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The metal is actually an alloy (two or more metals mixed together); usually containing 85-99% tin and the rest copper. Lower-grade pewter has a bluish color because lead is also added. Although there is little practical use for the metal today its still a popular material for decorative objects because it is easy to produce while retaining an elegant texture.Copper is renowned for its ability to withstand the natural elements; it is the only material that doesnt rust. Instead it oxidizes - which means it forms a unique green cover when exposed to oxygen (think of the statue of liberty). Besides aging gracefully copper doesnt physically deteriorate unlike other metals. The oxidation layer makes the metal stronger which reduces the need to replace any door knockers made out of copper.
The finish should match the rest of the hardware. Door knockers not only come in many finishes they are available in many types of metal. The most stable metal and probably the most common is brass. Brass is easy to machine and cast into shapes. It polishes into a bright gold like finish or satins easily and is easy to maintain. Brass also electroplates readily. This allows it to be nickel or copper plated to simulate pewter and bronze finishes. Because brass is non ferrous it will not rust. It will tarnish though for this reason a good lacquer finish is needed or your purchase will look terrible in a very short time.
Urn door knockers can be found that are mounted to the door by one of two methods. One method uses screws that pass through the knocker and screw into the door. The other method uses bolts or other hardware that goes entirely through the door. Either method works well on wooden doors but the through the door method works best on other doors. It seems that I have answered my own question. The urn door knocker is popular for many good reasons the least of which is that they really look great on the entrance way to a home. The selection of a door knocker may be a bit more difficult than you imagine.