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What is Poor Man’s Silver? 

Since the 17th or 18th century, pewter has been known as the “poor man’s silver” because of its affordable price and resemblance to silver. It is darker, softer, and less reflective of light than silver, so it is fairly easy to distinguish the two. However, when pewter is highly polished, it bears a greater resemblance to silver, allowing homemakers the opportunity to display pewter as a show of wealth.  

What is Pewter? 

Pewter is an alloy made from tin, antimony, and copper. Silver is sometimes added to the alloy, although historically, it was predominantly tin and lead. Lead is not used for pewter today to prevent lead poisoning. The word pewter is thought to be a variation of spelter, which was originally a colloquial name for zinc and later used to refer to zinc alloys. 

Are there Pewter Coins? 

There are pewter variations of some of the early coins used on the North American continent, like the New Yorke in America Farthing or halfpenny token. These tokens were struck in brass, lead, and pewter in England and circulated through the colony of New York. They depicted Cupid, armed with a bow, as he approached a forest in pursuit of Psyche, the winged goddess, as part of the mythology of their love story. 

The first pattern coin struck in the United States was made from pewter. Although there is no record of the Continental Congress authorizing the 1776 Continental Currency dollar coin, some authors suggest it was replaced by the one dollar note.  

The Continental currency coin was designed by Benjamin Franklin. Its obverse features mottos like FUGIO (I fly) and MIND YOUR BUSINESS, along with a rebus, which is taken to mean ‘time flies, so mind your business.’ The coin’s reverse depicts a chain made of 13 links for each of the colonies and they were labeled individually. At the center of the reverse are the words WE ARE ONE. There were variations of this dollar in silver and brass, as well as coins depicting different spelling with the same design elements. 

Later, Benjamin Franklin designed the 1787 Fugio cent, which utilized many of the design elements of the Continental Currency dollar.  

The History of Pewter  

While it is known as the poor man’s silver, pewter was a prestigious material for its durability, ease of working with, and lower cost than silver.  

Pewter is thought to have been employed in the Near East since the Bronze Age. One of the first documented uses of pewter was found in an Egyptian tomb from around 1400 B.C.E. Both Egyptian and Roman culture utilized pewter for tableware and decorative purposes. In the Middle Ages, pewter found extensive use in Europe, where it served as a material for plates and other tableware before being replaced by ceramics and glassware. 

After pewter was replaced by stoneware like ceramics, it again found favor in the late 19th century as a decorative metal. Today, it is still used for decorative collectibles like figurines, coins, and plated jewelry. Athletic events like the U.S. Figure Skating Championship utilize pewter medallions for fourth-place contestants. 

Quick Guides to Investing

Step 1:

Why Buy Physical Gold and Silver?

If you are concerned about the volatility of the stock market, you’re not alone. The extreme highs and lows of the stock market often lead investors towards safe-haven assets, like bullion. Historically, the Precious Metals market has an inverse relationship with the stock market, meaning that when stocks are up, bullion is down and vice versa.

Step 2:

How Much Gold and Silver Should You Have?

This question is one of the most important for investors to answer. After all, experts suggest limits on how much of any types of investments should go into a portfolio. After deciding to purchase and own Precious Metals and considering how much money to allocate, one can then think about how much and what to buy at any point in time.

Step 3:

Which Precious Metals Should I Buy?

With the frequent changes in the market and countless Precious Metal products available, choosing investments can be difficult. Some want Gold or Silver coins, rounds or bars while others want products that are valuable because of their design, mintage or other collectible qualities. Also, collectors may shop for unique sets and individual pieces for their collections.

Step 4:

When to Buy Gold & Silver

After considering why, how much, and what Precious Metals products to buy, an investor’s next step is when to buy them. This decision requires an understanding of market trends and the impact of economic factors on precious metal prices.

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