Because major silver lodes were not discovered in America until 1859, silversmiths melted down outdated silverware and silver coins.
Coin Silver flatware and holloware was made in the South until the United States adopted the "Sterling" silver standard in 1868. The new standard required that there be at least 925 parts silver in each piece.
Coin Silver was composed of 850-900 parts silver and was alloyed with copper. This made Coin Silver items look similar to sterling, but there were a few key differences. Since Coin Silver has a lower silver content, it has a matte patina. Coin Silver is also harder and more brittle that sterling.
Coin Silver is highly prized in the South, and the antebellum southern states had many fine silversmiths. I have compiled an abbreviated list of silversmiths from South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama; and I have included city names and dates when possible.
Hayden and Gregg, 1830's, Charleston
Alexander Young, 1784-1856, Camden
James Spear, Charleston
John Mood 1792-1864
Humphrey P. Horton
Cornelius H. Rikeman
William and Archibald Cooper, Louisville
George W. Stewart, 1840's, Lexington
George W. McDannold, 1840, Mt. Sterling, Winchester, Covington
John Kitts, 1850's, Louisville
Henry Hudson, 1850's
Joseph Draper 1830's-1850's
Asa Blanchard 1770-1838, Lexington
James Conning, 1813-1872, Mobile
James R. and Daniel Poor, Selma
Samuel Bell, 1820's-1830's