Chinese silver Emperor Coins and bullion

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Chinese silver Emperor Coins and bullion
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Upon receiving my first set of Emperor coins I was slightly miffed that the exorbitant shipping costs weren't worth the value of the set.  I brought a piece to a coin dealership to ask its value.  "Nothing" was the answer.  I brought a piece to a jeweler to try to ascertain its silver content.  He assured me that it was silver, but without melting it down, he could not tell me its percentage.  I have since learned that the metal is Stannum.  My well-worn dictionary describes stannum as a silver-lead alloy, but other references describe it as lead-tin alloy.  I'm going with the optimist's view that it's silver-lead.  I have read that these coins are either 40%, 60%, or 80% silver.  At 40% they are worth the price paid...barely. 

I have just received my fourth set of Emperor coins.  They were offered at a fraction of the shipping cost previously paid.  Unlike other silver coins where the smart thing to do upon receiving them is to put them in airtight containers and lock them in a safe, these a person can play with.  They make a pleasant clinking sound when thrown together, and they have a nice weight to them(20 grams each).  Wouldn't we all like to do that with our Edmund Dante upon finding the treasure hoard? 

Bullion.  Tibetan silver bars.  Ingots.  These are a different story.  When I went to the jeweler, I brought a "silver" ingot along.  This one he said wasn't was too soft.  Perhaps more lead than silver.  It appeared to be painted silver on a heavy lead bar.  The bar is 4x1.5x.5inches and weighs more than my coin scale can handle.  I have four of them.  I have a larger ingot in the Chinese bullion style that is currently being used as an ashtray, but could probably be used as a boat anchor it's so heavy.  Someday I'll take it to my favorite Chinese restaurant and have the characters stamped on it translated.  Once again my optimist's view is that it's at least some percentage of silver and, therefore, worth the shipping cost.

My advice is that if it appears too good to be true, it is.



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