Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Southern Silver

There is nothing quite as lovely as a table set with china passed down from generation to generation.  Old coin silver is the perfect accompaniment to these dear old china patterns.

I pass the above sign almost daily and felt it time to learn more about this Southern tradition of silversmiths.

Major silver lodes were not discovered in America until 1859 so silversmiths of the time melted down outdated silverware and silver coins.  This coin silver flatware and hollow ware was made in the South until the "sterling" silver standard, requiring at least 925 parts silver in each piece, was adopted in the 1868.  With coin silver being composed of 850-900 parts silver, alloyed with copper, it looked similar to sterling, but its lower silver content gave it a matte patina.

The antebellum southern states had many fine silversmiths and coin silver remains highly prized in the South to this day.  Here are but a few...

James R. Poor, Selma, Alabama
Daniel Poor, Selma, Alabama
Knapp, Mobile, Alabama
Cornelius H. Rikeman, Georgia
Hayden and Greegg, Charleston, South Carolina
Joseph Draper, Kentucky
Samuel Bell, Tennessee

Asa Blanchard, Lexington, Kentucky
Alexander Young, Camden, South Carolina
John Mood, South Carolina
William and Archibald Cooper, Louisville, Kentucky
Frederick Marquand, Georgia
Humphrey P. Horton, Georgia

William Ewan, South Carolina
James Spears, Charleston, South Carolina
George W. Stewart, Lexington, Kentucky
Butler Bryant, Kentucky
Daniel Winchester, Kentucky
John Kitts, Kentucky

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