There are some incredible uses for silver and copper--as pretty much anyone who owns a 7k Metals coin is aware. We put delicate, detailed designs on them all the time, but did you know that these precious metals actually have properties that help kill germs that touch them? It’s true! Copper and silver are antimicrobial and antibiotic!
Now this isn’t new research by any means. The first realization of the antimicrobial properties of copper date back to 1852. A French doctor named Victor Burq put it together when studying the curious immunity to cholera outbreaks in copper factory workers in Paris. Between two factories and three outbreaks, not one of an estimated 600 workers got sick. The only thing they all had in common? Copper.
Luckily, in the modern day it’s easier to figure out the whys and hows of these things. Research has shown that it all comes down to ions that rest on copper’s surface. These microscopic little balls of electricity zap through the cell membranes of bacterias and viruses, effectively killing them. This process can take anywhere from hours to minutes.
Copper has been proven to work against a lot of various, nasty diseases like norovirus, E. coli, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, and even some coronaviruses. The strain of coronavirus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic has actually been tested against copper. It only lasted 4 hours before sizzling out. Copper for the win!
Silver has been recognized as a medicinally helpful metal for centuries. People used to ingest it in medications since they found it to be such a beneficial metal. Unfortunately that didn’t work out so well since it is still a metal, and it caused a condition of the skin called Argyria. This caused the skin to turn blue/gray and there’s no known cure. Not to worry, though. We’ve gotten smarter about our silver uses. Nowadays, it’s only medical supplies like catheters or breathing tubes that are usually lined with silver to help with sanitation and to reduce risk of infection, as well as some topical creams for burns.
In silver, it's nearly the same process that copper uses to destroy germs and disease-carrying pathogens, only slightly slower. Silver ions go for a more artful attack. They target the enzyme systems of the cell membrane and, slowly but surely, choke the life out of it.
So, beyond being valuable and beautiful, precious metals like silver and copper are powerful germ killers! Now you can have even more peace of mind when adding new coins to your collection, knowing they’ll never store unwanted germs on their faces, no matter if someone accidentally picks them up with dirty hands!