Coin Silver — Over a century of trust and tradition
Coin Silver is a category of flatware and hollowware made in the U.S. from the time of the colonies until 1868. It was not until 1868 that the United States adopted the “Sterling” standard that required manufactured silver to be at least 925 parts silver. Prior to that time there were no guidelines and facilities to mine, refine, and fabricate silver for consumption in the states were limited. Silversmiths used whatever was available to manufacture silver flatware and hollowware. Coins used in commercial transactions became a source for silver and were melted down for other later uses.
The silver content in those early coins varied from 850 to 900 parts silver, according to the coin’s origin. Coin silver was mixed or alloyed primarily with copper. Since the difference in the alloy is slight, items made from coin silver look and feel similar to sterling. The main difference is that “coin” silver is actually harder and more brittle than sterling.
Today, coin silver is very collectable, particularly in the southern cities. Collectors search for pieces made in their respective state or city. All early American silver is commanding huge prices.