When tested with an XRF instrument the copy / replica / “toy” “Pieces of Eight” coin pictured here (an item which was purchased at the Oregon Renaissance Festival / Faire in the summer of 2019) had the following readings:
- Chromium (Cr): 204 +/- 127 ppm
- Antimony (Sb): 1,497 +/- 213 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 985,300 +/- 11,000 ppm
- Nickel (Ni): 2,158 +/- 240 ppm
As a result of these readings (and the Antimony reading specifically) this item should NEVER be considered a toy and should not be played with by children (of any age.)
This item was tested for a minimum of 60 seconds and tested multiple times to confirm the results. Testing is done with an XRF instrument used in “Consumer Goods” mode. Results are science-based, accurate and replicable. The XRF used is the same instrument used by the United States Consumer Product Safety commission for testing consumer goods for toxicity.
Antimony is a known carcinogen and should not be in items used by children.
Not only do children by these and use these, they are not sold with any warning. They are sold at stores everywhere like game stores and toy stores in the “pirate” section or the “D & D” section. Children (of all ages) who buy these are also highly likely to use them as a fidget, holding them, rubbing them between their fingers and keeping them in a pocket, bringing them to school, on playdates, etc.
I know this is how they are played with and handled because my 11 year old son bought this coin this summer (with his own spending money and without my permission, after I expressly told him he was not allowed to buy it because it likely had high levels of Lead or Antimony) and my older children have managed to come across these often. I immediately confiscated the coin from my son and set it aside for testing and told him he would not likely be able to play with it. He actually bought a set of three coins (I think they were $1 each) and the two other coins were slightly different colors of metal (golden and copper) and those did not test positive for toxicants – but this one did.
An even bigger concern… this is about the size of a nickel. This makes it not only a hazard because it contains an unsafe level of a known carcinogen, but it is also a hazard because it is small enough to be swallowed. With my children (and their various levels of pica behavior) I cannot risk having something around like this that might end up in their mouth. It is just too much of a concern – even though they are older and supposedly “know better,”
My tip for a safer choice:
- Buy your kiddos some vintage silver coins instead… they are real (authentic) treasures that children truly appreciate and they ae also not too expensive (like silver nickels and dimes) and just as exciting as something like this “piece of eight.” [They may have some level of toxicants however, and should be handled accordingly – with appropriate hand washing. No coin should ever be given to a small child who might swallow it of course.]
- Alternately you can buy one single piece like this and use it to make replica coins out of golden or silver Fimo clay by pressing the designs from this coin into small discs made of the Fimo clay and then cooking the coins in your oven (and then throw away the original coin.) Or – even better – craft your own “pieces of eight” from scratch – with your kiddo’s initials carved or pressed somewhere in the design. Here’s my Amazon Affiliate* link to purchase Fimo clay for this project (my kids love Fimo clay projects!!! Here’s a link for golden clay, here’s another link to golden clay with sparkles(!) and here’s a third link for silver clay.
But I really want to get my kid a souvenir from the Renaissance Faire…
I always strongly caution against purchasing any kind of metal charms or fidgets at any festival or faire because, more often than not, they contain at least one toxicant (Lead, Cadmium or Antimony.) If you must purchase something as a souvenir or token from one of these events please consider making sure the item you purchase is sold and marked as being sterling silver (if this is the case it should have the “925” mark indicating sterling silver somewhere on the body of the piece.)
Some additional reading that may be of interest:
- More coins we have tested and reported on (there are ten examples up on the website right now, make sure to click “next page” after you have checked out the first 8!)
- Some examples of coins that tested positive for Arsenic
- Some examples of coins that tested positive for Lead
- Some examples of coins that tested positive for Cadmium
- Some examples of coins that tested positive for Mercury
- Some examples of coins that tested positive for Antimony
As always, please let me know if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them personally as soon as I have a kid-free moment. Thank you for reading and for sharing articles from LeadSafeMama.com / TamaraRubin.com.
Owner – Lead Safe Mama, LLC