As the price of metal continues to rise, metals have become valuable commodities in today’s economy. Scrapping or recycling those metals could be a good choice to earn you some extra income. If you’ve got a decent amount hanging around on your property, you may be wondering what it’s worth.
Brass is widely considered a useful and valuable metal. It’s used in a wide range of commercial and household products. So, is brass worth anything?
Whilst the value largely depends on the type, the price of brass per pound ranges from $1.25-$2.00 when scrapped or recycled.
How Much Is Scrap Brass Worth?
The price of brass depends on certain factors, with the main one being how in-demand the metal is at the time. Brass prices are also affected by the type of brass and the condition.
Here is a summary table showing the different types of brass and how much you could earn if you decide to sell them:
Brass Prices Chart
|Type||Price Per Pound||Price Per Ounce||Price Per Ton|
With the price of brass depending on the market at the time and the demand, these prices can fluctuate a lot. However, these are good estimates.
If you sell your brass to a scrapyard or recycling firm, they charge less than the market value. This is due to them doing most of the secondary work – they have to melt the metal down and refine it before selling it.
Some scrap centers offer fixed rates, whilst others may let you haggle the price.
When compared to other metals, brass is considered a mid-level material at scrap yards. Whilst brass is more expensive than steel and aluminum, it’s less valuable than bronze and copper.
Brass is usually classified in two ways – scrap and antique brass. Scrap brass comes from junk and old items such as boat components. If found in large quantities, it can be sold at a big price.
Antique brass is usually sold to collectors at a much higher value, purely because collectors will pay higher prices. Items such as jewelry and art sculptures are common examples of brass antiques.
What is Brass?
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, mixed in different quantities to achieve different properties. It is widely considered a valuable metal and is used for everything from ammunition shells to fine art sculptures.
It’s called ‘non-ferrous’ as it has no iron in it, unlike other metals such as steel. Brass is known to be highly conductible, resistant to corrosion, and has a fairly low melting point. For these reasons, it’s pretty useful and well-suited for several different electrical, mechanical, and decorative purposes.
Here is a list of everyday objects made from brass:
- Musical Instruments (Trumpets, trombones, horns)
- Vehicle Radiators
- Ammunition Casings
- Plumbing Fixtures
- Railings and Handles
- Light Fittings and Switches
Types of Brass
Brass comes in many different varieties depending on the type of metal it’s made from. The three main types are red, yellow, and leaded yellow brass.
Red brass is made of copper, zinc, and tin. It contains between 15-25% zinc and has a pinkish-red tint due to it’s copper content. Red brass is more expensive than yellow brass due to the high concentration of copper. The price usually depends on the amount of other contaminated metals such as steel and lead, with steel fetching a higher price.
Red brass is mainly found in plumbing fixtures, values, and old water meters.
Yellow brass is the most common type of scrap brass. It contains copper, zinc, tin, and lead in trace amounts. The higher amounts of zinc give it a yellowish color and it’s less expensive than red brass due to the lower copper content.
Yellow brass is one of the most commonly used brass types, found in plumbing fixtures, pipe fittings, and decorative pieces.
Leaded Yellow Brass
Leaded yellow brass contains copper, zinc, and lead. The lower lead content makes it more malleable compared to the other brass types.
It’s usually used in electrical components such as motors that contain bushings and bearings made from metal alloys such as aluminum wheels, cans, and tin cans.
Factors Affecting the Value of Brass
The scrap price of brass is dependent on several factors:
This is usually the most important factor determining the value. The quality of the metal means the amount of contaminating metals mixed in and the corrosion or residue the metal is covered in.
The higher these components are, the more time the scrap yard needs to spend cleaning the brass, therefore lowering the price.
As with selling most things, larger amounts mean better prices. If you sell a bigger amount to a scrap yard, they will usually give you a bigger price.
If the scrapyard can take in bigger amounts in one transaction, this also saves them money meaning both of you benefit.
Supply and demand
This is quite self-explanatory. The laws of supply and demand apply to pretty much every industry, including scrap metal. If the supply of brass at the time of you selling is bigger than the demand for it, you will get a smaller price than at a time when the demand is higher.
If brass is in short supply and the demand is high, which it most likely always will be due to its unique properties, then you’ll be able to sell it for a higher price.
Make sure to keep checking the market and decide if you want to hold onto your brass until a time when the price is high.
Interest also plays a decent role in the end price. If you have multiple scrap yards or recycling centers nearby, the price will likely be driven higher as they compete to buy it, as long as the supply isn’t too high.
