Nanocrystalline mixtures of Sn(II) and Sn(IV) oxide powders, potential gas sensor materials, are synthesized via a simple precipitation route using SnCl(2) as the precursor. Materials are characterized by powder X-ray diffraction, thermogravimetric analysis, UV-visible diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The ratio of Sn(II)/Sn(IV) in powders precipitated at room temperature, as well as the identity of the primary Sn(II) product (SnO or Sn(6)O(4)(OH)(4)), can be varied by adjusting aging time and washing procedures. The identity of the initial Sn(II) product influences the subsequent phase composition and degree of disorder in the tetragonal SnO(2) phase obtained following sintering in air. Analysis of the DRS absorption edge and long-wavelength (Urbach) absorption tail is used to determine the SnO(2) optical band gap and extent of disorder. SnO(2) obtained by heating the SnO/SnO(2) mixture at 600 or 800 degrees C has a smaller optical band gap and a broader Urbach tail than the analogous sample obtained from heating Sn(6)O(4)(OH)(4), indicating a more disordered material.