Archive for the ‘Medal Composition’ Category

MEDAL COLLECTORS in America look forward to presidential elections every four years for good reason. Irrespective whoever wins – Democrat or Republican – they know they will have another fine art medal to add to their collection.

These medals bear a portrait of the incoming president – by the best medallic artist in America at the time – often a sculptor of renown reputation. The medals are also the best that American medallic industry can produce. Private medal makers have made these medals for more than a century except for two times, when these were struck by the U.S. Mint, in the middle of World War II and when an official of the Mint was on the Inaugural Committee.

The medal becomes “official” by an unwritten imprimatur granted by the Inaugural Committee, a powerful political board that immediately springs into existence with final election results and a winner is certain. It exists for a short time, often less than six months, but performs a very important function. It oversees and manages a ceremony that dates back to the inauguration of George Washington with roots similar to the coronation of a new royalty in countries that are monarchies.

The inauguration ceremony is funded – not by government money – but entirely by ticket sales to the numerous balls. Plus the sale of merchandise the  Inaugural Committee authorizes as official. American manufacturers line up to offer their wares desirous to get the nod from the Committee. The merchandise changes for each president, Royal Dalton got the nod for a Toby Mug in the shape of Ronald Reagan’s bust. Or a cut crystal jar full of Jelly Beans. A Tiffany silver bowl, and a Boehm porcelain rose, came from some high-end manufacturers.

But more often than not are the usual items of every price range: commemorative plates emblazoned with an image of the Capitol as the Inaugural’s logo, D.C. license plates (good on your vehicle only until mid-March), first-day covers, plus jewelry items: cuff-links, tie-tacks, lapel pins, bracelet and necklace pendants and charms. Other utilitarian objects have been offered from time to time, like scarves or umbrellas. All designed for the special event with image or caption.

The medals, however, are the keystone of the royalty- generating merchandise. Medals have a heritage of being issued for every presidential inauguration back to 1889 for the centennial of George Washington’s Inauguration. All George got at the time of his Inauguration was a button with his initials on it as the only “official” inauguration memento.

Die-struck fine art medals exert a very important characteristic trait – they last forever. They will survive for ten thousand years in contrast to the empty Jelly Bean jar in quick time, or a broken plate or crystal object. American Presidential Inaugurations will be documented by medals far into the future as we have similar evidence of fresh crowning of kings on coins and medals five thousand years ago. Well at least coins since medals were first used for this purpose in the 15th century.

Decades ago, as late as the Harry Truman Inaugural Medal in 1949,  medals in bronze and silver were adequate to supply the public and gender enough royalties for the Inaugural ceremony. The same die was employed to strike the gold medal to be given to the president, destined for deposit in his Presidential Library.

With the Dwight Eisenhower Medal of 1953, medals of different sizes (each requiring a new die) were made, each size to fill a need for a segment of the market, as a smaller size for jewelry items. This proved satisfactory, the practice continued, even increased somewhat with an additional need, as a coin relief medal to accommodate a First Day Cover.

One practice did change. The bronze medal had to be a different size from the silver medal. Because of the popularity of the silver medal unscrupulous people silver-plated the bronze medal and sold this as a genuine silver. This occurred for the Kennedy 1961 medal. It affected the Nixon 1969 Inaugural Medal and all others issued after that date.

Another change occurred. Gold was permitted to be sold to American citizens December 31, 1974, after having been prohibited since March 1933. Gold Inaugural medals were struck for the first time for the Second Nixon Term. It was struck in a size smaller – and obviously different – from all other composition Inaugural medals (to prohibit goldplating subterfuge).

A typical schedule of Inaugural Medal sizes and compositions are:

  • Gold  1¼-inch
  • Silver 2½-inch antique finish
  • Silver 2½-inch proof surface
  • Bronze 2¾-inch antique finish
  • Bronze 1½-inch coin relief

From these sets were made of the following:

  • 5-Piece Inaugural Medal Set (all of the above)
  • 4-Piece Inaugural Medal Set (all but the gold)

This schedule changed somewhat over the years as planners believed other items would sell, as some form mounting of medals made into desk pieces would  be popular. But the above basic schedule has endured.

