This standard -- 92.5 parts pure silver to 7.5 parts copper alloy, which strengthens the softer silver -- was established by the English during the 12th century and later adopted by most of the silver-making world, including the United States in 1868Many people think of coin as much less valuable than sterling, but it has only about 2 percent less silver and, in some cases, may even contain more.
Because of its age and beauty, a piece made from coin can sometimes be worth more than American sterling.
The first step in deciphering these marks is to learn what kinds of silver are out there.
Gold-Traders has compiled a gold hallmark identification wizard to help decipher the markings that are stamped on your item. If it was made in a country that adheres to the Convention on the Control and Marking of Articles of Precious Metals (otherwise known as the Common Control Mark), you should find a set of hallmarks / stamps.
These markings will be pretty small, so you'll need a magnifying glass to see them properly!
Hallmarks are small markings stamped on gold, silver and platinum articles.
A British Hallmark means that the article has been independently tested and guarantees that it conforms to all legal standards of purity (fineness).