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Old 08-29-2013, 11:06 PM   #1
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Copper & nickel

Anyone else setting aside the pre '83 pennies and any nickels? The pennies aren't hard for me, I have a few small bucketfuls so far, but the nickels I am not as good at keeping, especially since it's come down so much the last couple years. These could be potentially a viable form of smaller currency in a post SHTF world. I also think that even keeping rolls of copper wire, tubing could be very valuable in that situation. People would be trying to cobble together things to get them to work and might need some extra wire for a car/machine or tubing to tap a water source or make a still. Setting aside the pennies is really easy as after you weed out the copper and roll up the other stuff, you are probably only setting aside a few dollars a month. The nickels go into machines too easy & when the kids want a buck or two to go to the store and get a treat or I send them for something small, it's just too easy to grab the change out of the jar without weeding out nickels. Am I the only one, and is it showing just how cheap and/or paranoid I am?
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:41 AM   #2
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I had a nice collection of pennies a few years ago, but I traded them in at a bank and used the paper equivalent to buy some silver.

I have not started collecting scrap/junk for potential metal salvage. I don't really have any room for it here in suburbia.
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:33 AM   #3
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I stock copper in all forms, from 100's of lbs wire (all sizes from #40 to 0000) to pipe to flashing to bars. Even the zinc pennies are valuable, and the zinc easy to extract as well. I just like copper. Nickels I never really got into, but I also have a junkyard full of stainless steel...the main use of it - mostly to make things out of in the shop, for my research. The coin alloy isn't that useful.

Of course, these metals normally command higher prices when things are going good - it's a bull, not a bear, bet, though sure, if things get really bad - as you say, people might need some for repairs. I might myself, and that's one more worry put to bed.

I also stock tool steel, aluminum, titanium, rare plastics (yes, there are some exotics that are pricey) glass alloys and quartz forms, and so on, just as normal for the needs of a research shop - or repairs on things.

In my 'hood, most are farmers and woodworkers (fancy stuff like musical instruments etc). I'm the guy with the machine shop and every welder known to man, so I'm in demand even in good times, for special tools, fixing big farm implements, and suchlike. Seemed like the way to go vs competing with experts at wood and farming.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:44 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by DCFusor View Post:

In my 'hood, most are farmers and woodworkers (fancy stuff like musical instruments etc). I'm the guy with the machine shop and every welder known to man, so I'm in demand even in good times, for special tools, fixing big farm implements, and suchlike. Seemed like the way to go vs competing with experts at wood and farming.
Sounds like my old man, he's a retired iron worker, but he was good at almost all kinds of construction/repairs/fabrication etc. Growing up I always had access to welders, torches, band saws, chop saws, presses, drill presses, lathes etc. It sucked when he moved out of state, now it's tough and/or expensive to fix stuff or make things from scratch that I have an idea for.
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:22 AM   #5
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While my old man was into making things (like audio amps), we only had hand tools to do it with, and steel chassis (Al wasn't cheap yet, nor were the available alloys easy to work - too soft and "grabby"). We were kind of poor then, and my dad didn't believe you could sharpen a drill (indeed, still somewhat of an art) and never bought any unless one broke. So all our big, hard to break drills were dull as could be - might take half an hour to drill through .030 steel with a 3/8" bit.