A problem, it should be noted, for all those manufacturers, is that their merchandise must be made so quickly. Designed, approved, modeled, sometimes molded, or dies made, often with extensive production runs. Accepted finished product must be completed and delivered to Washington DC in time for Inauguration Day, January 20th.

Every manufacturer wishes for the “old days,” prior to 1934, when Inauguration Day was March 15th (for 60 days more time).You can also add thousands of parade participants who often catch a severe weather on that January day and must spend the entire day outside wishing for a warmer clime. But the date is set in concrete and the quicker the new president is in office the better.
For the makers of this merchandise it means some long days in all of December and early January. Round the clock production with three shifts of employees, and a missed holiday or two around the first of the year. You can’t take shortcuts, this must be your best quality. After all its for the president of the United States.

To speed up processing in the finishing department at Medallic Art Company in the past the heat lamps were turned up higher to dry the lacquer on medals quicker. It seems every fourth year this caused a fire as the lacquer ignited. Fire departments were called with the inevitable news article the next day’s paper “Fire at Local Medal Manufacturer.”

Another problem at the manufacturer is that other work must be set aside as all manpower is exclusively dedicated to inaugural medal work. Other clients must be consoled their medal job has been delayed and might not be completed until after January 20th. Production scheduling becomes a nightmare during this period.

Medals are required in large quantities for art medals, often in the thousands. Another problem is not knowing the demand in advance – how many to strike of each kind. Finished product with proper cases or holders intact must be stocked and ready. Ideally, you would like to have on hand in Washington DC a sufficient quantity to fill every order, every purchase, on that date. Residual orders could be struck and fulfilled at a later time.

Logistics and division of labor are other problems. Where should mail orders be sent? Who should fulfill? And a distribution problem: which retail outlets need to be serviced? Woodward & Lothrop, a department store in DC has been a distributor in the past. Should other outlets, as jewelry chains, be accepted as distributors?

All of this activity must be compressed into less than a two-month period. This requires management of incredible capability.

Since this activity has increased with each succeeding inauguration I would like to offer a solution. The job of manufacturing the medals is almost too large now for one firm to produce in the time required. In the past this has been the case, one firm gets the okay from the Committee to make the medals, but must subvert all its other normal business for at least six weeks, often longer.

   My solution suggestion is to form a consortium of  medal manufacturers. There are a handful of excellent ones in this field, despite its relative small size as industries are measured.

One firm should be the prime contractor and be responsible for all Inaugural Medal activity.  Perhaps it should be responsible for making all the patterns, hubs and dies. It should sub-contract out the striking and finishing of each of the separate kinds of medals to other medal firms, supplying the dies all from the accepted “official” Presidential Medal design.

  • Perhaps one firm should produce only the gold medals.
  • Another the proof silver.
  • Another the antique silver.
  • Another the bronze with the antique patina.
  • Another the medals in coin relief.
  • Another for jewelry items.

All product would be shipped to a rented warehouse near the Washington DC area. Here final inspection and packaging would take place. Orders would be shipped, or even delivered from this location.

Fulfillment of mail orders would take place at this location. Reorders would be serviced here.

The facility would have a fixed period of activity as orders dwindle after March 1st.

Obviously, Medallic Art Company is the ideal candidate to be such prime contractor. It has the facilities as for die making at two locations, a sales force in place in the Washington DC area, plus a past record unequalled by any other firm. Its experience and heritage should place it at the top of the list to be considered.

It has the respect of the other firms in the field, and certainly the willingness to work with such other manufacturers. There is enough work to go around for all in this field for this one exceptional job.  All would benefit.

See Medallic Art Company gallery of selected inaugural medals.

