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Ribbon bar construction

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You'll find if you put a magnet on it that it is copper colored flashing on the steel. (I don't think I've ever seen it on aluminum parts, might be chemically impossible.) That's a fairly common attempt to reduce the rusting this thin metal was liable to, what with being out in all weather and sealed up under sweaty overcoats and what not.

The copper colored flashing is less common than the nickle finish which actually made rusting WORSE rather than being any protection. But "coppering" seems to have been a better choice, since I can't recall ever seeing corrosion on one flashed like this.

Can't comment on the bar as a whole without seeing it, but nothing wrong with this as period metal-work.

The backing plates and the individual tabs were often mixed and matched, with one being steel and the other copper flashed, or all nickled, or all copper flashed. There was even thrifty use of ancient WW1 era field gray painted leftover stock. Nobody cared about the bits that didn't show.

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