Author Topic: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??  (Read 9321 times)

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Offline PandaQuest

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1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« on: November 06, 2015, 03:08:32 PM »
Hello! I'm a little puzzled with my 2 Medals that look so different with the Finishes, then the rest of the same medals being offered on eBay? My Medals have more of a copper finish, and the other medals definitely look more Bronze. Is there a Copper and Bronze strike or maybe it's a re-strike?? They could be fake I guess, but I bought them from a reputable dealer... I don't think it's a lighting issue, there wouldn't be such a contrast.

Although the Copper finish looks to give the artwork more depth, IMHO.

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!

My Medals are the first photo. The rest are examples from eBay.


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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2015, 03:29:12 PM »
Could yours have been stored better? Over time copper medals take on a darker hue as a result of ?oxidation. Look at the details of the Wall on yours. I can't see them clearly. Are they the same with details you see on the other examples from eBay?
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Offline PandaQuest

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2015, 03:47:30 PM »
Hopefully these help for better examination.

Offline PandaQuest

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2015, 03:51:24 PM »
From what I understanding these coins were not struck, they were cast poured. Maybe someone with more understanding of the process of minting these medals can clarify.

Offline PandaQuest

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2015, 08:56:33 AM »
 I sent the link to a friend/member who is very knowledgable in Chinese Numismatics to take a look at the medal, this is his response! Btw I bought the medals in January of 2012.

 "I'm sorry to tell you but the one you bought in the year of 2012 is a fake,not genuine.
       Not only the copper(in China we usually prefer call these copper not bronze),but also the silver have the fake,such as the photos(fake1,fake2) following,the characteristics in common are the sand holes on the surface,this is not the craftwork of the Shanghai mint,Private copied,these fakes were struck around the year of 2012.also the color on the surface is not the craftwork of the Shanghai mint"


On the bright side of things, I have a really cool and expensive, paper weight for my desk!

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2015, 10:30:55 AM »
Do you remember who you bought them from? Can you return the items?
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Offline SANDAC

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2015, 10:58:58 AM »
This is a thread talking about the 1991 10th anniversary:
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=11058.msg64128#msg64128

There is also a side-by-side comparison on the Gallery:
http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?action=gallery;sa=view;id=509

I know it only discussed the silver version, but the same mold for silver seems to be used for the copper as well.

Offline PandaQuest

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2015, 12:06:19 PM »
Yes I do and he is still around. But it was three years ago, and the title was not clearly deceitful IMO. "1991 The panda issued 10y copper 60mm medal China coin".

The only part I feel was sneaky was listing copies/Fakes at $100 A PIECE!!   N14  N6

I originally bought 3 and gave one away to a friend, but I don't feel bad lol, because he's the same person that recommended I buy them!  N27

It was a major error on my part, I should have done my DD before clicking BUY!

I least now I can play with them and not keep them looked up in a safe for nothing!!


Offline Russ 736

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2015, 12:44:28 PM »
I am in the middle of the same situation with NGC. I have two graded bronze of this medal. They have a distinctive bronze patina common to bronze medals. The copper version ( just purchased a few weeks ago from highly reputable dealer ) has the flat oxidized copper appearance that your copper has. I questioned NGC when they identified it as bronze on their description in the grading system. They then " tested " it and concluded that it was not copper. This has happened to me in the past with other medals. I believe mine is genuine as does NGC. Rather than starting an argument that I can't win, I'm going to wait until I get it back from grading and then send it back for a correction of the label. I will include pictures of what a bronze looks like and hope for the best.

Russ

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2015, 03:30:18 PM »
All genuine 1991 anniversary medals were struck, not cast. To the best of my knowledge there are no cast coins, commemoratives or medals made by the China Mint, period.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollector.com

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2015, 03:35:25 PM »

I know it only discussed the silver version, but the same mold for silver seems to be used for the copper as well.

The copper medal came first. Martin Weiss, the then-owner of Panda America, liked the design so much he asked the China Mint to make the silver and gilt versions for him. These were then sold as part of Anniversary sets. Some sets were sent wholesale to other coin dealers who may have repackaged them, but Panda America was the original source for 100% of these.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
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Offline Russ 736

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2015, 04:23:17 PM »
Peter,
         You mention that the copper came first followed by the silver and the gilt. You don't mention the brass version. Can I assume this was just an omission on your part? I still contend that there are two distinct medals that have completely different appearance that are being called bronze by NGC. Do you have any thoughts or comments as why the difference in appearance?