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This is the second of several reports on the basic information, the basic knowledge of minting coins and medals. These facts are so important they should be embedded in the repertoire of everyone associated with the medallic field and, certainly, everyone within the firms which make these.

COMPOSITION is the material of which coins and medals are made. Numismatists use that term where others might think of “metals” or “alloys.” The broader term is used because medals are infrequently made of nonmetal material, as will be mentioned. The other meaning of the term “composition” – the arrangement of elements in a design – should not be used in numismatics to lessen the confusion between the two meanings.

Note that the metals used for ancient coins, even hundreds of years before the birth of Christ are still those same metals used for coins and medals today:  gold, silver and bronze. The ancients did not have some great insight, but rather they had metalworking experience.

These metals had been worked by man for centuries before (as early as 4,000 BC for bronze. China’s choice for early coins was bronze, India was silver, western countries preferred precious metals silver and gold. These three metals, employed for the world’s earliest coins, possessed the most desirable characteristics required for coin making. They also possessed desirable wearing qualities for circulating, then as now.

Metals In A Coinage System.
As coins of different denominations were created to facilitate commerce, a  coinage system was established. Higher denominations required more costly metals. Thus two and three metals were employed. These could be coins of pure metals or several metals combined to form an alloy in which to strike the coins.

A coinage system that employs two metals, as gold and silver, is called a binary system. The Lydians, who first struck coins in 640 BC, developed such a two-metal binary system in 550 BC.  When a system has three metals, as gold, silver and bronze – or any three metals pure or alloyed – for its coins is said to be on a ternary system. If four metals are employed it is a quaternary system.

In 1920 Great Britain reduced the precious metal content of their coins by half, going off the sterling standard. They went from a ternary to a quaternary system. They continued striking .500 silver coins, with additional alloys, but eliminated silver entirely in 1946. Their crowns and shillings, formerly struck in silver were thereafter struck in copper-nickel. (Their coinage system was decimalized in 1968, but their coins still continue to be struck in copper-nickel.)

(Clad compositions, which became popular in the late 20th century, have obscured these “-nary” designations; future metallurgical grammarians will be required to redefine these terms.)

Coinage Metal Alloys.
The earliest coin makers learned that pure metal, particularly gold and silver, was too soft to withstand the harsh conditions from circulation. These metals, as with most coinage metals, were alloyed. The popular alloy of sterling, for example, has a silver content of .925, added to .075 copper for strength and hardness. This alloy proved satisfactory as a coinage composition, to strike, to circulate, to retain its color and its value. Later coin silver was introduced with a greater alloy of 90% silver, 10% copper.

Coins were struck in these alloys through the years, except for occasions when the precious metal content was reduced for political reasons: creating debased compositions. In the 19th century copper nickel was introduced and numerous experiments were made in other minor coinage metals.

Modern Alloy Problems.
The gradual rise of primary metal costs in the 20th century has brought economic pressure to change coin compositions. As mentioned, Great Britain stopped using silver in coins in 1920 (all except Maundy coins). The United States stopped striking silver in circulating coins in 1964 (except for silver coins sold to collectors and bullion coins sold to investors). These changes were brought about by the increase in the market price of silver. Coins struck in alloys without precious metal became a token coinage.

In 1965 U.S. silver coins (of 90% silver) were worth more for their silver content than their face value. The obvious event happened: coins were withdrawn from circulation and melted. Gresham’s law came into effect: coins with least intrinsic value replaced in circulation coins of greater intrinsic value, “bad money drives out good money.” This caused a severe coin shortage and widespread trouble for all small commercial transactions. Other countries confronted similar problems; the problem was worldwide.

U.S. Treasury officials were faced with some difficult decisions. What also influenced the solution were the millions of vending machines and fareboxes that were engineered to accept silver coins (including tests of surface resistivity). What was needed was a lower cost alloy that could still be accepted in all those venting machines. The solution was to strike coins in a clad composition. With a layer of silver, or silver-like metal, on each side of a lower-cost base metal, the total costs of blanks would be less, but this would still meet the requirements of the vending machine industry.

