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Being a trail-blazing, field-clearing pioneer in the settlement period must have been most trying when the time came to produce currency, for there was no small currency - except coins carried over from Europe.

The newly emerging nation, meanwhile, was working out her system of currency by trial and error, the latter of which was abundant. Not until 1792 did America get its first real system of money with the Coinage Act. Meanwhile, foreign coins remained in active circulation until 1857.

It was such silver that owners collected to take to the local silversmith for melting to create table wear, serving pieces and other items. In time these pieces were to become among the most prized antiques.

Kentucky silversmith Asa Blanchard set up shop in Lexington prior to 1808. Like many early Kentucky settlers, Blanchard came from Virginia. His active business soon prospered and, together with young apprentices, Blanchard turned out a large number of elegant—and ambitious—silver objects.

His training remains a mystery, although his AB cartouche is characteristic of an English mark. In addition to producing more common silver forms such as beakers and spoons, Blanchard's workshop, which was located at the corner of Mill and Short Streets, created exquisite tea sets, sugar tongs, watches, and clocks. In the August 28, 1818 issue of the Kentucky Gazette, Blanchard advertised that he had for sale "COFFEE AND TEA POTS, SLOP BOWLS, SUGAR DISHES, CREAM EWERS, PITCHERS, CANNS, TUMBLERS, LADLES, AND SPOONS OF ALL KINDS." This notice indicates not only the wide variety of items sold by Blanchard's shop, but also that, in Lexington at this time, tea services were being sold by the piece rather that as a complete set.



Headley-Whitney Museum
4435 Old Frankfort Pike - Lexington, KY 40510
Phone: 859-255-6653 - Fax: 859-255-8375
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