March 31, 2015 by twinoaksstudio
Happy spring everyone!
Over the past few years, I have been
hoarding collecting silver, mostly silver-plated flatware, some sterling, and more recently coin silver.
I love the history behind coin silver. US households in the late 1700s and early 1800s had a great distaste for anything British, especially their coins. This currency was typically melted by local silversmiths, and “repurposed” into simple flatware. The purity of old silver coins is 90% silver, 10% alloy (i.e. copper), as pure silver is too soft a metal to be durable enough for frequent handling. “Early” coin silver (pre-1800) is especially rare, as damaged flatware was typically remelted into newer pieces. A silversmith’s hallmark was brandished into the back of each piece, and sometimes, but not always, the word “COIN”. Coin silver flatware began to fall out of favor when Tiffany’s began adopting the British “Sterling” standard in the 1850s. In the 1860s, silver mines were discovered in Nevada, and other US silver manufacturers followed Tiffany’s lead.
This set of spoons is my latest acquisition.
The stamp on the back, simply “FARLEY”, I have traced to Charles Farley (b. 1791-d. 1877), a silversmith in Portland, Maine in 1812-1830. He had a partnership with another silversmith (Eleazer Wyer – great name!) from 1814-1818. I am unsure if this specific hallmark is from the earlier part of his independent career, or the later. That information I can’t find just yet.
Coin silver is more delicate than modern flatware. The coin flatware is thin and prone to dents in the bowl. These pieces are in pretty good shape for their age.
My favorite part of coin silver pieces is the monogramming. The detail around the lettering is intentional, done by hand, and common for older monograms. I can’t imagine producing such a beautiful, ornate monogram on such a small piece of silver!
I will admire these beauties for the duration that I have them, which may not be long. They will be up for sale, along with many more of my collection, at Lucketts Spring Market, May 17 & 18. Tickets are now on sale for their newly added VIP shopping day, Friday May 16th.
I hope you enjoyed my recent find!
Thanks for stopping by!