In 1981 a similar situation occurred with the price of copper, effecting the striking of cent coins. Here again the solution was a clad composition of copper coating a zinc base metal. In the United States, cents struck from 1982 forward were of copper clad zinc composition.

(The clad technology also created a new industry – manufacturing the clad strip and supplying this, or blanks cut from the strips, to the mints. It was also a brilliant solution for what could be done with all the skeleton scrap after the blanks were cut out. Copper coated zinc scrap, for example, could be melted, and with little reformulation – addition of virgin copper – poured into ingots of – bronze! Scrap technology must be taken into consideration with every decision of coinage composition.)

In each of these solutions the color and appearance of the prior metal was retained (as well as surface resistivity – necessary for vending machine detectors). It is interesting to speculate what the next major change in coin compositions will require and when this will occur.

Nonmetallic Compositions.
For centuries mint officials have wrestled with the problems of composition of the coins they were required to strike. Metal shortages, fluctuating prices, new technology, wartime metal needs, economic and political factors have all influenced coinage metal needs. Mints have experimented with substitute compositions endlessly. It continues today as substitutes for copper and zinc in cents and perhaps a substitute for a copper-nickel five cent piece, are high priorities as these metal prices have risen beyond the face value of the coins.

In 1868, for example, a Boston firm patented a composition it called Diatite. Unheard of today, it was one of the many unsuccessful coinage compositions, with only two tokens in existence as evidence of this experiment.

In 1865 a dentist and amateur metallurgist, Lewis Feuchtwanger, was more determined. He proposed to the U.S. Mint a nickel-silver alloy as a coinage metal; it contained copper, nickel, zinc, tin, antimony and other metal elements. The Mint wisely refused because of the multiplicity of components (This would have been a scrap technology nightmare.) However, the U.S. Mint later did strike copper-nickel cents, 1856-65, which was not entirely satisfactory, but an altered alloy was satisfactory for five-cent pieces, 1865 onwards. Feuchtwanger designed and issued storecards in his own composition, all struck by Scovill of Waterbury.

In 1942 the U.S. Treasury considered producing cent coins in plastic. In other times the media listed in the adjacent chart below have been considered to replace metal alloys for coins.

But where most nonmetallic compositions are found is in tokens, and to a smaller degree, in medals. Tokens have been struck or fabricated in most all of the materials listed in the chart. Medals, likewise have been made in more than half of these. The experience found among nonmetallic compositions for tokens and medals have given experience to mint officials not to use these compositions for coins. They still wisely use metal for coin compositions.

Handy & Harman Medal

Obverse, reverse and edge of
the Handy & Harman Medal.

Compositions for medals.
Unlike coins, medals and medallic objects have no restrictions on composition; medals are far more democratic. They can be made in any permanent composition. Obviously firms in which their product is a suitable coinage material, may request their medals made in their product material. In 1966 Medallic Art Company created a medal for Handy & Harman, a major supplier of silver and bronze, for their 1967 centennial. The bimetal was struck in bronze with a silver inlay covering half the obverse design (catalog 1966-006).

Before plastics were developed, Bakelite, Vulcanite and hard rubber were materials employed for many products. I remember one medal issued by a firm which manufactured combs in hard rubber, active in the last half of the 19th century.  Obviously its medal was made in hard rubber. The term for this category of medals is called product medal.

Despite the wide variety of metal compositions available for striking medals, the old standard – bronze, silver gold – still are most popular today. This is particular true for award medals with an obvious rank of medals. Three or more classes of awards can be created with additional divisions of medal size and plating, gold-plated silver – vermeil – below solid gold, and above silver.

Bronze, time honored, is even more desirable in that it can be given a patina finish, much like statues. The intent of the firm’s Society of Medalists was that each issue be given a different patina. This became unpractical after the 20th issue.

