you "save" a big pile of copper money, it needs to go into some new piece of equipment.

In contrast, consider gold, which is not a commodity in the same sense. Gold is useless, only tiny amounts get used in industrial processes. It's great talent is for doing absolutely nothing. It doesn't even oxidize like copper and silver. It just sits there preserving its value year after year, century after century. Some people think its pretty, and make jewelry out of it, but every one of those people knows exactly how much gold is in their jewelry, and what it's worth. In other words, gold jewelry is just bullion you can wear.

Now, notice that gold can have any price without disrupting anything. If gold goes up a factor of ten, some people are "richer", but that's it. No industries shut down, there is not a huge crime wave, because gold isn't used for anything nobody (except thieves) cares if you keep it in a vault. So as money changes value, as it always does, gold's price can fluctuate accordingly to always reflect its intrinsic value.

On the other hand, if copper goes up a factor of 10, whole industries are shut down, this formerly useful metal is too valuable to use. In part because it will get stolen, but also because nobody can afford it for day to day uses. It's value is ruining its utility, and interfering with true social needs.

Of course, copper will always be valuable, but it's just not a good form of money. Gold on the other hand is perfect for money, which is why IT HAS BEEN USED AS MONEY FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS. People that came before us weren't stupid, they knew all this and used gold for money and copper for its utility. Life is about getting stuff done. Let the commodities do their job of serving humanity; and let gold do what it does best, NOTHING.

Let gold serve humanity as money, let copper conduct electricity.

BTW: Silver has acquired so many industrial uses that it has moved into the copper category; its now a commodity. In the past gold was so valuable, we needed silver to make coins with a value corresponding to day to day transactions. However, we now have computers that could manage a gold standard in milligrams per millisecond. So silver may not be needed as a monetary metal.

Sudden Debt's picture

If copper would ever go balistic and reach 100$ oz, I'll tear out the wiring from my walls :)

For the rest, I'm not going to buy that. Those bars are way overprices, and copper is only 4$ a oz. Pilling those makes your house look like a metal shop.

Bastiat's picture

The Blythe sez: Buy copper bullion, bitchez

onlooker's picture

Copper/brass theft of lines and cable, and A/C units has been a problem for at least 4 years. These are dopers not collectors. They also steal anything else they can haul off.


Copper at an estate sale, bankruptcy, or garage sale bought cheap is good, if you have a place to store it. Solid or wire is easier to store than tubular.


If you want to buy retail, go to a metal yard or scrap yard.


Watch the chart and buy dips. However, if the World economy comes to a halt, who will want of have a need for copper.

I Am The Unknown Comic's picture

yeah, we're already using copper as currency, and it's called the nickel....the new poor man's 6 cent piece!

DosZap's picture

Copper became way too expensive, that why we have pennies that are worthLESS.

Want to buy a coke for free, everytime you stop at a 7-11, Stop N Go, etc,etc, check the drive.

You can pick up 10-20 cents in pennies and dimes.

People throw them away.

Fix It Again Timmy's picture

Copper as money, interesting thought - who knows what will happen when the Ho She Bang blows...

Bastiat's picture

LOL!  The people hung von Gortz over the near worthless copper Dalers. 

Bastiat's picture

Baron von Gortz sez:  Bang Dae Ho!


Mark Medinnus's picture

No wonder Santa's so jolly.  Bangin Dae Ho Ho Ho will a white Christmas make.   

Bearster's picture

True money has many characteristics, one of them being its ratio of stocks (inventories) to flows (mine production).

For gold, it's 80 years.  For silver, on the order of 40-50 years.

Copper, anyone?  Months I believe.  This means that every ounce of copper bought is bought to be consumed as wires, pipes, circuit board traces, and whatever else copper is used for.  Attempt to accumulate it, or "corner" it at your own risk.

RockyRacoon's picture

Good stuff, thanks for bringing it up.  It's vital to a full understanding:

Stock to Flow Ratio

The Stock-to-Flow Ratio is the ratio of the amount of available inventory to the amount of annual consumption.

There have been some 160,000 tonnes of gold mined in history (by most estimates) versus, say, 2400 tonnes produced annually.  Gold’s Stock-to-Flow Ratio would be 66.67:1 using these numbers.  There is one ounce of gold produced for every 66.67 ounces already above ground and hoarded.

Gold has the highest stock to flow ratio of any commodity which makes it ideal for use as money.   Gold is accumulated.  Other commodities are consumed. 

Most commodities have Stock-to-Flow Ratios measured in days, weeks, or months (oil, corn).   Silver’s ratio is  ~1.5:1.  There are some one billion ounces in world inventory and some 667 million ounces mined annually, all of which is consumed (and then some).

Gold’s Ratio is rising.  Silver’s is falling.  Every year there is more gold added to world stockpiles.  Every year the world uses more silver than is mined.  The excess must come from inventory.  Silver inventory had been declining for decades.  The situation in gold can continue forever.  The situation in silver cannot.

Hook Line and Sphincter's picture

Once all the meth-heads abscond with all the copper wire, and there's no way to transport electricity of the kinetic variety, maybe we'll all get the magnifying transmitters we've had on our Christmas lists.

Mark Medinnus's picture

Thoughtful article.  Thanks

Steroid's picture

Two comments:

1) For a commodity to work as money it needs to have a high stock to flow ratio. Gold has it around hundred, silver has it around ten. Copper is close to one. If copper was used as money, although it can not produce hyperinflation, inflation would peak around 100%, this thing would be inflated almost like paper currently.

2) The US can not afford even a zinc standard does it mean that all things will be stolen?

Bastiat's picture

A pre-64 dime is the poor man's silver.


DosZap's picture

Prems are too damn high on US silver coins.

Bastiat's picture

Junk silver -- circulated pre-64 coins -- is some of the cheapest bullion you can buy.

RockyRacoon's picture

Not to be picky, but that would be pre-1965 since 1964 was the last silver year, except for a batch of 40% silver coinage after 1964 that's too much trouble to keep track of.

bania's picture

Copper is the poor man's silver

Bastiat's picture

The JP Morgue and The BenBernank would LOVE to divert J6P into copper--and away from silver.

jedimarkus's picture

I still think the best way to own copper is to own copper jacketed ammo....

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

There you have it, you can eat copper.