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  1. #1
    Guyfromalabama started this thread.
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    Brass painted lead/tin "pewter" alloy being sold as brass

    Very often I will come across leaded pewter painted with a brass or bronze color and just wanted to know if anyone else has noticed it as well? I have found it in statues, lamps, and many other misc. cast brass and bronze looking items. Brass and bronze can be heavy but this stuff is always heavier, and when scratched reveals the shiny silver color of the mostly lead alloy. I'm curious how much is sold to scrapyards as clean brass and never noticed by the seller or the buyer until it reaches its final destination. I don't mind finding it because it actually cast beautifully.
    I've also noticed it in the brass bin before and after it's sold, when I've mentioned it to the person who owned it, they usually say something like "nope that's tarnish" or "it's white brass". Obviously people don't want less money for something they believe is worth more and I suppose its not deception if everyone is ignorant.

    Last edited by Guyfromalabama; 07-13-2021 at 02:24 AM.


  2. #2
    jeb1212's Avatar
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    I doubt those "brass" lamps are made of pewter as pewter is more expensive than brass. In my experience "brass" lamps and such are die cast zinc that are brass plated.

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  4. #3
    t00nces2's Avatar
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    What you are talking about is zinc. Heavy, non magnetic, low melt point. It looks like brass but if you look at raw areas you can tell it was a fast unfinished pour. It will also file soft and silver color. Softer tan aluminum and pays well enough I collect and scrap it.

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    Sometimes die cast (an aluminum-zinc alloy, 700 series casts) gets mixed in with brass at yards. The pricing assumes this. But sometimes actual pewter does too and tin's high price pays off for the furnaces that process the scrap brass.

  6. #5
    Guyfromalabama started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeb1212 View Post
    I doubt those "brass" lamps are made of pewter as pewter is more expensive than brass. In my experience "brass" lamps and such are die cast zinc that are brass plated.
    When I said "pewter" I meant it sarcastically. It is mostly just lead. It is very easy to tell because I can gouge it with my fingernail. Die cast zinc is heavy, but not as heavy as this lead alloy, zinc is also much harder and has a ringing tone when dropped or struck.
    The lamp body was older and when cast, had a similar appearance to a 95/5 Pb/Sn alloy.
    Last edited by Guyfromalabama; 07-14-2021 at 05:44 PM.

  7. #6
    Guyfromalabama started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by t00nces2 View Post
    What you are talking about is zinc. Heavy, non magnetic, low melt point. It looks like brass but if you look at raw areas you can tell it was a fast unfinished pour. It will also file soft and silver color. Softer tan aluminum and pays well enough I collect and scrap it.
    This is not zinc. I can tell just by the weight and hardness difference. When I hold a torch over the liquid metal it does not boil off as zinc would when its boiling point is reached and far exceeded.

  8. #7
    Guyfromalabama started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJinLV View Post
    Sometimes die cast (an aluminum-zinc alloy, 700 series casts) gets mixed in with brass at yards. The pricing assumes this. But sometimes actual pewter does too and tin's high price pays off for the furnaces that process the scrap brass.
    What I'm referring to is a cheap lead alloy that is being passed off as brass. It looks like cast brass. I can take pictures here in a little bit. It's not a die cast zinc alloy and it's not a high tin (ie pewter) alloy. It's probably 95% lead with the rest being tin. Similar to what muzzleloaders would cast bullets from. It only takes a little bit of tin to make the (mostly lead) casting look good. It's also similar to what a lot of old picture frames are made of.


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