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Lucy, Mensa Member
Category: General
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Experience:  Expert Internet Researcher and Trivia Master
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I have three old (1900s) coins/amulets from Thailand which

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I have three old (1900s) coins/amulets from Thailand which I think may be brass. Is there a non-destructive test I can do at home to find out if they are brass? They are fairly discoloured so surface finish is not obvious
There are a few different things you can try. First, brass has a distinctive odor. You could try rubbing the coins between your fingers for a few seconds, then smell them (you should probably wash the coins before doing this). Second, a magnet will not stick to brass. Unfortunately, there are other metals that also won't stick to a magnet, such as gold. But those are two very easy tests. If a magnet sticks, or the coins do not have a distinctive smell, they are probably not brass.

You could also weigh the coins to determine the density. Put the coins in a cup of water that was filled to the brim. Capture the water that spills over and weigh it. Weigh the coins and divide by the weight of the water they displaced to determine their specific gravity. If the coins weigh 8.4-8.7 times as much as the water, they are likely brass.
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