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As a scrapper, you should look for the value in things deemed worthless. The artistry of scrapping is knowing where the value is hidden, and how to find it. To most people, copper seems to be the way to make money; “The money in scrap comes from the copper” says they. Well methinks differently. I have a newfound obsession with nickel. Nickel, Ni, atomic number 28 is a wonderful metal. It is found most commonly as an ingredient in high grades of stainless steel, in superalloys, and magnetic shields. The point is, its a damn useful metal thats just as important as copper, and lucky for us scrappers, much more valuable.
Nickel spot prices are currently hovering around 10 dollars per pound. Thats 3 times as much as copper.
Thats wonderful, you think, but what is the scrap price. Well thats just it. Scrap nickel is a hard thing to come buy and people dont recycle it often.
A scrap metal network is structured as such. You bring metal to a yard. The yard buys from you and everybody else. The yard sorts and stores large quantities of specific metals. The yard sells these large quantities to the largest bidder, usually refineries, or sometimes a second middle man, who then sells to refineries. For a scrap yard to pay you a good price for nickel, they need to have good connections to sell the bulk nickel.  Because people don’t bring in nickel scrap often, the scrap yards don’t have current prices, or very good connections for that matter, to sell their bulk nickel scrap.
Near me, this happens to be the case. I happened upon some nickel alloys and thought I would sell them, but most of the yards near me would only buy them as a relatively low grade stainless steel. After I called around, I got to talking to the manager of a yard that had a decent connection in the nickel refining market. He called his guy, and then called me to offer me $5 a pound for my alloy. Now weather I was getting a good deal or not, I don’t know; but I tell you what, it was much better than the 2.55 per pound for copper I have been getting.
So, with a bit of luck, skill, and reverse engineering, maybe you can find some nickel and make a pretty penny….Sorry.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous February 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm

I have been scrapping for about 6 months now. But I have a hard time telling the metals apart. I usually have to ask someone around me what they are. So do you have any helpfull tips on being able to identify nickel? or any other metals for that mater? I do cary a magnent and that helps some.


Derrick Headen February 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Hi, I love the fact that their are still some good people in the World willing to inform others on how to make a honest and good living. I have been in the scrap business since April of last year, I do alright but I know I can do better. I am trying to find out what is nickel or has alot of nickel in it so I will stop getting ripped off. If you can help I really would appreciate it.


blogcoach July 6, 2012 at 2:26 am

I would also welcome help in identifying the nickel in metals. Thanks for this invaluable site.


Mirlaziz Saidov July 12, 2012 at 6:53 am

Hi, am doing sale of non ferrous metals including scrape.
have about 60MT of Nickel scrap with the total content of nickel 10%.
Besides, I sell, secondary aluminum, zinc and brass

If anybody interested to purchase or sell, please let me know



aaron October 3, 2012 at 1:59 am

i have a bunch of round solid nickel spools. i am looking to sell them. What would you offer me a pound


anthony kingston September 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Mirlaziz im interested.


Necole November 19, 2012 at 7:45 pm

I just found this website and love it! What years were Nickels had from real nickel? Thanks in advanced.


ScrapMetalJunkie November 20, 2012 at 10:24 am

Nickels are still made of real nickel! But they are only 25% nickel, and 75% copper! In Canada, they previously made their 5ยข pieces from pure nickel!


necole November 20, 2012 at 10:32 am

Then what would be reasoning for collecting older Nickels? I seen a guy at gas station sorting nickels, I assumed the metal had changed. Maybe he was looking for buffalo nickels or something.


ScrapMetalJunkie November 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Was this in Canada? In the USA, the nickels made in 1942-1945 were made of 35% silver because of the war effort. Or maybe he was looking for buffalo nickels.


john September 4, 2013 at 7:17 am

i have bunch of blanke keys what is it worth


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