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Surprise in my trash pouch MAYBE?


DOC

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Last year, I was working a gully when I got a good target sound.  At 9 inches I unearth what I think is a piece of lead.  Into my trash pouch.

Today I am doing some organization of my gear and I dump out the piece of lead.  The more I look at it, I'm not so sure it's lead.  If it is lead it certainly bears do indications of any symmetry you usually see with a bullet.

It looks like a nugget.  A 9.4 gram nugget of unknown material.

I took a razor and carefully cut a little notch into it, very soft, shiny as silver, or lead?

Anyway I am intrigued and wanted you guys input.  I have never dug a nugget made of silver so I have no idea what one looks like and how it could be distinguished from lead.

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Take a look and thank you for your help.

Doc

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2 hours ago, DOC said:

I took a razor and carefully cut a little notch into it, very soft, shiny as silver, or lead?

Hey Doc, it's probably either lead or babbitt material.  If it had melted in a camp fire and cooled in the ashes it might have taken some of the junk in the pit.  You should be able to distinguish it between the heavy and lighter materials by weight.  I have seen both glass and alum. take the ash patina.  Brass just turns black.   

   Old Tom 

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Have you done a specific gravity test?  The only thing this would point me to is if its off the charts heavy, then maybe its platinum.  Pure platinum is supposed to be soft, but as mixed with another metal it hardens quickly. Silver is slightly less dense than lead, but with any impurities in the metals I don't think that would be conclusive.

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Looks like the same lead I find. Although the stuff I find is mostly 45-70 but the patina looks the same. I agree with Adam, the silver I’ve always found has always been black to a dark grey.

Edited by Desertpilot
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I find lead that old in the mother lode country with the same deep white coat - desert lead normally isnt so deeply coated. So your first guess of lead is correct. Could be some sort of poured babbit material which is mostly lead anyway. By the price from Kitco, your 9.4 grams of lead is worth almost two cents. I actually save all my lead and every couple years cast fresh bullets with it - a friend of mine has the set up to do that.

No way is silver - silver tarnishes to black, not white.

I've dug plenty of electrum as well, its not electrum either. Only stuff with a high percentage lead gives that white lead oxide-carbonate coating.

Did you know way back in the dark ages when Doc was a boy they manufactured that white lead coating on purpose by the ton? That is what they used as pigment to make white paint from, hence the old lead based paint from the early 1950s and older. Now you know.......

LeadPaint1.JPG

Edited by Reno Chris
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