A method for providing an anhydrous route for the synthesis of amine capped coinage-metal (copper, silver, and gold) nanoparticles (NPs) using the coinage-metal mesityl (mesityl=C.sub.6 H.sub.2 (CH.sub.3).sub.3 -2,4,6) derivatives. In this method, a solution of (Cu(C.sub.6 H.sub.2 (CH.sub.3).sub.3).sub.5, (Ag(C.sub.6 H.sub.2 (CH.sub.3).sub.3).sub.4, or (Au(C.sub.6 H.sub.2 (CH.sub.3).sub.3).sub.5 is dissolved in a coordinating solvent, such as a primary, secondary, or tertiary amine; primary, secondary, or tertiary phosphine, or alkyl thiol, to produce a mesityl precursor solution. This solution is subsequently injected into an organic solvent that is heated to a temperature greater than approximately 100.degree. C. After washing with an organic solvent, such as an alcohol (including methanol, ethanol, propanol, and higher molecular-weight alcohols), oxide free coinage NP are prepared that could be extracted with a solvent, such as an aromatic solvent (including, for example, toluene, benzene, and pyridine) or an alkane (including, for example, pentane, hexane, and heptane). Characterization by UV-Vis spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy showed that the NPs were approximately 9.2.+-.2.3 nm in size for Cu.degree., (no surface oxide present), approximately 8.5.+-.1.1 nm Ag.degree. spheres, and approximately 8-80 nm for Au.degree..