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HK-681, 682 & 683 Santa Monica Breakwater - which metal?

Hi everyone! Thanks for this great resource.

I'm having trouble sometimes determining if one of these tokens (when toned) is copper, bronze or brass.  Any suggestions for determining this with certainty?

Perhaps this can determined by weighing the token - does anyone know the precise weight for each variety?  If not, would one of you mind weighing the raw tokens you have and providing the weights?

Thank you!

Axel Ulen has reacted to this post.
Axel Ulen

I had an interesting conversation with Jeff Shevlin about this challenge.  Jeff said that medals that were cast in both bronze and copper and (sometimes) brass are often hard to discern, as the differences between their composition can be very small and the toning over many years can mask their original composition.  This applies to many SCDs, not just Santa Monica Breakwater tokens.

Jeff explained that determining the metal is often quite subjective, based on careful study of the medal under magnification.  If it looks like copper, he accepts it as copper, rather than relying on weight or specific gravity tests, which are often not definitive.

Just out of curiosity, I have weighed three Santa Monica Breakwater tokens from my collection.  The first that is clearly brass weighs 17.5 grams.  The second that is likely copper weighs 18.5 grams.  The third that, by appearance, could either be bronze or copper weighs 17.9 grams.  You would expect a copper medal to weigh a little more than a bronze one, and a bronze one to weigh a bit more than a brass one.  As I acquire more, I will report on whether relative weights are a useful indicator in determining composition for Santa Monica Breakwater tokens.

As an FYI, all my Aluminum Santa Monica Breakwater tokens, so far, weigh 5.5 grams.


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Axel Ulen