Time of year
The time of year is a factor that can affect brass prices quite considerably. With warmer weather, the construction and automotive industries are usually busier meaning the demand for metals such as brass rises. Colder, winter weather is usually the time when industries slow down, decreasing the price as the demand is lower.
How to Check if You Have Brass
As I mentioned earlier, the two different brass alloys are yellow and reddish. Brass can easily be confused with bronze, meaning it’s a good idea to check if you have brass before taking it in to sell.
In terms of visual appearance, brass can be identified through its shiny appearance with a slightly red tinge. If you have any pumps, valves, pipes, bearings, and ornamental castings in your house, they are most likely made from brass.
To confirm that the metal is brass, you can perform the magnet test. As brass is non-ferrous, meaning it doesn’t contain iron, placing a magnet closer to it won’t cause the metal to attract.
How to Recycle Brass Efficiently
Brass is relatively common meaning it’s fairly easy to find and accumulate decent amounts before recycling or scrapping it. Before starting, make sure to wear protective clothing including gloves and glasses.
Before scrapping the brass, follow these steps to make the process much easier and more convenient:
Sort the brass
First, start by sorting the brass out into different categories. Sort the brass according to size, with brass radiators left to scrap separately. This is because some places won’t take brass radiators due to them being hard to break down.
Make sure to separate dead brass ammunition shells. These scrap at a lower price than other brass objects, so separating them ensures the scrap yard will pay the correct price for your other brass items.
Get rid of contaminants
Once your brass is sorted, make sure to get rid of contaminants. These are anything that’s not brass, such as glass, plastic, wood, and other metals.
The idea behind organizing the brass and removing the contaminants is to limit the amount of post-sale work and make sure you fetch the correct price for the brass. Scrap yards will pay for the lowest price metal if you give them a mixture.
Lastly, give the brass a clean. This doesn’t have to be a deep clean – you just need to make sure that any paint or dirt is removed before selling it. The scrap yard will pay more for the brass if it’s clean and free of dirt.
Why Does Brass Make a Good Scrap Metal?
As brass is so common, it’s very easy to find and build up in large amounts over time. Whilst metals such as silver and steel fetch higher prices, quality doesn’t always beat quantity.
Besides cashing in on a decent payday, scrapping brass has many other benefits.
Scrapping the brass means it is going to be reused and won’t go straight to landfill. It also means new brass won’t need to be manufactured, which creates harmful emissions. Both these reasons make recycling or scrapping the brass much better for the environment.
Scrapping or recycling the brass also makes much more sense economically. The process of mining and manufacturing new brass is labor-intensive and usually costs more. Recycling the brass can be done at a fraction of the cost and helps both you and the buyer.
Brass is a great metal to recycle due to its durability. Unlike other metals, it doesn’t break down or lose any of its properties during the recycling process. Brass can be melted and used for other functions with little issue.
Summary – Is Brass Worth Anything?
Brass is considered a mid-level material at scrap yards and can be worth approximately $1.25-$2.00 per pound when recycled or scrapped. The actual value of the brass depends on the market conditions, supply and demand, the composition of the brass, and the condition. Solid brass is also worth significantly more than brass-plated metal.
Brass can be classified into two categories which are scrap brass and antique brass. Antique brass is worth more purely because collectors will pay higher prices and it tends to be better quality.
Before recycling, make sure to organize the brass, remove any contaminants and clean it. Recycling or scrapping brass is always the best option, as it gives you some extra money and helps the environment.
Where can I sell brass?
Whilst scrap brass is usually sold to salvage yards or recycling companies, more valuable brass can be sold to a pawn shop. It’s always a good idea to shop around and check prices with different scrap and recycling centers and compare them to the prices offered by pawn shops.
How much is large commercial scrap brass worth?
Large commercial scrap brass items include boat parts and marine equipment. Scrapping it at the right deals can earn you a few thousand to several thousand dollars depending on the size and metal quality.
If you have a large unit or amount, make sure to get it inspected before putting in work to sort it out for selling. Expects will be able to give you an estimated value so you can decide if it’s worth it.
Can brass rust?
Metals like brass, copper, bronze, and aluminum don’t rust due to the negligible amount of iron in them. Therefore, no iron oxide (rust) can form.
How do you melt brass?
To melt brass, it needs to be placed in a metal melting furnace that can reach 1,100 degrees. The furnace also needs to be able to withstand that amount of heat. Most brass will melt at a lower temperature, but this makes the brass much easier to pour.