I am not so sure a lot of trumpets had copper plated valves prior to the nickle plateing. IN fact I have known a few guys that got some late 1800 cornet's that had copper valves and they worked just like new. The nickle silver though is a harder more durable finish that is for sure and it will definately produce a more slick surface then copper alone. Before you can nickle plate you have to or should plate it in copper first as the foundation for the nickle. The exception would be if the valve body it self was solid nickle then no need to copper plate. I was talking with a guy from Getzen and he told me that if I wanted to nickle plate those old valves on my non-warantied 1970 Getzen that I could skip the copper plateing and go directly to nickle because the valves bodies are nickle. Now that is what this guy said over the phone so I would like to think he know's what he is talking about. Now all the old timers I have talked to though have told me to copper plate first to set a uniform foundationthen nickle plate. A guy in France that works on vintage trumpet's just use's copper and I have copied some of his tank set up idea's like the rotation of the valves to help ensure even depositing. I borrowed air agaitation from a guy doing it commericaly on ebay with nickle. The cool part is that either way I should do them in copper plate first so if I do not like the way they feel in all copper I can always nickle plate them. Yes the harder the material surface hardness the slicker it will feel. This is why stainless steel valves once worn in and oil with a super light oil feel insanely fast. This is one reason I donot understand why Jupiter offer's Stainless Steel Valves on their student trumpet's an Nickle Silver and Monel as well but one you get to the pro line only Monel is offered??? It is like they have been a sleep beind the wheel!!!LOL Personely I would get rid of the Monel and either go all stainless across the board or go Stainless and Nickle Silver their is no way I would offer three diferent valve choices that is just a bad manufactureing move that increase cost in the form of supplies and part's duplication. They also use a different valve in many different trumpet models again kind of silly. Build one maybe two different valve engiens but use the same valve,stem's,guides and springs across the product line. On top of all this the Monel valves they offer tend to fail so regularly that they will replace them for free to any school that buy's their gear through them especuialy tuba's and Euphoniums with either their stainless steel or their Nickle silver valves. In fact I have had too school band teacher's tell me now that their monel valves stink and their stainless steel ones are rock solid and that their nickle silver are a close second tothe stainless steel. So it is not just me. My 1968 Reynolds has Nickle SIlver valves that are like glass and the first two valves on my 1946 Holton Colligate are like glass and are also nickle silver. My Son's Holton T602 fromt he late 1970's early 1980's has Monel valves and they are ok I mean they are like new but they just do not feel as fast as the nickle silverones I have. I think the lightly used Jupiter that is comeing my way has Monel valves so we will see what we see. I have already found a source of nickle silver one's for it. I just as soon not have any problems. To me Monel while a good material was a solution looking for a problem. I do not see where they offer anything over nickle silver or stainless steel. Really Stainless Steel is fairly cheap today and is about as maintence free as you will ever find.