Thanks for your help
Russ

Offline PandaCollector

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2015, 06:32:17 PM »
Peter,
         You mention that the copper came first followed by the silver and the gilt. You don't mention the brass version. Can I assume this was just an omission on your part? I still contend that there are two distinct medals that have completely different appearance that are being called bronze by NGC. Do you have any thoughts or comments as why the difference in appearance?

Thanks for your help
Russ

I may have a better answer for you soon. I'll be at the Beijing show (BICE) today and may see the retired assistant Shanghai Mint director. He was in charge of production and would be the best person that I can think of to answer this question. Martin Weiss was not involved with the production of the original copper medals.

Best wishes,
Peter Anthony
China Pricepedia
www.pandacollector.com


Offline Hippanda

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2015, 07:45:42 PM »
I think I recall reading somewhere that some medals had a different metal content, which made them appear darker
and more copper-like. I suspect its semantics, and what is called "Copper" is actually Bronze (which includes a great deal of copper primarily)

1984 Song Dynasty Insect and Grapes, and Birds and Lychee. Labelled Bronze, but looks the same color as Flowers Full Moon medals.

1981 Blooming Flower Full Moon Dragon/ and Phoenix medals, labelled brass but very dark reddish colored.

It'll take some time for me to look and try and find it.

In the meantime, the difference between brass and bronze: caveat:  colors can be more reddish for either, depending on the percentage and types of alloys used.

Brass

Brass is mainly an alloy that consists of copper with zinc added. Brasses can have varying amounts of zinc or other elements added. These varying mixtures produce a wide range of properties and variation in color. Increased amounts of zinc provide the material with improved strength and ductility. Brass can range in color from red to yellow depending on the amount of zinc added to the alloy.  

Bronze
Bronze is an alloy that consists primarily of copper with the addition of other ingredients. In most cases the ingredient added is typically tin, but arsenic, phosphorus, aluminum, manganese, and silicon can also be used to produce different properties in the material. All of these ingredients produce an alloy much harder than copper alone.

Bronze is characterized by its dull-gold color. (Edit: But can be very reddish too). You can also tell the difference between bronze and brass because bronze will have faint rings on its surface.
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2015, 08:43:18 PM »
I don't know if I am in the same situation as PandaQuest so I'll appreciate your input with regards to the two color variants of the 1987 Great Wall medals that I have. One each was bought from reputable eBay sellers. I haven't thought seriously about the possibility of fakes until now. So are both genuine, fake or one is and one isn't? Please assist me here. Thanks!  N8
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Offline poconopenn

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2015, 11:58:13 PM »
I don't know if I am in the same situation as PandaQuest so I'll appreciate your input with regards to the two color variants of the 1987 Great Wall medals that I have. One each was bought from reputable eBay sellers. I haven't thought seriously about the possibility of fakes until now. So are both genuine, fake or one is and one isn't? Please assist me here. Thanks!  N8

Please post a higher resolution picture for each coin, both sides.

Offline poconopenn

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2015, 12:04:34 AM »
Red copper (purple copper, 紫铜): High purity copper with less than 1% other metals. Example: 1993 5 Yuan copper panda.

Brass (yellow copper, 黄铜): Cooper-Zinc, zinc can be as high as 40%. Example: 1983, 1984 and 1985 1 Yuan proof pandas and Great Wall Jiao coins.

Bronze (Green copper, 青铜): Copper-tin, copper-lead, or copper-aluminum. Example: US Lincoln cents.

White copper (白铜): Copper-nickel (color depends on the copper content). Example: 1980-1986 1 Yuan Great Wall circulated coins and 1984-1990 1 Yuan circulated commemorative coins.

IMO, 1991 medal is made with bronze with a high content of copper. The toning is very similar to Lincoln cents.

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2015, 12:15:47 AM »

IMO, 1991 medal is made with bronze with a high content of copper. The toning is very similar to Lincoln cents.


Agreed - and its labelled Bronze, along with Great Wall medals. Medals labelled copper are relatively fewer in number.

A good question is : why are some Great Wall medals a reddish bronze, and some more yellow bronze?

I think I recall Frank translating Rare Medal to say that subtle differences in metal color is one way to differentiate original brass strikes from later restrikes.

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2015, 12:48:01 AM »
Please post a higher resolution picture for each coin, both sides.

