I put together this example of my favorite place setting on an old rustic dining table I adore! It reminds me of my Grandmother’s home and all the fun parties we had. We would eat, drink, sing, laugh- those are my fondest memories. My Grandmother would make delicious pancakes dripping with syrup and serve them on her old table with her beautiful silver, believing in putting out the best as often as possible. Like those syrupy pancakes, my own vintage collection drips heavy with wonderful memories of times past.
Buying tips for your next flea market visit or antiquing trip:
*When looking for sterling silver flat pieces you always have to flip the flatware over and read the stamp on the back of the handle or edge of the knife, it should always say sterling silver. If not, it is silver plated, which can wear off, or it might not be silver at all!
*When looking for coin silver, you will have to trust the person or store you are purchasing from. I can tell by looking at the flatware but I still always get it in writing that it is authentic coin silver. It has a special patina and a vintage “wavy” look to it, like handmade items often do. Like the vintage glass window panes you see in old buildings – you just know when you look at it!
Some interesting facts about Coin silver:
*The term Coin silver refers to American flatware that is not Sterling silver. The silver content of coin silver is slightly less than Sterling silver and is made with a copper alloy. It is usually 90% silver and can contain up to 10% copper- perhaps why the patina is so pretty. Then, as now, it is a precious metal and coveted by many.
*The namesake: Prior to the mid 1800’s there were no silver mines in the United States. All silver in the colonies came from Europe in the form of utensils, candlesticks, or as coin. An American silversmith wishing to make a silver piece would have to purchase bars of silver or melt down coins to achieve his finished product. He could literally reach into his pocket for coins that could be melted down to make his silver object. Hence the term: Coin silver.
Due to the the scarcity of silver back then, coin silver is fairly rare. With the recent increase in silver prices it has become even more scarce. Once the Sterling standard was accepted around the world, Sterling replaced Coin silver. I for one always look for it and cherish the coin silver I do possess. It is wonderful to think someone from colonial times has actually used the pieces and has passed them down as I will pass them down to my children! I especially like the engraved pieces, they are a wonderful part of our American heritage and a unique, beautiful part of history.♥
Connie Lincoln is co-owner of Manifest Design shop in Wilmington, NC.
200 N Front St
Wilmington, NC 28401