One of the biggest rewards in metal detecting is investigating a new find. Digging around (pun) to research what you found and understanding the history can be as rewarding as the monetary value.
The excitement is in the mystery, the history and value.. You can find some golden coins that you can sell online for a few dollars or a unique collectible item like creed sterling, whose value you don’t even know.
The creed sterling medallions are religious medals containing the image of a cross, Jesus Christ, Saint Christopher the Virgin Mary or Saint Anthony. These medals typically consist of sterling silver, and folks believe that anyone wearing them is blessed or can keep you safe.
Metal Detecting Tips: If you’re targeting silver, I’ve got a guide for finding silver coins. Many of the techniques I detail there will help you to find Creed Sterling. A Complete Guide to Finding Silver fin A Guide to Finding Silver Coins
Several types of creed sterling medals are out there, with some believed minted as early as the 1800s. This article will elaborate more on creed sterling silver medals. We’ll also show you how to determine if sterling silver makes your medal.
What Is a Creed Sterling Medal?
Creed sterling medallions are unique medals believed to bring luck or keep us safe in our journeys. They’re inch-thick religious medals with a symbol of St. Christopher, St Andrew, St. Michael, or Jesus Christ on the front. They are twice as big as a quarter penny, with the most common medallion, especially among the US Army and Navy, being St. Christopher’s medallion.
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Types of Creed Sterling Medallions
1. Saint Christopher Creed Sterling Medallion
The Saint Christopher Creed sterling medallions are religious medallions with Saint Christopher’s image on the front and the phrase “protect us.” They were common in the past, especially among the soldiers traveling from England to North America. Even most soldiers who participated in the American wars wore these medallions.
Folks who wore it believed they wouldn’t be killed while traveling, in battle, or doing something dangerous. It served as a protection charm for soldiers serving their country and was quite popular in the past. Most soldiers who served in the American Wars wore them to battle, and they were pretty unique and symbolic to them.
Generally, different types of Creed sterling silver medallions are clues of a wearer’s occupation, gender, religion, and even national background. As aforementioned, St. Christopher’s medals are the most common religious medals as he was considered a protector of travelers. Some of the oldest ones had a ship symbol on them with a Latin inscription “in tempestate securitas.” (source)
2. Jesus Christ Creed Sterling Medallion
Another popular creed medallion is the one with the image of Jesus Christ’s head with a thorn crown on the head. These pendants have a silver chain you can wear on the neck, and folks believe they can be a source of their blessing. (source)
3. Miraculous Creed Sterling Medal
The front side of this medal has the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the words,” Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.” Many believed the miraculous medal was to be a source of blessings, and anyone wearing it was blessed.
Over the years, these medals have evolved, but they’re still symbolic, and their popularity has grown beyond the Catholic religion. It’s also adopted by folks from other religions, which is why they’re common. Other standard medals include Saint Michaels and Saint Andrew’s creed sterling medals.
Why Is St. Christopher’s Creed Sterling Medallion Common?
It’s believed that one day Saint Christopher carried a child, unknown to him, across the river. And before reaching the other end, the child told him that he was Christ. Therefore, he is considered the patron saint of travelers, which is why travelers wear them around their necks. (source)
Currently, these medals are made using sterling silver and can be valuable to the owners. And the older they’re, the more valuable they will be. After all, most folks believe that their medallions have kept them safe over the years while in battle or traveling.
Saint Christopher’s medallions are pretty sentimental to soldiers, and most wear them everywhere they go. Others who have lost them can give anything to have them back. In the past, surfers wore them or gave them to their spouses as a symbol of going steady. It has remained a sign of connection to the sea for over half a century.
What Is the Creed Sterling Medallion Made From?
The Creed sterling medallions are made using sterling silver, a silver alloy containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals like copper. Generally, silver is prone to tarnishing, but the copper in this metal alloy reduces tarnishing. Other elements in sterling silver are boron, silicon, platinum, zinc, and germanium. (source)
These medallions are pretty ancient, with some worn as early as the sixteenth century. The modern ones come from a company known as Creed Jewelry, which was established after the Second World War. The company specializes in making high-quality Catholic rosaries and religious medallions.
Therefore if you’re lucky, you may get some of these ancient medallions that can be quite valuable to collectors. Unfortunately, several low-quality medallions use steel; therefore, determining if it’s genuine sterling silver can be challenging for most folks.
Several medallions in the market are weaker metals that don’t last long. The fake ones are not valuable and tend to wear out or get defaced faster.
How Can You Determine if It’s Made from Sterling Silver?
