Details for Lead Alloy

This material should be used if the object looks leady, but is rather too light. Many lead alloys are alloyed with tin, but in most cases (because lead is cheap!) the lead content will be higher than the tin. The experience of the Museum of London is that it is pretty much impossible to tell when a lead/tin alloy is mostly lead, or mostly tin, apart from the weight. There seems also to be little significance in which alloy is chosen. Ancient 'pewter' is also a lead/tin alloy; the word 'pewter' can be used in the Description field.

Our first choice for a leady object is 'lead' rather than 'lead alloy'; this contrasts with a coppery object, when we use 'copper alloy' unless we are sure that it is reasonably pure copper. This is for two reasons: firstly because copper is normally deliberately alloyed, whereas fairly pure lead is quite commonly used; and secondly because the term 'lead alloy' is convenient to keep solely for these light lead-tin alloys which do not contain copper.

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Linked data

British Museum URI: 11095

Latest examples recorded with images

We have recorded 19,080 examples.

Record: IOW-33AFA6
Object type: MEDALLION
Broadperiod: MODERN
Description: An incomplete Modern lead alloy commemorat…
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Record: HESH-0B6B4E
Object type: SHOT
Broadperiod: POST MEDIEVAL
Description: One lead alloy shot / ball, of probable po…
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Record: HESH-0B401B
Object type: MUSKET BALL
Broadperiod: POST MEDIEVAL
Description: Three lead alloy musket shots / balls of p…
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Record: HESH-0A7467
Object type: SHOT
Broadperiod: POST MEDIEVAL
Description: One spherical lead alloy shot / ball of pr…
Workflow: Awaiting validationFind awaiting validation

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