How Can You Tell If A Statue Is A Bronze Or Brass?

August 17, 2022

Long ago, an alloy of copper and tin, bronze was used to make statues, weapons, and sculptures. It was hard for the artists and sellers to indulge in any fraudulent activity during the formation of these items because these were sold to officials and nobles.

However, now, you might be easily scammed by the sellers as it is not that easy to distinguish a valuable metal such as bronze from a cheap substitute such as brass. To help you with that and to make you more vigilant, consider the factors given below that determine how original a bronze sculpture is.

Deceiving Outlook

If you have been collecting bronze sculptures for a long time, then you are an expert at determining and distinguishing real bronze from brass.

Experts in this field already know that a protective layer called patina provides the bronze statutes with a shiny outlook.

This patina might be painted on the surface of the item, but you can still find your way out of it. Scratch the item with your nail to reveal the color that is settled beneath it.

If you notice a reddish gold color or a yellowish color, then you need not worry about the authenticity of the item. You should, however, look for other alternatives if, upon scratching, you notice a blackish color settled beneath the patina.

This blackish color comes out as a result of using brass instead of bronze. In some cases, the item you are looking at is extra glossy. This again should alarm you because, despite the patina layer on bronze sculptures, these items are not excessively shiny.

Scammers might even tamper with sculptures that hold significant value. If you want to purchase authentic sculptures of Mary and Joseph, you must be careful.

Flexible Flesh of Statues

It is pre-established that bronze is a hard metal. It cannot easily break down and cannot bend easily, either. This is why the sculptures can withstand the damage made over time.

However, if you have been scammed by the seller, then upon poking the statue, you will be able to surpass the flesh with a little pressure. Another clever way of determining whether you are being fooled by them is by heating the object.

Bronze items can withstand extreme temperatures, but that is not true for brass items as it is a soft metals. You can try to provide heat energy by lighting a candle or a matchstick near it.

If the item heats up and starts melting after some time, then you know that they have not used bronze in the formation of the item. The melting point of hard metals cannot be achieved by a mere matchstick or candles.

Weight or Size of the Sculpture

Considering that brass is a soft metal, it tends to weigh lesser than bronze. If you have purchased bronze sculptures and items before, you would be able to compare the weight of these items quite easily.

If the weight is too light, then there are obvious chances of a scam, but if the weight is a little too heavy, even then, the chances of you being scammed are high. This is because sellers replace bronze with iron to make it heavier. Your best resort will be to take someone who is an expert in this field if this is your first time purchasing an expensive bronze sculpture.


These are a few factors that can help you in drawing a line between bronze and brass statues. You must make sure that the seller is reliable by first asking around about them. These tricks would help you in making the scammer look like a fool, and they would be more careful about their dealings moving forward.

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