Author Topic: German silver  (Read 2721 times)

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Offline bruce61813

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German silver
« on: March 01, 2009, 03:51:46 PM »
I just checked and 'German Silver' is our old friend copper-nickel , the old cupro-nickle and sometimes has zinc in the alloy. Originally i was used as an imitation for sterling silver, hence the name. There never seems to be anything new under the sun.

Bruce

Offline a3v1

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German silver
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2009, 04:20:30 PM »
I just checked and 'German Silver' is our old friend copper-nickel , the old cupro-nickle and sometimes has zinc in the alloy. Originally i was used as an imitation for sterling silver, hence the name. There never seems to be anything new under the sun.
@ Bruce,
The former German Democratic Republic (DDR) has issued a number of commemorative coins in Cu-Ni-Zn. They themselves called it "Neusilber" (new silver) or "Argentan".
Regards,
a3v1
Over half a century of experience as a coin collector.
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Money is like body fat: If there's too much of it, it always is in the wrong places.

Offline Figleaf

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German silver
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2009, 04:40:20 PM »
I am afraid not. German silver is a name used for a number of alloys that may or may not contain silver, but it doesn't include copper-nickel. The alloys are usually softer than copper-nickel, so the coins often look more worn. Craig, Yeoman and KM use billon as an equivalent for German silver. Example of coins with low silver content covered by these terms are Mexico Y 63-65, 25 centimos, 50 centimos and 1 peso 1950-1953. Examples of coins containing no silver in the same category are Switzerland Y 20-22, 5, 10 and 20 rappen 1850-1877.

Peter
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Offline chrisild

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Re: German silver
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2009, 06:18:44 PM »
Now that is odd. According to "my sources", Neusilber/Argentan/German Silver does not contain any silver at all but is a copper-zinc-nickel alloy. See these links for example:

"Legierung aus 50-70% Kupfer, 15-40% Zink und 10-26% Nickel, teilweise noch mit Zusätzen an Blei oder Mangan"
http://www.reppa.de/lex.asp?ordner=n&link=Neusilber.htm
"eine gebräuchliche Nickel-Kupfer-Zink-Legierung"
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neusilber
"Moderne Legierung aus 62% Kupfer (Cu), 20% Zink (Zn) und 18% Nickel (Ni)"
http://www.numispedia.de/Neusilber

Whoever doubts that will be hit with my copy of "Das große Münzlexikon". More than 500 pages, about A4 size. That'll hurt. ;D Oh, and that encyclopedia also says "Legierung aus Kupfer (55 bis 67%), Nickel (11 bis 13%) und Zink (25 bis 32%) mit Bleianteil von 2,5% ..."

Christian

Offline Figleaf

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Re: German silver
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2009, 07:24:57 PM »
I should have mentioned in my previous post that the terms are highly unclear, so it's better to avoid them. As my examples show, usage in other sources is different. I would personally use CuNiZn for the Swiss coins and low grade silver for the Mexican coins. Not precise either, but an improvement on German silver (slightly derogatory, not necessarily silver), Argentan (a brand name, I believe), neusilber (not new, not necessarily silver) or billon (used for vastly different purposes, from French monnaie noir to invalid coins (in old Dutch laws).

I once co-authored an article on this subject, but as my co-authors couldn't agree on any text, it never got published.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Harald

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Re: German silver
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2009, 08:34:52 PM »
(snip) Examples of coins containing no silver in the same category are Switzerland Y 20-22, 5, 10 and 20 rappen 1850-1877.

Peter

Not true...
The above coins contained 5%, 10% and 15% silver (the balance being Cu, Zn and Ni, indeed a sort of Neusilber). The term used for the metal is "Billon". Also almost all cantonal coins of the period 1803-1848 contained at least traces of silver. According to the laws the lowest fineness was "1/2 Denier" (means a copper coin with 1/24 or 4.2% of silver).

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Harald

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Offline bruce61813

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Re: German silver
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2009, 10:54:04 PM »
I think the term itself comes from German use of the copper-nickel in the 18th century as a replacement for sterling silver. The original alloys came from China, they referred to it as silver copper, but the Germans refined the processes and compositions, hence the 'German Silver' tag. It was used as a strong stable base for electro-plated eating utensils.

Bruce

Offline chrisild

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Re: German silver
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2009, 12:02:41 PM »
The city of Magdeburg has just started selling an "Editha Taler", a medal commemorating the 800th anniversary of the cathedral. Mintage is 800, and one piece costs 800 cent. Anyway, it is advertised as piece aus Neusilber, einer Legierung aus Kupfer, Nickel und Zink ...



The version in actual silver is a little more expensive. ;)

Christian