The average single-family home has over 400 pounds of copper in pipes and wiring and as the value of copper in the scrap metal market continues to climb, so do the number of copper thefts. Many property owners have their houses torn apart in such robberies and have to call a plumber to rectify the situation. With growing concern over protecting the scrap metal we have, especially copper, one might wonder what the Statue of Liberty with its copper coating would be worth if thieves were able to steal it and sell it as scrap. Of course the logistics of such a heist makes this scenario all but impossible, but curious minds can’t help but wonder. To come to a grand total, you’d have to combine the two major parts of the statue: its iron framing and copper sheets.
The Statue of Liberty is not solid copper. The statue’s frame was constructed with puddled iron. Four iron legs support the pylon, or the skeleton of the statue, with nine horizontal support struts and diagonal braces. This frame is somewhat similar to the Eiffel Tower because Gustave Eiffel was responsible for engineering both. This frame is hard to notice with the copper exterior of the Statue of Liberty. The frame also consists of an armature, which supports the outer contour of the statue. In all, the statue has 250,000 pounds of puddled iron, which in today’s scrap market would only net you about $30,000 dollars.
The real scrap value of the Statue of Liberty comes from its copper. Sheets of quarter-inch thin copper were pounded even thinner and attached to the armature with copper saddles and rivets, and eventually covered the entire exterior of the statue. This copper started out colored like regular copper, but over time the statue turned green as the copper aged. In all, about 62,000 pounds of copper was used in the creation of the statue, and with copper prices now over three dollars per pound, that comes to about $200,000 dollars.
With the iron framing and the copper sheets, saddles, and rivets combined, the Statue of Liberty is worth about only $230,000 dollars in scrap. Considering the amount of resources required in taking down and transporting all that metal, this statue would be worth very little to a thief. Of course the real value of the Statue of Liberty is not in its metal, but in its historic image. The United States sees it as a symbol of freedom, and to its citizens it is worth far more than the sum of its parts.