I found this ring while metal detecting around an old cellar hole and was hoping someone could give me an approximate age. I researched the cellar hole so I am hoping to be able to figure out the name of the person who lost it.
No makers mark unfortunately… just stamped “coin” on the inside.
In the USA the term “coin” or coin silver denotes 90% silver and 10% base metal, such as copper vs. “sterling silver” that is 92.5% silver. Most solid silver items made prior to about 1860 were “coin” silver and “sterling” came into common use thereafter. Some coin silver was used well into the 20th century.
The house was built in the early 1700’s and was standing until the 1880’s. I know there was a possibility it was dropped by someone walking through the area after the house was already gone, but it is a pretty remote location and the chances of that are slim (I found it near the old well"…
Might there be a clue in the style or manufacture of the ring or in the stamp “coin”? Were most silver items after 1860 stamped “coin” or “coin silver” and how often was it used for jewelery items?
If I can narrow the age down to a 20 year window, I might be able to figure out the name of the person who dropped it from the research I did. A couple of families lived there in the 1800’s and they were all quite poor. The ring probably meant a great deal to that person and I think it would make it extra special if I could put a name to it.
Hi Jamie - there was never any uniformity of marks in the USA so it is next to impossible to date your ring from the available information, other than to say because of the “coin” mark it was probably made prior to about 1860.
Actually the opposite is more likely – it was made after 1860. The use of the word “coin” certainly predates 1860, but was not commonly adopted until sterling silver had become generally established at all levels of the trade and a need was seen for differentiation. The mark is often found on the factory produced jewelry goods that exploded out of manufacturing centers like Providence, Newark, and New Haven in the 1870s, which, given the style of the bright-cutting on this ring, is a much more likely dating.
There is also no makers mark so factory produced would seem more likely (at least I think).
I will assume the ring was made after 1870. Is there a specific period when coin silver fell to sterling for use in American jewelery? When did the manufacturing centers in Providence, Newark, and New Haven stop mass producing jewelery like this?
I am just trying to bookend a date to see if I can narrow the range down even further… and I am learning more about silver than I ever thought I would in the process. 8)
You have a good 30 to 40 year period past the 1870 date. At the turn of the century (19th), jewelry makers still offered identical goods in both standard, but coin goods had begun sliding off to the low end marketeers like Sears, Montgomery-Ward, and the like. That said, I would say you are probably safe in a decade block based on the incised, rather than incused, mark.