Questions About Silver Tokens
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6 posts in this topic

For a token to be designated as silver by NGC, what's the minimum percentage of silver that it must contain?  

Does NGC consider one minimum percentage number for all tokens, or do different types of tokens warrant percentages?

To start this topic, I'm looking for specific answers to a few general questions. Thereafter, I will have specific questions about a specific, major-cool token.  :cool: 

 

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Hello Tansineer,

The percentage of silver will vary piece to piece. Nearly all "silver" tokens/medals have 90% or higher silver content. There are a few, such as the Louisiana purchase official medal (HK-299) that have a lower percentage, at 75% silver and 25% copper. Beyond that, we cannot recall pieces with lower percentages. Usually, if the piece registers a lower percentage, the piece is simply silver plated, and will require a specific gravity test to confirm the interior composition.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Lisa B .... Thanks for the informative and kindly reply. Given what you wrote, if a token tests at 80% silver, NGC would deem it "silver" as opposed to "silver-plated." BTW, I have a Civil War era McClellan campaign medal, listed by Sullivan, and it tests at 80% silver, using an XRF analyzer. These medals were struck in different metals, like copper and "white metal."

Does NGC test tokens for metal content, be they silver, nickel, zinc, etc?. If so, do you utilize an XRF detector or do you use another method?

 

Edited by Tansineer
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NGC returned a submission I made. The token tested SILVER in three specific gravity tests and was certified by another TPG as such. I subsequently tested it with an XRF Analyzer, with the result being 80% silver. I included the silver info with my NGC submission. It was returned to me in a body bag, marked "silver plated." NGC obviously never tested the piece to confirm what I sent.

What service was rendered for the fee? Can someone kindly explain this certification process to me that I may comprehend how it's supposed to work?

.

 

 

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On 8/9/2021 at 1:30 PM, Tansineer said:

NGC returned a submission I made. The token tested SILVER in three specific gravity tests and was certified by another TPG as such. I subsequently tested it with an XRF Analyzer, with the result being 80% silver. I included the silver info with my NGC submission. It was returned to me in a body bag, marked "silver plated." NGC obviously never tested the piece to confirm what I sent.

What service was rendered for the fee? Can someone kindly explain this certification process to me that I may comprehend how it's supposed to work?

.

 

 

The xray beam in an XRF penetrates below the surface of the sample.  The penetration can be 100 microns or more depending on the X-Ray energy used by the device and sample composition.  This is deep enough to go through many types of plating (for example, the copper plating on a Lincoln cent is approx 8 microns).

You said your XRF results showed 80% silver.  That only paints part of the picture.  What was the remaining 20%?  How much copper, tin, and zinc?  It's entirely possible that the silver is coming from a plated layer and the remaining signal is coming from the bulk (which you expect to have lower values because it's deeper).  

In addition, an 80% silver alloy seems to be an unusual composition. I would think that standard 90% coin silver or sterling planchets would have been much easier to obtain than a custom alloy.  

While I don't believe the XRF data you provided can definitively confirm that it's plated, I don't think it's unreasonable to make that conclusion, especially if the remaining material has a lot of bronze components.

Just the thoughts of someone who uses XRF, XRD, and SEM/EDS compositional data on a regular basis.

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Lisa B. mentioned that a so-called dollar token that tested at 75% silver was not deemed plated. What's the difference then, if mine tested at 80%? Regardless, NGC did NOT test the token. How on earth can any TPG deem a coin "plated" without testing it?

Many older Canadian coins are 80% silver, Are they plated? The same question applies to their 50% silver coins and the 40% Kennedy halves, does it not?  

Will a silver-plated token/coin test as silver in a specific gravity test; in this case, three times? One of the reasons I bought the token was that it had a "silver ring" to it when pinged by another coin. I also note that it's well-worn and grades fine condition; in all probability, carried as a pocket piece for years. If this well-worn piece was plated, it stands to reason that some silver would have worn off, does it not? 

 

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