So, you have this wonderful sculpture you bought from Ebay. The price was great. They shipped it quickly and without any damage. It was listed as bronze; it looks like bronze, but is it bronze? Here are some simple ways to identify the metal.
Magnet: First, using a magnet eliminate the possibility of it being steel or iron. I always carry a magnet when I go to antique shows.
Weight: It is very helpful when you are shopping around to pay attention to the weight of items. Note whether it is solid or hollow inside. Items made of pewter or pot metal will most often be lighter than bronze.
Color: The patina on a bronze sculpture is rarely natural unless it is an ancient piece. Man made patina’s have been around for many hundreds of years. The patina and the sculpture style was once associated with a particular artist. The chemicals and processes used were kept secret. Later, patina’s were identified with a particular foundry.
Bronze patinas vary greatly. In addition, copper plated, painted and lacquered pieces can look like bronze with a patina. Look on the bottom or inside if it is hollow. Here you may find metal that is unfinished. If it is possible scrape the piece with a knife, key or file. Bronze can look anywhere from yellow to pink almost a copper color. Any coloring that is silver or white shows the item is not bronze.