OK. I'll upload a file per post due to size limitations (approx 2.4MB each).
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2015, 12:49:22 AM »
1987 Great Wall Medal Darker Hue Front.
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2015, 12:50:21 AM »
1987 Great Wall Medal Darker Hue Back.
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #21 on: November 08, 2015, 12:51:14 AM »
1987 Great Wall Medal Lighter Hue Front.
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2015, 12:52:33 AM »
1987 Great Wall Medal Lighter Hue Back.
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2015, 01:04:03 AM »
Lighter hue one details look less crisp:  lighting ? Or ?
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2015, 01:11:37 AM »
I am uploading the 1985 Great Wall Medal Plum Tree medal for comparison.

Front side:
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2015, 01:13:16 AM »
1985 Great Wall Medal Plum Tree medal Back.
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2015, 01:14:43 AM »
Lighter hue one details look less crisp:  lighting ? Or ?

Or Restrike, Or copy???
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2015, 07:53:01 AM »
Peter,
         You mention that the copper came first followed by the silver and the gilt. You don't mention the brass version. Can I assume this was just an omission on your part? I still contend that there are two distinct medals that have completely different appearance that are being called bronze by NGC. Do you have any thoughts or comments as why the difference in appearance?

Thanks for your help
Russ

Russ,
I put in a research request as no one had an immediate answer. I'll post when I get some definite information. FWIW, I don't recall a brass version, but for a base metal medal it is entirely possible.
Best wishes,
Peter

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2015, 12:27:24 PM »
1987 Great Wall Medal Darker Hue Front.

The iPad pictures are certainly good enough for coin identification but marginal for fake identification even though your pictures are better than 95% of iPad/iPhone pictures out there.  A DSLR is a better choice for fake study with more precise focus and better resolution to see the surface details.  You probably purchased yours from ggoodluck, if so mine is also purchased from ggoodluck a while ago (although not in as good shape as yours).  The white balance are accurate with calibrated card.

edit:  I don't meant to imply that people should not post questions about fake coin using images from iPad/iPhone.  A well composed iPad/iPhone picture is good, a better composed DSLR picture is even better.  We are blessed with top notch collectors who are willing to take the time to answer questions about fakes.  We should do our best in providing the highest quality images we can to help them. 

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2015, 02:38:01 PM »
The iPad pictures are certainly good enough for coin identification but marginal for fake identification even though your pictures are better than 95% of iPad/iPhone pictures out there.  A DSLR is a better choice for fake study with more precise focus and better resolution to see the surface details.  You probably purchased yours from ggoodluck, if so mine is also purchased from ggoodluck a while ago (although not in as good shape as yours).  The white balance are accurate with calibrated card.

edit:  I don't meant to imply that people should not post questions about fake coin using images from iPad/iPhone.  A well composed iPad/iPhone picture is good, a better composed DSLR picture is even better.  We are blessed with top notch collectors who are willing to take the time to answer questions about fakes.  We should do our best in providing the highest quality images we can to help them. 

You are right that there cannot be any comparison between the quality of the image produced by handhelds and SLR/DSLR cameras. Even amongst the latter group of cameras "some are more equal than others". The point that I have raised elsewhere on this forum (http://china-mint.info/forum/index.php?topic=11855.0) is that a majority of the population utilizes the omnipresent handhelds for most of their photography needs. It is very convenient and may be the only thing at hand to grab a photo of a rare item including coins. So coin enthusiasts who don't have SLRs of any type can still participate in the coin photo process but build up their skill set. My lighting is still not the best; a work in progress.

Your point is still well taken; I guess I'll have to haul out my clunky camera bag and start taking some REAL photos!  :biggrin:
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Offline poconopenn

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2015, 03:12:01 PM »
Usually, toning for coin/medal starts from the edge of the devise. IMO, medals posted by keepontrying! and pandaquest were cleaned by dipping in silver toning removal solution. Medal from SANDAC can still clearly see the heavily blue toned edge and surface. Most experience dealers know the trick to conserve the copper, brass and bronze and make them look fresh. Medal from pandaquest appears to be over-dipped. 1985 plum tree medal from keepontrying! still shows some blue toning at the edge and surface, but, IMO, it was dipped sometime ago.  Based on the rough surface and color of the device, IMO, lighter hue Great Wall medal from keepontrying! is not genuine. Most likely, it was made with other copper alloy.  The weight and dimension of this medal may not be shown the difference vs. the dark hue medal, since they are made with copper alloy with copper as major component. However, it should be checked.