Numismatic medals.
Numismatists like many different compositions in any individual medal, it provides them with a separate VARIETY.

One of Medallic Art’s first customers, Thomas Elder had the firm strike four or five metal varieties in 1910. Recently, a chemist, Thomas Wilfred, had his New York Numismatic Club Presidents Medal struck in six different metals for his 1983 medal

Coin And Medal Compositions               

A. Metallic

  1. acmonital
  2. albata
  3. alpacca
  4. aluminum
  5. aluminum bronze
  6. argentin
  7. bath metal
  8. brass
  9. bronze
  10. copper
  11. copper nickel (cupro-nickel)
  12. chrom-steel
  13. electrum
  14. german-silver
  15. gold
  16. goldene
  17. iron (ferrous)
  18. lead
  19. manganese
  20. nickel
  21. nickel-brass
  22. nickel-silver
  23. oroide
  24. orichalcum
  25. palladium
  26. pewter
  27. platinum
  28. silver
  29. space metals
  30. sterling
  31. tin
  32. titanium
  33. tombac
  34. type metal
  35. white metal
  36. zinc

B. Plated Metals

  1. bronze gilt
  2. gilding metal
  3. goldplated
  4. rolled gold
  5. sheffield plate
  6. silverplated
  7. vermeil

C. Nonmetallic

  1. bakelite
  2. boxwood
  3. ceramic
  4. glass (crystal)
  5. hard rubber
  6. horn
  7. ivory
  8. leather
  9. plastics
  10. porcelain
  11. soap
  12. steatite (soapstone)
  13. stone
  14. terra-cotta
  15. vulcanite
  16. wax
  17. wood (bois durci)