There are several ways to determine if your creed sterling is genuine and even where the manufacturing occurred. Some of the most common methods include:
Look for the Quality Mark
When examining if it’s genuine, you should look for the quality mark stamped at the back, denoting its purity. (source) However, in the US, the stamp of purity is not mandatory. If the manufacturer must add one, they should also add your hallmark.
Sterling silver from the UK contains a stamp of a lion and a town mark, date letter, or duty mark. In the US, the markings vary from “sterling,” S925″, and “925” to “.925.” (source) In other parts of Europe, like France, manufacturers mark genuine sterling silver jewelry with Minerva’s head. Therefore, if it has any of the above marks of authenticity, then it is genuine.
Determine if it’s Magnetic
Silver is a non-ferrous metal, just like platinum and gold, so if you’re still trying to figure out if it’s real sterling silver, you can run a strong magnet over your medallion. If the medal sticks to the magnet, it’s not sterling silver. After all, it could be polished stainless steel intended to look like sterling silver.
Conduct an Ice Test
Generally, silver has a high thermal conductivity rate; therefore, it can conduct heat extremely fast. You must dip the medallion in a bowl filled with ice cubes for 10 seconds. Silver will become cold to touch within seconds if it is silver. On the other hand, a non-silver item won’t feel cold to touch within seconds of being dipped in ice water.
Perform a Nitric Acid Test
Professionals use nitric acid to determine if a jewel is genuine or an imitation. With this method, you should first nick a small part of the creed sterling medallion, pour a drop of nitric acid, and examine it for a few seconds.
If the medallion produces a creamy color, it consists of sterling silver. But if it turns green, it is an imitation and may not be valuable.
The tap test is a reliable method that is quite common among silver metal detecting enthusiasts. When you tap sterling silver, it will produce a bell-like ring.
Another reliable test is the smell test. Pure silver doesn’t have any smell, so you can hold it close to your nose and smell it for a few minutes. If you notice any strong smell, it contains copper and can be sterling silver. Unfortunately, the amount of copper in sterling silver is relatively low to produce any odor.
Is Creed Sterling Valuable?
|Description Creed Silver Medallion||Value and Link|
|Vintage Creed Sterling Silver St Christopher||$25.49 (eBay)|
|Antique Creed St. Mary Miraculous||$24.99 (eBay)|
|ANTIQUE CREED STERLING SILVER SUPER HIGH RELIEF MARIAN||$225.00 (eBay)|
|DESIGNER SIGNED CREED PENDANT MIRACULOUS MEDAL MARY||$145.00 (eBay)|
Creed sterling medallions have sentimental value to their owners. Veterans can pay a considerable amount to get their St. Christopher creed sterling medallion back. You can also find a collector on eBay who is willing to pay a massive amount of cash for it.
Remember, the older they are, the more valuable they will be, so before dismissing it, you should examine it for authenticity. It may even be over a century old, and antique sterling silver is quite costly. Their price on eBay can be as low as $16 and as high as $150.
Looking for some “How To” metal detecting articles? I’ve got you covered
- Metal Detecting Digging Tools – Tells you all about shovels, scoops and how to dig a plug.
- Where are the Best Places for a Beginner to Metal Detect? – Just like the title says, this article points the beginner to the highest probability places.
- Can You Metal Detect on BLM Land? – So many people have asked me about BLM detecting I had to write this article.
As religious medals, creed sterling medallions are believed to be protective and can even bless the wearer. Therefore, they have been quite popular among Catholics, soldiers, surfers, and travelers. These medallions use sterling silver which can be quite costly; remember, antique sterling silver tends to be very valuable. Therefore, you shouldn’t throw a creed sterling medallion away; instead, research its exact worth.
David Humphries, Writer and Creator of METAL DETECTING TIPS. After borrowing my son’s detector and finding $.25. I felt like a treasure hunter. FREE MONEY! I was seriously bitten by the metal detecting bug.
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- Marjorie H. A. et al., Numismatic Archaeology of North America: A Field Guide, https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=3MseDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA162&dq=The+Meaning+Behind+the+Saint+Christopher+Medal&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiGpNT48bL7AhXWWqQEHRW1BK4Q6AF6BAgEEAI#v=onepage&q=The%20Meaning%20Behind%20the%20Saint%20Christopher%20Medal&f=false/ accessed November 15, 2022.
- Wikipedia contributor Saint Christopher, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Christopher/ accessed November 15, 2022.
- Wikipedia contributors, Sterling Silver, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterling_silver/ accessed November 15, 2022
- Kennon Young, How to know if something is sterling silver, https://www.wikihow.com/Know-if-Something-Is-Sterling-Silver/ accessed November 15, 2022.
- YouTube contributor, Sterling Silver Religious Medals, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFoS3ehvlO4&t=21s/ accessed November 15, 2022.