Scrap Brass Prices per Pound, Ounce, Ton (Yellow Brass, Red Brass, etc)

Brass, a hard alloy of copper and zinc, is one of many metals that can be sold for scrap. If you have any locks, gears, musical instruments, ammunition, or other brass items, you can generally get between one and two dollars per pound for your items at the scrapyard. Antique brass can be worth even more if sold to a collector or antique dealer. Below, we have all of the details of where to find brass, how to identify it, how much it’s worth, and where you can sell it.

In This Article

Where Can You Find Brass?

Brass is a metal alloy. In layman’s terms, that means brass is a mixture of metals. Copper is rather soft on its own, but combining copper with zinc creates brass, which is harder than pure iron. Not only is brass harder than either pure copper or pure iron, but it stands up to harsh weather conditions better than iron.

Up until the eighteenth century, working with zinc was difficult because it boils at a lower temperature than the temperature required for smelting. Nonetheless, some ancient civilizations figured out ways to make brass, such as melting copper with calamine ore, which contained zinc. At high temperatures, the zinc in the calamine ore vaporized, infusing the copper and creating brass.

Since brass has been around for a long time, you’ll find it in all sorts of places. Today, lots of common items are made with brass, including:

  • Locks
  • Gears
  • Bearings
  • Ammunition
  • Shell casings
  • Valves
  • Plumbing
  • Electronics
  • Musical instruments

Outside of its practical functions, brass is sometimes used solely because of its bright, attractive appearance for buttons, light fixtures, doorknobs, sculptures, and other decorative artworks.

You can also find brass in many antique items. Generally speaking, antique brass refers to items at least 100 years old. eBay offers an extensive reference guide for antique brass, which is a valuable resource for sellers or buyers. Popular antique brass items include:

  • Chandeliers
  • Candleholders
  • Figurines and statues
  • Bowls
  • Platters and trays
  • Vases
  • Jewelry
  • Nautical equipment
  • Fireplace accessories
  • Clocks and pocket watches

How to Identify Brass

Brass is usually yellow and might be labeled as brass, bronze (this would be mislabeled — bronze and brass aren’t the same), or copper alloy. While all brass is a mixture of copper and zinc, many types contain smaller amounts of additional metals. Copper gives the brass a red color, while zinc makes it yellow. So, if your brass is yellow, it has more zinc — probably between 20 and 40%. The more zinc in the brass, the yellower the color; the more copper there is, the redder the brass will be.

Commonly, you’ll hear brass referred to by its color. To give you a better understanding of these color terms, we’ve listed some of the most common brass alloys. (Metal percentages are approximate.)

  • Yellow brass: Includes 70/30 brass, cartridge brass, UNS Alloy C26000, and more. These yellow-colored-brasses usually contain 30-40% zinc and 60-70% copper. They’re the most common.
  • Red Brass: Includes C23000, gunmetal, and more. These are alloys with more than 85% copper, giving them a red color. They sometimes include tin and lead in addition to copper and zinc.
  • Free cutting brass / Alloy C-360: A leaded type of yellow brass, and the most common type of yellow brass.
  • Naval brass: Brasses alloyed from copper, zinc, and a small amount of tin, used primarily for boats and other tools that will be exposed to water. The tin helps prevent corrosion in water. Naval brass is usually a yellow brass.
  • High tensile brass / high strength yellow brass: Another yellow brass, this type contains around 70% copper, 29% zinc, and 1% manganese, aluminum, or iron. The manganese, aluminum, or iron strengthens the brass, making it useful for items that undergo a lot of pressure. Brass with manganese is used to make dollar coins in the U.S.

Some items that look like brass aren’t solid brass but are plated with a thin layer of brass on the outside for appearances’ sake. It’s important to identify whether your item is made of solid brass because solid brass items are worth much more than brass plated items. You can check for this using a magnet. The magnet will not adhere to an item made of solid brass, while it will adhere to brass plate (assuming the metal underneath is magnetic).

Another means for identifying brass plate is scratching the object. A shiny yellow scratch usually means the item is solid brass, whereas a silvery scratch means it is made of some other metal beneath the plate.

How Much Is Brass Worth?

As a Scrap Metal

Several factors affect brass prices, including the world economic market. Because copper is such a large component of brass, changes in copper prices affect the price of brass. In recent years, copper reached its lowest price ($1.29) in December 2008 and its highest price ($4.54) in February 2011.

Another consideration in determining the price of brass is the quality and purity of the metal. The vast majority of brass sold in the U.S. is recycled brass, but there are always concerns about inadvertent contamination of scrap brass with other metals such as steel, tin, and iron. Contamination can affect both the machineability (the ease with which material can be cut) and the strength of brass.

