One should be careful of the term sterling silver coins. Sterling silver is an English term that applies to silver that is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. This is distinctly different to fine silver which is a minimum of 99.9 percent pure.
In silver coins one is looking for the fine silver, not the sterling silver.
Sterling silver originated in England round about the 13th Century, although there is some though that it comes from the Old French esterlin. Another theory is that the word originated in Germany from the word easterling which meant the grade of silver using in the local currency.
At any rate the important thing to remember when it comes to silver coins is that one is not looking for sterling silver coins but pure fine silver coins.
Sterling silver better refers to silver objects which have a hallmark that indicates the quality of the silver, the year of manufacture and the city in which the object was made.
The same basic system of establishing these facts by hallmark has been in existence in England for several hundred years and is still used today.
Establishing the authenticity of silver coins however is established by doing an appraisal of the coin by a reputable and experienced appraiser and having an certificate that establishes the quality, condition and value of the coin.
No coin should be described as sterling silver and if it is one should be careful as it is likely not a proper silver coin at all but possible a fake or counterfeit. If you want to see some English silver coins simply pop over the British Royal Mint Silver coins where you can find official silver coins and sterling silver items for sale.
This way and keeping in mind the above you will not be taken in when you see the term, sterling silver coins.