AMERICAN SILVER MINES

The metal has some interest to Americans apart from its workmanship and its fashioning into usable articles, for the silver mines of South America are of great age and were known to the ancients as well as to the Spaniards who imported so much treasure from the New World in the early days. Mrs. Lowe, in her work on " Old Silver " tells of the gold and silver vessels found in the graves of the Incas, who it is now well known had an advanced civilisation, casting silver in stone moulds. Many ancient people had large possessions of gold. We read in the Bible that in the days of King Solomon " gold was not of much account in those days," and it is said of the Incas of America that their kitchen utensils were made of gold and silver. Travellers found immense stores of silver in America, and, as Mrs. Lowe tells us, the Spaniards sent from Peru between the years 1550 and 1660, " no less than four hundred million ducats in value of gold and silver." It is noteworthy, too, that it is from America that the world has obtained its greatest supplies of silver, and there was in former days barter and plunder in silver, and wars in which treasure was captured and put to other uses. Spanish dollars of American silver have often changed ownership, and these coins have been melted down and fashioned by the silversmiths of the Old World into usable vessels, and then in later times taken over to the other side of the Atlantic. Even yet search is being made for the lost treasure ships of the Armada and bullion is being made into silver plate.