NGC and PCGS can readily check the metal composition to determine if the medal is original, restrike or counterfeit, since, based on the toned color, they are made with different copper alloys.

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #31 on: November 08, 2015, 04:56:27 PM »
Usually, toning for coin/medal starts from the edge of the devise. IMO, medals posted by keepontrying! and pandaquest were cleaned by dipping in silver toning removal solution. Medal from SANDAC can still clearly see the heavily blue toned edge and surface. Most experience dealers know the trick to conserve the copper, brass and bronze and make them look fresh. Medal from pandaquest appears to be over-dipped. 1985 plum tree medal from keepontrying! still shows some blue toning at the edge and surface, but, IMO, it was dipped sometime ago.  Based on the rough surface and color of the device, IMO, lighter hue Great Wall medal from keepontrying! is not genuine. Most likely, it was made with other copper alloy.  The weight and dimension of this medal may not be shown the difference vs. the dark hue medal, since they are made with copper alloy with copper as major component. However, it should be checked.

NGC and PCGS can readily check the metal composition to determine if the medal is original, restrike or counterfeit, since, based on the toned color, they are made with different copper alloys.


Thanks a lot Poconopenn for examining the medals and providing the powerful insight. As it happens I sent off the three medals (and other items) to NCS/NGC yesterday after taking the photographs. I'll either call them or send an email to notify them of the concerns although they most probably should be expert at detecting all you described. I'll share the findings when complete.

This explains the profusion of lint I noticed on the coins during photography. All the time I had these medals they had been in the intact OMP; I only cut the OMP yesterday for the first time to take the photos before shipping them out. So the OMP is also fake!

The implications are troubling. Someone along the chain of custody cleaned those coins. Were the sellers unaware of the fact that the medals were cleaned/conserved? Did they "conserve" those medals themselves? Did the color difference not suggest to the seller that the medal may be fake? What else are buyers not being told? The coin selling business is based a lot on trust.

I suppose I now have to dig out the rest of my ungraded coins and medals to inspect (what do I know?!!!) and start sending off to NCS+/-NGC. You never know what you are sitting on!

Once more thanks a lot Poconopenn, and all others here at CCF. Great detective work!
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #32 on: November 08, 2015, 08:11:15 PM »
Attached photo shows the 1987 Great Wall in sealed plastic package as I received it.  The package is slightly yellowed but still pliable.  The verdigris are already present inside the package.  I do not know whether it is the original OMP.

Offline Russ 736

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2015, 11:06:21 AM »
I contacted Ggoodluck ( E Bay seller ) and asked him about this series. He tells me that there are only three types. They are the silver, brass gilt and copper/bronze. It seems that it is common to refer to copper and bronze as interchangeable with many large medals from the official mints. NGC has decided that this one is bronze so my quest for a fourth variety of this medal is a bust. I still want to know why the two examples that I own look so different so I may try and get NGC to recognize the difference. Sometimes I suspect that I have too much free time.

Russ

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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2015, 09:55:36 PM »
I found out from discussions with my China source that not all aspects of medal minting were mechanized prior to 1990. Specifically items such as the bronze 1985 and 1987 Great Wall medals were hand tinted during production. They were immersed in dye followed by scrubbing. This can explain the color variation of the medals but additional information is required to further clarify this issue.
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Re: 1991 Panda Medal Copper or Bronze??
« Reply #35 on: December 07, 2015, 10:30:53 PM »
I have an update to matters previously discussed here. See attached table showing grading profiles for the 1985 and the two 1987 Great Wall Medals.

Firstly, all medals were deemed authentic by NGC even after I messaged them to make sure they were examined carefully (I was not teaching them how to do their job!). Secondly one of the 1987 medals was determined to be copper while the other was classified as bronze.

The grades were relatively poor but these were not the same items I complained about a few days ago. MS 65 and 66 are probably good enough given their state pre-conservation. However, the third medal was determined to have a scratch on the obverse thereby making it ineligible for a numerical grade. I only opened the pliable plastic OMPs to take photographs just prior to mailing out for grading. Given the evidence that the medals had been dipped previously, the OMP they were sold in were definitely not original.

Thanks for the feedback and assistance. Will post photos when I get the medals.
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