Item: Set of 6 Spoons
Make: J.M. Barrows of Tolland, Connecticut
Composition: Coin Silver (90%)
Dimensions: 5 1/2” L
Condition: Very good. Wear is consistent with age. Some areas of wear, discoloration, and tarnishing. Each of these spoons were hand forged and engraved, so they vary slightly but are an intentionally matching set.
Details: Sterling silver (also known as standard silver) is what jewelry and silverware are traditionally made from, which is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Coin silver is an alloy of 90% silver and 10% copper. Coin silver is a uniquely American type of silverware created by the colonists in an effort to avoid all things British. European coins were melted down and cast into flatware and serveware. It is highly collectible, especially in its earliest forms. In colonial America, silversmiths decided to forge their own silverware and goods to avoid patronizing British purveyors of sterling silver. They collected useless European coins, mainly Spanish reales and melted them down. Because coins were an alloy of metals, their silver content was lower than that of sterling, only 90 percent. America did not adopt the Sterling standard until 1870. Coin silver was made in the United States from the earliest colonial times until just after the Civil War. There were some coin silver manufacturers who continued to produce after the Civil War, but most silversmiths changed to the use of the much more popular sterling silver. (Information source: Dennis, Mame: Home Steady September 2017)
These lovely spoons are a piece of American history and are engraved with the initials “M.E.”