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Interesting story. When I was a kid several decades ago, my step-father would bring home all kinds of odd copper wires from his construction job, mostly that was warn out, taken from demolition jobs, run down motors, etc. From time to time, about once a summer, we would burn it just like you mentioned to get the plastic, whatever off (back before environmental stuff was much of an issue). Then store it in some run down sheds he had built, in case he ‘needed it’ later. This went on for many years.
About a decade ago he realized how much copper was going for per pound, and though he was almost 80 years old, he was able to cut up a lot of what was left. He made something like $20,000 one summer alone, and had plenty more left for the following summer.