Bronze Bars present an interesting value proposition to students of WoWenomics in that they benefit from having both a relatively high demand and a limited supply. Due to this combination of factors, and the fact that this material is often overlooked or forgotten about by maximum-level players, the bars can be an otherwise neglected market from which to profit. Bronze Bars will frequently sell out completely from the AH. In fact, we tested 14 auction houses at different times over the past week and found that approximately half the time the metal was sold out. In the occasions that the bars were in stock, the prices varied wildly suggesting that the bars go through lulls with no buyers and then peak when someone is power leveling an alt or switching the profession of their main. This presents a further opportunity for the astute WoW trader. Put another way, the majority of the prices we observed were on par or higher than those of Saronite Bars.
Bronze Bars are an essential part of the leveling process for Blacksmiths, Jewelcrafters and Engineers. For several of these professions the bars are integral to not only direct crafting of goods but also the crafting of component goods that go into other items so the metal has the somewhat unique position of being necessary for a higher than average part of the leveling process. This causes additional demand and is a key part of the reason that the bars will often sell out in bulk, regardless of price.
Unlike most other metals in WoW, Bronze cannot be made directly from an ore. As with the real world, no such raw ore exists. Bronze is made from mixing two metals, tin and copper. This slightly more complex process leads to a lower supply of the bars themselves. Many ore farmers just dump their supplies of the farmed ores into the AH without giving a thought to the possibility of making more gold by combining the two cheaper metals. Indeed, our favorite way to profit from the bronze trade is to find the two cheaper metals in the auction house and combine them, reselling the produced bronze for a hefty mark up.
Watch the Bronze Bar market yourself and see if you can’t identify some opportunities for profit that would otherwise be overlooked.
Here’s an interesting side note for you: Every student that has ever completed an elementary history course understands that the Bronze Age proceeded the Iron Age. What most people do not know is that the iron remained the inferior alloy at the time, with bronze being both stronger and more resistant to corrosion than the more popular and accessible wrought iron. So instead of an evolutionary process leading to the adaptation of a new metal, disruptions in the historic supply chains of tin (a key component of bronze) caused the cultural shift to the less sturdy ore. Ultimately, as smelting techniques improved, humanity progressed wholly into the Iron Age. But, in an interesting correlation to the WoW valuation of bronze, the tight supply of tin caused the metal to retain the property of being a semi-precious metal throughout the ages and, to a significant degree, even today.