Some Compositions Terms

Acmonital.  An alloy of stainless steel.
Albata.  Alloy of nickel, copper and zinc; an early name for nickel-silver.
Alpacca.  Onetime trademark for an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc; a form of German-silver or nickel-silver.
Aluminum.  A very light-weight metal in silver-white color.
Aluminum Bronze.  A bronze alloy with five to ten percent aluminum. commercial aluminum bronze formula is 86 copper, 10.5 aluminum and 3.5 iron which is a high strength,
Amalgam.  Any soft metal alloy from which a medallic item is cast or struck; an alloy without specific formulation, as pot metal, which is pliable to some degree.
Anodized Aluminum.  A coating, actually a plating on aluminum which unlike other plating can be done in color.
Argent.  French, silver.
Argentin, Argentine.  Base alloy of tin and antimony, made to resemble silver; a white metal most always silverplated.
Base Metal.  An alloy or metal usually of low value to which plating is applied; or the chief constituent of an alloy, not a precious or noble metal.
Bath Metal.  A brass alloy once used for striking medals. Named after Bath England, it was invented by William Wood (1671-1730) an English ironmaster and owner of copper and tin mines in western England.
Bell Metal.  The bronze alloy for making bells can be used successfully for striking or casting medals.
Brass.  An alloy with the major component of copper, plus moderate zinc or tin content, which is highly ductile and has a yellow hue.
Britannia Metal.  A silver-white alloy of tin, antimony and copper, and often of zinc and bismuth.
Britannia Standard.  A fineness of silver, 958.4 parts per 1000.
Bronze.  An alloy of copper with additional metals of zinc and/or tin in small amount, infrequently with other metals as trace or impurities. Bronze is the world’s most popular alloy for coins and medals, irrespective of how they are made.
CastIron.  A ferrous metal object formed in a mold.
Coin Silver.  A fineness of 900 fine; 9 parts silver to one of alloy, usually copper; silver United States coins have been struck in this fineness from 1837 to 1964.
Copper.  A metal element, the basis for many coinage and medal alloys, making it the most useful metal in the field.
Copper Nickel.  An alloy predominantly of copper, to which is added nickel for hardness and a white color.
Cupro-nickel.  The term for copper nickel in England and France.
Engraver’s Brass.  A copper alloy that is a favorite of engravers because it is so well suited for all types of engraving.
Feuchtwanger Composition.  A three-component alloy employed for several private issue tokens – and proposed for United States coinage by its developer – but never accepted.
Fineness.  The quality or purity of precious metal in numismatic or medallic items. In America fineness is expressed as a decimal part per 1.000, as sterling is .925; in Europe it is expressed as whole parts per 1,000, 925 is sterling.
Fine Silver.  Commercially pure silver, usually .999 fine; silver with no alloy.
German-silver.  A copper alloy of silver-white color because of the presence of nickel and zinc, now called nickel-silver. There is no silver in German-silver or nickel-silver.
GildingMetal.  A base metal, an alloy of copper and zinc.
Gold.  The heavy yellow precious metal, idolized by man for eons, ideal for coins and medals for the highest value and most desirable issues.
Goldene.  A brass alloy resembling gold in which cheap tokens and coins are struck;.
Iron.  The metallic element, silver-white in color, but useful to man for its malleable and ductile qualities.
Karat.  A measure of gold based on 24 parts; 24 being pure gold.
Lead.  A soft bluish gray metal, a metallic element, often used for proving dies in modern times, also a material in which medals have been cast or struck.
Nickel.  A metallic element, of silver-gray color and often alloyed with copper and other metals for a coinage metal.
Nickel-silver.  An alloy of nickel, copper and zinc.
Oreide.  Obsolete form of oroide, the brass alloy.
Oroide.  A brass alloy resembling gold in color and brilliancy widely used in striking low-cost coin-like and token-like medals.
Pewter.  A high tin content white metal alloy, usually very soft and infrequently used for striking medallic items.
Phosphor-bronze.  A bronze alloy with very small amount of phosphor.
Pinchbeck.  An alloy of copper and 10-15% zinc.
Platinum.  A heavy, gray-white precious metal. Platinum has great strength, it never tones or corrodes, but has a very high melting point.
PotMetal.  An alloy without specific formulation but which is made by melting scrap in a pot, hence the name.
RedBrass.  A copper-zinc alloy with less than 15% zinc which has a characteristic bronze red or copper red color.
Silver.  A gray-white precious metal, which because it is highly malleable and coinable is widely used as the composition for coins and medals.
Space Metal.  A new metal alloy formulated in space, outside the gravity restrictions of the earth.
Sterling.  A fineness of silver, 925 parts per 1000 (alloyed with 75 parts copper for hardness).
Spelter.  A zinc alloy, or zinc solder, in which the zinc content is more than half.
Tin.  A very soft white to gray silver-colored metal; an element used in pure state, or alloyed with other metals particularly to form white metal or pewter. 7305-(010)05.4
Tombac.  A copper-zinc alloy.
Type Metal.  A lead alloy containing tin and antimony, it was readily available in letterpress printing shops until the mid-20th century.
Vermeil.  Goldplated silver or silver gilt. Such a composition has the texture, fineness, hardness and smooth finish of silver, but the color of gold.
Wartime Alloy.  Made of a substitute alloy during hostilities.
White Metal.  An alloy with a base of tin, with or without lead, and any of several other medals – copper, antimony, bismuth for the most part.
Yellow Brass.  A copper alloy of high zinc content which has a permanent typical brass golden color.
Zinc.  A silver gray metal that in pure state rapidly corrodes.

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Copper alloys are widely used for striking coins and medals. Even those items struck in silver and gold are alloyed with copper. I once wrote that copper is the world’s most popular coinage metal. Certainly before the 21st century when we had coins struck in bronze, silver and gold they were alloyed with copper. That holds true for medals as well.

Both bronze and brass are copper alloys. Both have the secondary metal of zinc. The two elements are found merged in nature. The Bronze Age existed since 4,000 BC. So not only is copper one of man’s most useful metals, it has been so for a very long time.

