I purchased this at a flea market and haven’t been able to find any information about it. Does anyone know the marks? Is it old? Is it silver and copper or coin metal and copper? Is it hand or machine made? It is very heavy. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks!
Hello and welcome to the forum oldtoycar!
To me, the metal doesn’t appear to be sterling. Generally you will see a Sterling or 925 mark near the markings on the backside. No way to know unless you test the metal. Again to me, the concho belt appears to be a well made manufactured piece. Others may have a different opinion. I really like the look of your belt Thanks for sharing.
I also think it may be manufactured since it has a copyright symbol. I couldn’t find the other mark; maybe it’s a shop mark? It really has cool look to it, but I have no idea on value.
Welcome to the forum!
I also like the look of the belt. It looks like original stamping.
(sorry not really answering @Ziacat)
Looks like a commercially manufactured (not handmade or hand stamped) item, composed of inexpensive supply-store conchos. Today, conchos of this type sell for about $2 each, as reference.
You’d want to test for silver, but I’m estimating nickel or base metal.
@chicfarmer. Thank you for your response. I’m curious if it was an inexpensive supply store concho, wouldn’t it be lightweight and consist of only the “silver colored” material? This one has brass or copper on both the front and back loops and is heavy.
Thanks again for the response.
Thanks for the welcome and the info! I love how it looks so even if there is no value I will enjoy it.
Looks hand stamped to my Eye, but these could also be castings from handmade masters. Tandy leather uses findings made in this fashion. Hallmark looks like a stylized EM. You’ll need to test it to see if the non brass portions of the conchas are made of silver. Copyright notice just means whoever created it is at least halfway serious about protecting their intellectual property rights. To me this looks like a commissioned piece, or something someone made for themselves. I’d pull a couple of the conchas off and see if there is a hallmark or quality stamp underneath the brass mounting strips. They’d most likely be where stamping is less likely to affect the designs on the front side.
It would be extremely useful to know if the metal is silver or not. But there are many “antiqued” two-tone conchos for commercial sale, made of base metals, and can be heavy or light depending on the materials. An example is below. The copyright symbol is rare (at least in Native American work) on a handmade, one-off, silver item and as @Ziacat mentioned normally appears in commercially fabricated things.
The concha Chicfarmer posted is a good example of the type of items Tandy, and others manufacture. Most start with handmade masters and then cast from pewter or a similar low temp white metal and then plate with nickel and brass and antique to replicate the look of a well worn patina. They do a pretty outstanding job of capturing the look and feel of hand made.
Back when we were involved in litigation against Tandy, and Leegin for copyright infringement we tracked down the the (then) Taiwan manufacturing shop which made this type of item under contract, and visited them in Taipei. The owners were surprisingly very open, very nice, and were very helpful.
Thanks so much for the information. I guess I thought that because the backs have soldered copper, maybe they were not commercially fabricated. The marking and copyright symbol are only on the buckle; there is no mark on the rest of the conchos.
One telltale indicator in the photos is the green oxidation found in several areas of the different conchas you photographed. This can be either from the copper layer applied before the nickel and brass plating, or from the nickel plating itself. Both nickel and copper tend to develop a green oxidation over time. With nickel, this tends to occur from exposure to corrosives, like the acids in our skin.
Looking at the photos a bit more closely, the items definitely look cast, as there are telltale imperfections on the surface of the backs which are pretty typical in production casting.