I got into the machine shop deal as a sort of over-reaction to having spent a life of designing things that were either non-physical (proprietary embedded software), secret, or so well hidden that there was nothing I could point out to anyone and say "I did that". Perhaps I went overboard, but I'm liking it now, and having the choice - it's not like I still don't have a rather large computer setup and many machines on my internal network as well as a complete electronics shop - down to making my own printed circuit boards without even leaving the room I designed them in. I do fun things with both. As soon as this outdoor construction is over, I have a job for my own lab that involves boring a 1 foot long Boron Nitride bar with a 1/4" hole that has to be centered well all through. And then step turning on my lathe - as some goes inside a piece of pyrex tubing (which isn't quite round, I will heat shrink the pyrex to get a better fit to the lathe cut part). This is for my fusor, allowing me to run it hotter and higher voltages where even the vacuum isn't as good an insulator (and a very rotten heat conductor) in the practical sense. Even a mirror smooth copper feedthrough rod has enough little spikes on it to get field emission of electrons, which heat the "point" to the point of evaporating some copper - and now it's not a vacuum there and you get arcs though the pyrex that shatter it - not good in a vacuum system that uses a 933 rps (~56,000 rpm) turbo pump that has tight clearances in it - Drop some solid into that turbine and BOOM - it has about as much mech energy stored in the rotor as a Buick going highway speeds and can cause real injury - as well as not being exactly cheap to replace (10's of K$).

The raw BN stock cost 578 bucks. You can guess I'm going to be real careful machining it. It's not a lot stronger than graphite...easy to cut, but easy to break. The stuff is so slippery (it's often called white graphite) I can't just clamp it into the tank with a compressed O ring, so the need for the pyrex. It's not super airtight either (it's hydrostatically compressed BN powder). Can't really paint it with something airtight - or deposit metal on it, nothing sticks to this stuff very well.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:17 AM   #6
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I had a ton of nickels. I sold them and bought silver.









Originally Posted by PMBug View Post:
I had a nice collection of pennies a few years ago, but I traded them in at a bank and used the paper equivalent to buy some silver.

I have not started collecting scrap/junk for potential metal salvage. I don't really have any room for it here in suburbia.
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:37 PM   #7
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...

I keep nickels and pre-1982 pennies as well, but just separate them from my change. Up to 3/4 gallon of nickels and 1.2 liters of Cu pennies. Even if the $-values are very low.

It helps give me a sense of thriftiness that I might not otherwise be reminded of in my daily routines...

"Cheap and paranoid is good."

And of course I have the PMs.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:18 AM   #8
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The scrap value of nickels right now is a bit below face, so I could see trading them in for silver if you have enough to get at least a couple oz's of it. The pennies on the other hand, even with copper down where it is now the pennies are over double face value, so no way I'm taking them in.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by DoChenRollingBearing View Post:
...

I keep nickels and pre-1982 pennies as well
And of course I have the PMs.
the '82 pennies come in both flavors. You can tell the difference by weighing them. I always separate the 82's into a separate pile, then when I get enough I'll weigh them. I also still separate wheaties into a separate pile, my dad had me doing that as a kid, so I guess some habits are hard to break. One nice thing about having my kids like to help me though is it's a lot easier for them. I go through and pre-sort any wheaties, lincoln memorial, and the new shield ones. Then the wheaties go into their jar, the shields go into the jar for rolling, and then the munchkins sort out the remaining into 3 piles 81 & older, 82's and newer than 82. They are always anxious to get the new ones rolled, cause I usually just let them have the rolls to buy toys/treats.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:24 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by 11C1P View Post:
The scrap value of nickels right now is a bit below face, so I could see trading them in for silver if you have enough to get at least a couple oz's of it. The pennies on the other hand, even with copper down where it is now the pennies are over double face value, so no way I'm taking them in.
need ten tons?
http://coincollectingenterprises.com/copper-penny-sale

I remember reading somewhere that nickles would be traded as bullion in a SHTF situation, but the cost of the electricity needed to separate the metals made actual refining unreasonable. Don't know if thats true, maybe someone here can sing out...
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:37 AM   #11
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I think there's no telling what people would use for money if fiat fails, to be honest. Probably whatever seems to work in a given community. With a large fraction of total sales going online and money transferred as bits - you're talking a pretty wild ride if that system crashes anyway.

I already do a BIG fraction of my exchanges as barter in some form. I am able to do this because I have tons of "you name it" stuff, and so do the pretty well-off people I trade locally with - it's rarely a problem to figure out that either side has something the other wants in that case - be it "stuff" or labor or skills. Haven't used any or my PMs for trades thus far.