Technically any copper-zinc alloy with a zinc content of ten percent or less is bronze (it can also have some of the zinc replaced with tin and still be bronze). A content of ten to 15 percent zinc is red brass. When the zinc content reaches 16 percent not only is it brass, often called medal brass, it displays the golden hue we all recognize as brass.

Coinability – the ease of striking – and malleability increase with greater zinc content. Copper is harder than zinc. More zinc content the alloy is less hard and easier to work with.

Color also changes with the increase percentage of zinc. Adding additional amounts of zinc in the alloy changes copper-red to brass-yellow. At that 16 percent – 84 copper 16 zinc – the gold brass color is firmly entrenched.

Toning of the final alloy also changes. Copper tones slowly. A freshly struck cent even in bronze will tone in time, about six month’s time in normal handling, from one hand to another, from copper-red to brown. (It can also tone in harsh atmosphere conditions.) In contrast brass does not tone like bronze, it is fairly permanent in its golden tone.

Numismatists – and certainly the public — who cannot determine any precise formulation of copper-zinc by inspection alone, must describe a coin or medal by its color. If the piece is brown, it is bronze. If the piece is golden yellow, it is brass. (If it is heavy and golden color could be gold, of course.) Brass is widely used because it does closely resemble gold.

In medal rank, brass is beneath bronze: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Brass. If there were four platforms at Olympic Games, the lowest one would be brass. Bronze is more important than brass in the public’s mind. Bronze is more expensive than brass. Zinc is cheaper than copper. The greater the zinc content the less the cost, and certain bronze alloys are four times more expensive than certain brass alloys.

Thus bronze has the perception of greater value than brass. Bronze is more éclat, it has a higher esteem, respect, repute, and is more desirable to everyone.

The chart below is a study of bronze and brass alloys, not from a metallurgical viewpoint, but from a numismatic viewpoint. Coins and medals have been made of virtually every one of these alloys.

Types of Bronze and Brass Alloys

Copper % Zinc % Tin %
Bronze or Brass Alloy Cu Zn Sn Other Notes
Medal bronze 92-97 0-2 1-8 Exact formulations not exclusive for medals.
Coinage bronze 95 1 4 Also called French bronze.
Modern coinage bronze 95 5 Most malleable bronze.
Phosphor bronze 90-95.5 4.3-10 T-0.2P Trace phosphor.
Statuary bronze (standard) 90 3 7 Best alloy for fine castings.
Commercial bronze 90 10 Easily available.
Gun metal 90 10 Strongest bronze alloy.
Red brass 85-90 10-15 Rich low brass, pinchbeck.
Jeweler’s bronze 88 12 Actually red brass.
Engraver’s brass 85 15 Red brass; ideal for engraving.
Medal brass 84 16 For brass “gold” color.
Oriental “bronze” 84 1 5 10 Pb High lead content.
Tombac 82-99 1-18 Also called Mannheim gold, Dutch metal.
Gilding metal 80-90 10-20 Not unattractive in natural state, but usually plated.
Tin brass 79 20 1 One percent tin content.
Nickel brass 79 20 1 NI One percent nickel content.
Bell metal 78-80 20-22 For bell casting.
Copper nickel 75-80 20-25 Ni British cupro-nickel; also called nickel bronze or coinage nickel metal.
Bath metal 75 24.7 0.3 Ag Wood’s metal; very soft, poor wearing quality.
Cartridge brass 67-70 30-33 Pb, Fe Trace of lead; iron 0.07% max.
Yellow brass 67 33 Widely called OROIDE or goldene.
Speculum metal 67 33 Takes a high polish. Sometimes found with minute arsenic, antimony or zinc to improve whiteness and reflectiveness.
Nickel-silver 66-72 10-24 10-18 Ni Formerly German-silver; expensive, high nickel cost.
Muntz metal 59-62 38-41 Pb Lead 0.6% maximum.
White brass 51 49-65 Gray-to-white color.

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