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Thread: Thrift Store Jackpot

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Thrift Store Jackpot

    My Daughter asked me to give her a lift to a local coffee shop this morning. The parking spots on the street were full, but there was a parking lot at the thrift store across the street. While she went to get a sandwich and a cup of Joe I decided to check out the thrift store to see if they had anything made of pewter. Score! I picked up this pair of candle stick holders. Normally $16 for the set, they were offering a 20% seniors discount because it was Tuesday. Got both of them for $13. Weighed them when I got home and it comes out to just about $3 a pound for 4.5 pounds of pewter. And, extra lucky, unlike things that are too cool to melt down like beer steins and fancy stuff, these are butt ugly so no guilt involved.
    Attachment 320644

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Joe504's Avatar
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    Please check any markings before you melt them, some pewter stuff is very expensive

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  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    Joe which markings should we look for as I am getting ready to melt around 30 pounds picked up from yard sales this last summer

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Markings: "made in India". No guilt involved - it's getting made into ingots.

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I’ve acquired a fair pile of pewter over the years and I’ve never seen real pewter made in India. I hope they are real though. It would be a good score.
    Last edited by imashooter2; 12-05-2023 at 07:40 PM.
    ”We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, yet they are still lying.” –Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

    My Straight Shooters thread:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...raight-shooter

    The Pewter Pictures and Hallmarks thread:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-and-hallmarks

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 405grain View Post
    My Daughter asked me to give her a lift to a local coffee shop this morning. The parking spots on the street were full, but there was a parking lot at the thrift store across the street. While she went to get a sandwich and a cup of Joe I decided to check out the thrift store to see if they had anything made of pewter. Score! I picked up this pair of candle stick holders. Normally $16 for the set, they were offering a 20% seniors discount because it was Tuesday. Got both of them for $13. Weighed them when I got home and it comes out to just about $3 a pound for 4.5 pounds of pewter. And, extra lucky, unlike things that are too cool to melt down like beer steins and fancy stuff, these are butt ugly so no guilt involved.
    Attachment 320644
    Are the bases weighted? Seems like a lot of pewter for candle holders. Hope that you did well!

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Do they actually have "pewter" on them somewhere? I ain't seen "made in India" pewter either. Could be ley pewter.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master brassrat's Avatar
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    I have never picked up any India items when buying pewter

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    The bases are hollow. I hit a piece with a propane torch and it melted right away. The "columns" are really thick - there's only a 1/2" hole through them.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master

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    A hole, as in bolted together?
    ”We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, yet they are still lying.” –Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

    My Straight Shooters thread:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...raight-shooter

    The Pewter Pictures and Hallmarks thread:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-and-hallmarks

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Check around the edges of things and in the centers of the bottoms. Sometimes the stamping is very faint and needs a good light to see. Sometimes the word is “Zinn” instead of “Pewter.” A look through the “Hallmarks” thread will show the types and trademark formats if the words are illegible.

    Pewter has a look and feel that you learn to pick up on after a little practice. I have a couple cups that fooled me early on, but they sit on the workbench, accumulating the nuts, washers and little stuff that would otherwise never be around when needed. So the money wasn’t wasted, and it was a donation to Goodwill, anyway.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    I think you guys are right - this may not be pewter. If it is it seems like it's some kind of low grade. Pencil test shows around 14 to 15 BHN. I'll just call it mystery metal. It melts well, and looks like it will cast good, so I'm going to cut it 50/50 with lead and use it to cast up a batch of 38 special/357 mag plinking bullets. For $13 I can't complain.
    Attachment 320692

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy muskeg13's Avatar
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    Amongst my last thrift store "treasures" were several unmarked heavy candlesticks that proved to be weighted with plastic or some other resin. They made an awful mess when hit by the torch flame. It wasn't worth trying to salvage the thin (maybe) tin exterior coating, so they ended up in the trash. The money lost was seen as a Goodwill donation.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    Might want to do a muriatic acid test for zinc.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I don't mix anything with my lead until I know for sure what it is. 18-25 is about normal for good pewter but it can test as low as 13 .
    Grumpy Old Man With A Gun....... Do Not Touch !!

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Sorry to be right on this one. I had my fingers crossed for you.
    ”We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, yet they are still lying.” –Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

    My Straight Shooters thread:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...raight-shooter

    The Pewter Pictures and Hallmarks thread:
    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...-and-hallmarks

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Lots of folks look for 50/50 or 60/40 bar solder to add a little tin to the mix. Nothing wrong with it. The amount of tin your expecting to add ain't as high as you expected. You might try casting a couple bullets from it alone and check your weight compared to high lead content bullets. Check your melt temp too. High tin content alloy melts at a much lower temp than lead or zinc alloys.

    Anybody that's been on the hunt for pewter has gotten "burned". You just hope it ain't an expensive lesson and repeat it.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master WILCO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imashooter2 View Post
    I had my fingers crossed for you.
    Me too!
    "Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face!" - Mike Tyson

    "Don't let my fears become yours." - Me, talking to my children

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  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    Cast a few into known bullet molds and weigh them. If these "test boolits" are lower in weight than expected, you can "gauge" the metal hardness by the pencil test to see if it is zinc, or tin, or lead, or an alloy. Weigh the casts to check for "under-weight" and by how much to calculate some percentage of lead.

    At room temperature, the density of lead is 11.342 grams per cubic centimeter [0.410 lbs/in³], while the density of tin is 7.287 grams per cubic centimeter [0.262 lb/in³].
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Sorry to hear this! I'm another that was hoping that you made a good score. Around these parts Pewter is like wheelweights are in other places. I just don't find any in any quantity.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check