As of November 2018, the brass prices (sourced from the Scrap Register midwest price indices) were:

  • Yellow brass:
    • $0.13 per ounce
    • $2.10 per pound
    • $4,200 per ton
  • Mix red brass:
    • $0.14 per ounce
    • $2.21 per pound
    • $4,400 per ton
  • Mix yellow brass borings:
    • $0.13 per ounce
    • $2.05 per pound
    • $4,100 per ton
  • Brass radiators:
    • $0.13 per ounce
    • $2.00 per pound
    • $4,000 per ton
  • Iron brass radiators:
    • $0.09 per ounce
    • $1.47 per pound
    • $2,940 per ton

Since scrap prices fluctuate daily and can vary significantly from month to month, it’s also useful to look at longer-term price trends. The yearly averages for 2018, calculated based on Scrap Monster’s data, were:

  • Yellow brass: $1.53 per pound
  • Red brass: $1.68 per pound
  • Rod borings: $1.48 per pound
  • Brass radiators: $1.31 per pound
  • Iron brass radiators: $0.63 per pound

Brass is a mid-level commodity at metal scrapyards: it’s worth more than aluminum or steel, but less than copper. To get the best price for your brass scrap, make sure it’s clean before you take it to the scrapyard. If possible pre-sort it by type.

As noted above, brass prices can vary daily, even at local scrapyards. Comparing prices at local yards requires a phone call or two, or if they’re posted, checking out the current rates on the scrapyard websites.

Besides some side income, selling your brass for scrap is also a great way to reuse and recycle brass. Recycling brass is a win-win — you get some side income, its good for the environment because it means there’s less need to mine, and it means lower prices for consumers buying brass products.

As an Item

Sometimes the value of an object depends less upon the metal used to make it and more upon design features and artistic value. If your brass item is in good condition, it might be worth more sold for what it is than scrapped. Check sites like eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and Craigslist for similar items so that you can estimate what yours is worth.

Antique brass items are even more valuable. Depending on the rarity and condition of the item, antique brass can demand substantial prices that far exceed those for scrap. However, be wary of items that just look old. Telltale signs of fake antique brass items include:

  • Statues attached to a base
  • Metal tags and plates
  • Signatures of unknown artists or deliberately unreadable signatures
  • Powder-like debris or dried paste in recessed areas

Any of these may indicate that a would-be antique is actually rather new, and far less valuable than the legitimate item.

Where to Sell Brass

Most scrapyards will gladly pay for brass, though they’ll prefer receiving large or bulk lots of metal instead of a few small pieces. Metals in bulk are more valuable to scrapyards because they can get more money per pound than with smaller, individual pieces.

Payment procedures for scrap brass may vary from state to state. In most states, you’ll be paid by check or money order, not cash, for brass (and for all other non-ferrous metals). Many states require that the scrapyard ask you to see an ID, and some states may implement a holding period of two days or more after the sale is made before issuing payment. The delay is part of an effort to reduce the sale of stolen items. As with any transaction, ask the buyer questions and make sure you understand the process so you have a clear expectation of how the sale will work. Check your state’s scrap metal laws ahead of time, so you’re prepared.

If selling to a scrapyard doesn’t appeal to you, or if you don’t have one near your town, there are other options for selling brass. You can find local metal or antique collectors who’ll be interested in your items. Try sites like eBay, Craigslist, and local Facebook buy and sell groups to find local buyers. Keep shipping costs in mind if you choose to sell somewhere that’s not local — brass is heavy, so shipping can get pricey.

In Summary

Depending on form, age, and condition, the value of brass per pound is typically worth more than aluminum or steel, but less than pure copper. Solid brass is worth significantly more than brass plate. Before you sell your brass items for scrap, make sure you’re not letting go of a valuable antique that could be worth much more. Scrap brass prices pale in comparison to the value of many brass antiques. Prices for brass fluctuate daily, so it’s hard to say just how much the brass in your garage or attic is worth — but with a little research and the resources in this article, there are plenty of opportunities to make some money with your old brass items.

Suggested Next Article: This Is How Much Various Common Metals Are Worth

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27 comments

  • Please, my name is Frank from Ghana. We have yellow brass bars and would want to know if there is a special weighing machine for it. They are very heavy though. Also, we don’t know where to sell it here in Ghana. They were left by our fore, fore fathers.

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Frank,

      There’s no special scale for weighing brass. Use whatever scale is available to you and fits the bars that you have. You might need to convert the unit of weight to the unit of weight brass is sold by. Over here, it’d be by pound, but you’ll probably sell by the gram or kilogram. As for where in Ghana to sell it, we can’t help with such location specific requests because of the volume of comments we get. I’d recommend looking on local buy/sell groups or websites to see if there is anything comparable for sale. Or, if you have local scrap yards or recyclers that accept brass, inquire with them to find out the going rate.

  • Name* (displayed publicly) says:

    Solid Brass head board,bought in 70’s very heavy. When scratched it is yellow and magnet won’t stick to it.how much is this worth?

