Interesting Find, but what really is it?


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Hello All,

This weekend I was conducting field instructions on the GPX-4500's, but came across an interesting find during the hunt. I found this round, non-metallic piece, but at first couldn't figure out what it was. I believe it is Silver or some type of Silver Alloy. It's not lead, it's way too hard for lead.

Any guesses on what you think this item is? I will let you know more about it after a few guys start to guess.

Here are the pictures.

Rob Allison

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Hey Guys,

Well I just happened to weigh the piece ealier today and it weighed exactly 2 ounce troy! Now what do you think it might be?

AZNuggetBob - My mind is a bit blank right now, what eactly is Babbitt and what does it contain?

Talk with you later,

Rob Allison

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Hi Rob, Babbitt is that metal that was commonly used for bearings. sometimes poured molten into a bearing collar around a shaft on a motorized piece of equipment, such as rock crusher etc. It can have several different alloys for different applications as shown below. I found a lot of it around old mines Its nearly impossible to discriminate out. sounds real smooth when you hit a piece with your detector. the piece you have has similar oxidation that Ive seen on old buried Babbitt bearings. AzNuggetBob

You say two ounces troy, Maybe a scale weight?

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Is it a coin? If it is it is smashed to beegeebers and back, but the fact that it weighs 2 troy ounces is very strange. Certainly can't be coincidence.

Doc

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Im puzzled on this one. half the fun of finding a mystery piece is trying to figure out what it is. I agree with Doc It looks like its been hammered? Im going to take one more guess, A natural silver nugget trimmed down to a scale weight. AzNuggetbob

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Looks like an old Spanish hand cast silver ingot,with lots of

desert varnish,and crud. I bet when it is cleaned up it is a little

less than two troy ounces. Also it will not be too pure.

Look for a Spanish cross stamped or cut into the piece under

the dirt and varnish.

Babbit will scratch easy,and ,also it is sold by the pound,not in troy ounces.

I am not positive but, this looks just like ingots found in New Mexico by an

old prospecting friend. He found 18 of them scattered down an old trail.

The Spanish miners melted their ore and cast ingots right at the mine.

They cast lots of round ingots,called planchas. Some were cast in holes dug

into the ground,or wet sand. Some were cast in depressions made in stone.

They were crude,and often not very pure. They were easy to carry,and easy

to conceal. Most were carried in back packs by Indian slaves,or on mules to

the mint in Mexico City. There they were smelted and recast,or stamped and

shipped just as they are. Some were hammered to get the slag and other junk

off and shape them. Others were trimmed to get a sort of uniform weight.

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Hey Guys,

I did clean the piece up and it's exactly 2 troy ounces. On my digital scale it reads 2.04 ounces, but on a balance beam it's 2 ounces. There looks to be small drill like holes on both sides, but not really much of writing that I can see. My best guess is some type of metal (maybe silver) that was used as a counter-weight for a scale or something.

However, I could be wrong .... Maybe some type of Spanish coin?

Talk with you later,

Rob Allison

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I am thinking it would be related to a Spanish Real. sort of the mega silver dollar they used. not round, but sliced off the end of an ingot, like slicing bread. to which later pounding and forming with a stamp die would produce the coin.

Offhand, maybe clean it up initially using a diluted white vinegar solution and an ultrasonic cleaner, to see what's under the crust.

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I am thinking it would be related to a Spanish Real. sort of the mega silver dollar they used. not round, but sliced off the end of an ingot, like slicing bread. to which later pounding and forming with a stamp die would produce the coin.

Offhand, maybe clean it up initially using a diluted white vinegar solution and an ultrasonic cleaner, to see what's under the crust

Silver tends to blue, blacken as it sulfides. Depending on the sulphur content of the ground silver can come up

looking like it was dropped yesterday a hundred years later.

I though I seen some white metal showing through the crust.

Clean up a corner of it.

Put a drop of Selsun Blue shampoo on it. Silver will Sulfide Darken almost instantly. It will not harm your find.

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Yo Rob...You said it's non-metallic????? Silver would have more oxide, darkening it.....Anyhow, I agree with Bob that it is babbit...I've found tons of it and it is always confusing....The best thing to do is lick it like a lollipop for about 15 minutes...If you start making funny faces, it is babbit....If you die, it's lead.... :lol: ...Cheers, Unc

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Hey Rob how ya doin, Im still trying to figure out what your find may be. I thought I would throw in a photo of a silver nugget but with silver nuggets it also depends on karat and location. I found this one down by the border a few months ago, but Ive seen silver nuggets found all the way up the Bradshaw mountains in Az. and metal content can vary from area to area dramatically. Also soil can have a very dramatic affect on oxidation. I do know the Spanish hammered their ore before smelting to remove excess oxidation and host rock. But Im still a little puzzeled by its coin shape and weight? AzNuggetBob

newsilvernugget2.jpg100_0426_0001.jpg

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Hey Guys,

I took another picture after the piece was cleaned up. It's much darker looking now. A friend of mine said it was without a doubt, Silver. When you look at the piece under a high-powered loupe, you can see small fragments of quartz, silver looking metal and a few small spots with gold. I had my friend and Wife verify the small gold spots on the piece.

Anyone know what a good coin/relic detector would read (number wise) on this piece if it was Silver?

Talk with you later,

Rob Allison

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Rob... did you try scratching the surface with a knife? Or lift the tank top of a toilet

and rub it on the unglazed porcelin.... the streak should be silver and shiny. Silver

is a soft metal as is gold.

What happens if you give an edge a soft tap to check its malleability, or file off

a smal corner? Silver is metallic... and also ductile...

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Rob When I first found that silver nugget it looked a lot like yours, it matched the ground I dug it from. the photo's I put up are after it was cleaned up some. If you look close you can still see some of the original soil color in the pockets on the nugget. (tan) after I cleaned it I got down to a black/green color similar to yours. I agree with Jim unglazed porcelain is good for a scratch test or use a knife sharpening stone. If you have a little nitric put a drop on the stone over the scratch from your piece if it turns green its probably has silver/copper in it. Gold is also common in silver nuggets even in small amounts it can bias this test. you can test for that separately. If your scratch turns white its more lead and or tin, antimony (babbitt) than the other precious metals. another simple test for lead is scratch it on un-coated paper (dull not shiny white paper) if it is easy to leave a gray line or mark its high in lead. higher silver content nuggets (over 50%) dont leave an easy mark on paper. or maybe get one of those little test kits that are always nice to have around to test silver or gold karat, hope this helps. AzNuggetBob

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Well... Gosh I believe Grubstake answered what it is in his post.

It is likely a belt buckle... The front half. It once had an isignia

but no longer visible. It seems to have pin-holes (?) that attached

several hooks in an to hold the arrangement the buckle togeher.

And as Grubstake mentioned it is made of pewder.

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