People not well off in any of those things - stuff, housing, skills, labor, health - they're going to be hosed almost no matter what, IMO.

And yes, it's expensive to get an alloy back into the component metals, generally speaking, there are only rare exceptions. I wouldn't expect the price of electricity or heat to go down in a TSHTF kind of world.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:43 AM   #12
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In some sort of post-apocalyptic SHTF rome has fallen type world, I would agree that there is no way to know for sure what will become the favored currency, and I would expect barter would be one of the most popular forms of trade, that has never really gone away, just that paper money has been used to represent everything from labor, gold, silver, crops, etc. While I do think we're headed down hill, I don't foresee the world looking like something out of mad-max either. I think that as the bloated bureaucracies start to fall under the crush of their own weight, people will not use or trust paper money for quite some time and that PM's will start to be used fairly quickly as they always have been along with barter for goods/services. I am always amazed at people who talk (brag) about how much they have in their 401K's & savings accounts. I am equally impressed with monpoly money. I will occasionally ask them about what they will do if the banks fail and if they thought about putting more of it in actual physical PM's. They look at me like I have snakes crawling out my nose. Some of the responses I get, I have to fight to keep from laughing, and some people actually get upset. These are the people that would get hit hard, not so just because they lose so much they have earned, but the shock and inability to even comprehend what has happened will paralyze many of them and leave them ill equipped to function in the new economy. Then again, maybe the mad max world is coming, but I've got plenty of ammo for that situation too.
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Old 09-04-2013, 11:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Jay View Post:
need ten tons?
http://coincollectingenterprises.com/copper-penny-sale
Hopefully I can get there naturally TYVM.
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:13 AM   #14
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I am a hoarder when it comes to things like this. I save all coins in a pre- fashion.
silver pre 1964
copper pre 1983
and so on.
If SHTF I believe gold and silver will still hold value, as it has for thousands of years.
I have socks full of coins seperated by date, socks of wheat pennies, old dimes, old quarters, old half dollars. etc. old collectors gold plated coins. I'm planning on cashing in at the right time to buy more silver and gold, bullion.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:10 AM   #15
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I'm back and forth between saving copper pennies because they're just pennies, but it's against my character to get rid of them at half their value, so I'm saving them for now. I have to think they'll be phased out eventually. At that point I've read they'll be legal to melt. Also after a currency collapse, they will be legitimate small change, right?
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:05 PM   #16
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Copper is an outstanding item to save/store/stock in my opinion. When we demolish structures, especially industrial scale facilities, we pull out cable by the truck-load. I have a shipping container that I keep full of #1 insulated cable and wire so we have a little bit of an invisible cash reserve. Some years, we use the sale of our copper to entirely fund Christmas bonuses and our office party, and usually still have some left over. I probably have four or five hundred pounds of nicely coiled up wire of every gauge imaginable, from 50 pair phone wire right up to large medium voltage [600v] cable from distribution systems. When TSHTF, I am certain that it will come in quite handy. in fact, i would actually like to triple the amount I have, with an emphasis on stuff from #6 on down, as it will be useful in making repairs to residential electrical infrastructure from the panel on back. I do have some of the really big stuff, but I'm not really qualified to do very much with it as regards any kind of medium voltage installations. We do have one other member that i know of who has that expertise, and for all i know, he might even have a stash of wire rivaling mine.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:21 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by gold getter View Post:
I am a hoarder when it comes to things like this. I save all coins in a pre- fashion.
silver pre 1964
copper pre 1983
and so on.
If SHTF I believe gold and silver will still hold value, as it has for thousands of years.
I have socks full of coins seperated by date, socks of wheat pennies, old dimes, old quarters, old half dollars. etc. old collectors gold plated coins. I'm planning on cashing in at the right time to buy more silver and gold, bullion.

If you don't want your 64 quarters & dimes, I'll take them off your hands.
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Last edited by 11C1P; 09-15-2013 at 03:23 AM.
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