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Wanda,

      You’ll have to weigh it to figure out how much its worth. Scrap yellow brass is currently at $1.75 per pound, and might go for a little less at your local scrap yard.

      A lot of the time, if these old brass objects are in good condition they can be worth more sold for what they are, rather than for scrap. You can compare antique brass headboards on eBay to get an idea what yours might be worth. My search brought up several listed for over $200. You could also contact a local antique dealer for an estimate, see our article on finding a local antique dealer for help on finding an antique dealer.

  • Lola Moberg says:

    I have a solid brass Blo Poke fireplace accessory.
    It is 46 inches long and purchased in 1983 for $45.00.
    Can you please give me advice in how to sell it?
    Thank you!

  • Kay Seabolt says:

    WE have several old brass Basketball trophys from 1917 through 1959 -what would that brass be worth.

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Kay,

      There are a few different types of brass, so you first you’ll have to identify which kind the trophies are. Right now yellow brass, for example, is worth about $1.75 per pound, so weigh your trophies and multiply by the per pound value to estimate what they’re worth. The price can vary a bit by where in the country you are, so you can get a more accurate price by contacting local scrap yards.

  • Kathy Rau says:

    Hi there I have 3 solid brass weights that are used for holding down heavy fabric for sewing. I have a 4 pounder a 10 pounder and a 25 pounder. Can you give me a rough estimate as to how much I’m looking at ? or should I try to sell it on Ebay or an antique store. Any information that you can give me would be appreciative.

    Thank you

    • Laura Bachmann says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Kathy,

      The first question you need to answer is what kind of brass you have because this will affect the scrap price. There’s about 50 cents difference between the cheapest, iron brass, and the most expensive, red brass. Let’s assume you’ll get a mid-range scrap price of $1.50 per pound. That makes about $58.

      If your pieces look nice and are in good condition, I would recommend researching the resale value before scrapping them. Try searching eBay for similar pieces to get an idea what they might sell for, and call local antique shops to ask for an estimate. You can also try searching Google shopping for similar items to check prices.

  • I have a variety of brass ornaments in my attic some of which are quite heavy, are they likely to be worth anything and where would I take them

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Lyn,

      Find a scrapyard near you or you may also have luck putting them for sale on Craigslist.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi there!

      Can you tell me anything else about the doorknob sets? Do you know their age, their approximate weight?

  • I have a solid brass bowl made in India, or so the sticker says.
    The sticker on the bottom also says
    Design exclusive Enesco Imports Corp
    How can I find out if this bowl has any value to it? Thanks for your help.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Debbie,

      Enesco is a maker of solid brass items. Depending on their age and size, many Enesco bowls are worth $25-$50 (based on what eBay and Etsy are selling them for). You will definitely make out better listing it on eBay then selling it for its brass value. Good luck!

  • Riana McCormick says:

    I have a old player piano that stoped working properly but when you look inside it appears to be all brass it weighs about 500 lbs. And is over one hundred years old what type of brass do you think it’s made with and how much would it be worth.

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Riana,

      Interesting question! I found quite a bit of information about antique upright player pianos. More player pianos were built in America between 1900 and 1930 than any other single type of piano, with most of them built between 1905-1930. I found this website called the Antique Piano Shop that provided quite a bit of information on these pianos. What was most interesting was their resale value: $500 – $1,000 in poor condition, $2,000 – $3,000 in good, non-functional condition, $3,500 – $6,500 in functional condition, and $20,000 – $25,000 in restored, factory-new condition! A lot of the interior components are brass, but as you can see on this site, they aren’t worth much. Instead, I would turn my attention to the value of these gems!

  • Kay 6/7/2017

    Hi:
    I have a brass coupling from a fire truck hose. Also, a brass door from a safe deposit box at a bank. I think they’re considered more than scrap. Can you provide any information.
    Thank you

    • Rebecca Turley says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Kay,

      Brass couplings sell for between $20-$30. I wasn’t able to find much about brass safety deposit boxes; however, I did find one for sale for $20.

  • Hi, I have a very large yellow brass rocking horse, it weighs at least 75 lbs. if not more. It’s a decorative item and we’d like to sell it. Help!

    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Mrs. Colley,

      It looks like scrap yellow brass is currently being bought by scrap yards for roughly $0.90$1.20 per pound. If the brass fender weighs roughly four pounds or so, you can expect to get around $4 – $5 for it at a scrap yard. You can get a more exact estimate by weighing the brass fender and contacting some local yards for their prices. I hope this helps!

    • Hello I have a solid brass that’s yellow when it was marked like maybe a cannon it’s not the shell but the bullitt it’s very heavy. And I have never seen anything like it can you tell me is it worth anything I guess it’s a bullitt about 20 or so pounds about maybe nine inches long