Silver

For much of British history, silver coins were struck to the Sterling silver standard of 0.925 fine (11 parts silver to 1 of alloy). Exceptions to this were during the reign of Edward III when the fineness dropped to 0.833 (from 1335 - 1343) and that of Henry VIII when the fineness was reduced in 3 stages to 4oz 2dwt between 1544 and 1546 in an attempt to boost the royal coffers. On his death in 1547, continuing financial necessity demanded the currency remain debased. In 1551 it was further reduced to 3oz 2dwt, or a little over 25% pure. To restore confidence in the currency a return to the old silver standard was made over the next 9 years. There was a small reduction between 1578 and 1582 from 0.925 fine to 0.921 fine. Despite the presures and temptations of the Civil War (1642-6), the coinage was almost without exception struck to the correct standard. In 1920 the standard dropped to 0.500 fine and silver currency production ended in 1946.











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