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About JoeLS

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    Lodi, WI
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  1. I can sell you arc-melted 1toz round ingots of ruthenium and osmium for $750 and $950, respectively. The curved surfaces of ingots made by melting show a play of light and subtle colors that you don't get with dead flat surfaces such as those on sintered cubes. Ruthenium (see pic) in particular is has a beautiful, almost pearlescent, quality.
  2. Ruthenium is bright silver. It looks a lot like its cousin, platinum. But if heated to red heat and allowed to cool in air it develops a pretty gold/bronze oxide on its surface. That may be what was done on this coin.
  3. The cheapest way to do this is to get on Alibaba and search for the best price you can find on ruthenium powder. If you buy 100 grams or more you can get it for close to spot, which right now is about $350/toz ($11.25/g). Once you get the powder you need to find someone or a company with a vacuum arc furnace with a water-cooled copper crucible to melt it into an ingot.Expect to pay $50-100 for that. Shipping will add another $100 or so, including shipping from China (China has the only reliable supply of the stuff). So the total cost for an ounce of ruthenium will be about $550, and more like $650 if you have only one ingot made. You could do all of that, or you could just buy an ingot from me ;). They are quite pretty.
  4. Some metal companies will buy back metals they have sold to you if you have kept them in the original, unopened container. If you actually want to see and handle your metal you're out of luck, and even if you could see it a pile of dark gray powder isn't very sexy.. But it can work. In 1980 I went through the periodic table, a price chart, and a list of average crustal metal concentrations, in order to identify the most undervalued elements relative to abundance, and found a half dozen. A few of these were dangerously reactive (e.g. cesium). The rest were noble metals: ruthenium, osmium, iridium, rhenium, and palladium. My brother stocked up on all of these except rhenium and kept them in their original packaging . He broke even on osmium, but the others all increased in price. Iridium tripled in price. Palladium soared from about $40/oz to ca $300, initially in response to reports of cold fusion, and briefly too above $700, when ruthenium started to be used in computer hard drives, My brother made all his money by selling his metals back to the distributor that originally sold them to him. BTW currently the most under-valued precious or noble metal is rhenium, which usually is placed among among the four rarest stable metals. Rhenium is rarer than gold and is essential to the aircraft industry, where it is alloyed with nickel to create a "super alloy" that retains it's strength at the red heat of jet engine's combustion chambers and turbine blades. Rhenium is going for about $2000/kilo or just $65/toz. It has been over $10k
  5. At the moment here is no market to speak of for osmium, and only a small market for ruthenium. You'll often see $400 as the "spot price" of osmium, but it is not a true spot price set by supply and demand, just a suggested starting point for negotiation. A lot more ruthenium is traded than osmium, so its price tends to change more often than osmium's (which has been at $400 for decades) The prices of both do fluctuate. Right now if you want to buy ruthenium powder you'll pay $11-13/gram. Six months ago it was $9-12 The price of osmium is $14-17/gram. I bought some at $12 a few years ago. But the thing about the less commonly used platinum group metals is that their price can spike dramatically when a new use for them is found. Awhile ago the price of ruthenium went from $35/toz to over $700. A few years ago rhodium was at $800/toz. Now it's around $8000. Iridium was $600/toz a few years ago. Now it's about $1700. In the 80's osmium briefly spiked to over $2000/toz. In 1980 palladium was about $60/toz, and no one knew what it was. All of these metals have exceptional catalytic properties, are resistant to corrosion and wear, and are quite hard. So the are incredibly useful. As new uses are found the price of these metals will rise. The "strategy" for making money on them is to sit on them and wait for a price spike, then sell them on Ebay or some other site. When the price shoots up they are pretty easy to sell. Two months ago I sold a one toz iridium ingot that cost me $650 for $2100 a few weeks ago, when the spot price was around $1700. I think osmium will have its day. Really, though, for the moment at least, these minor platinum group metals are not a particularly good investment. They are fascinating and beautiful objects that are fun to own. One more thing: the "spot prices" of these metals are for the powder (also called "sponge") form. In that form they are all a drab dark gray. You don't see how beautiful they are until they have been melted into ingots. This is difficult and expensive, especially osmium, which melts at 3033°C. Powdered osmium also produces a toxic vapor of OsO4, so unless you can store it in an oxygen free environment you really shouldn't have it around you. The ingots, though, do not oxidize and are completely safe to handle. Osmiun metal per se is not toxic. My price is based on the cost of the raw metal powders plus fabrication fees and other expenses. I aim for a 35% profit, which I think is reasonable give how difficult it is to get the ingots.
  6. It costs $100,000 to get one pound of payload into low orbit. 95% of that cost is propellant. Getting clear of earth's gravity costs even more. Getting 5000 tons of mining equipment to an asteroid would cost at least $2 trillion, or $4 trillion round trip. It is physically impossible to reduce the amount of energy required for space travel, so it's not going to happen on a large scale until the cost of energy drops by several orders of magnitude. As things stand
  7. Asking $950 for a 1 troy ounce osmium ingot and $750 for a 1 troy ounce ruthenium ingot. These metals usually are traded as sponge (powder), which for all platinum group metals is a drab dark gray.. In their fused state, however, both metals are gem-like and visually stunning. Osmium ingots show the unique blue color of that metal, particularly in indirect sunlight. Ruthenium is perhaps the most beautiful of the platinum group metals. its ingots are brilliant silver and have a complex luster with hints of pink, green, and gold, depending on the light source. Photos: Top: osmium; bottom: ruthenium. osmium
  8. Ruthenium, osmium, and rhenium for noble metals, .Indium and gallium for base metals. I like silver, too. My problem is that I frequently have to dip in to my hoard to pay bills.
  9. I have 1 troy ounce round ingots of osmium and ruthenium, and 450-500 g ingots of rhenium. They are stunning, especially the osmium and ruthenium. There is a fair amount of craziness in the ultra-rare metal world, such as a German company that is trying to replace diamonds in jewelry with lab grown osmium crystals, at $48,000/ounce.
  10. JoeLS


    This is JoeLS. I just joined. I like silver and have been following the silver market since the early 70s, but my main interest now is the obscure precious metals, osmium, ruthenium, and rhenium. I live in Wisconsin.
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