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Oroide.  A brass alloy resembling gold in color and brilliancy widely used in striking low-cost coin-like and token-like medals. A typical alloy of oroide (pronounced

O-row-ide) is 85% copper, 15% zinc or tin. It is malleable, easy to strike, and does not readily corrode or tarnish. It is sometimes known as artificial gold, golden bronze, or goldene; and often mistaken for bronze gilt. Infrequently spelled “oreide” in England. Items struck in oroide can be electroplated quite successfully, and – like brass – such an electroplated item would bleed yellow should the plated metal wear thin.

The first use of oroide in America was in 1862 by John Adams Bolen for his George Washington Avoid the Extremes of Party Spirit Medal. Many low-cost storecards, and medals (particularly for expositions) were struck in this composition as well as tokens and give-away coins – always issued in coin finish to preserve its gold-like color. U. S. Mint Superintendent Oliver C. Bosbyshell once called a Grover Cleveland Columbian Expo Medal (Eglit 1) struck in oroide as “cheap brass.”

The use of this alloy grew in the 19th century and into the 20th century. It is still used in the 21st century for an inexpensive composition in simple imitation of gold.  See composition (2).


excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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