Dating sterling silver hallmarks

Antique silver hallmarks have been used to control the quality of goods made of silver since the 14th century and the organisation that regulates the craft, Goldsmiths Hall, gave the world the term hallmark.This is to ensure it is of the required sterling silver standard and, provided it conforms to a standard, a series of symbols are stamped into each part of the item.Since 1821, the uncrowned leopard’s head has remained as the distinguishing mark of London.Used from the inception of the Sheffield Assay Office in 1773 , the Crown was the town mark of Sheffield.Scottish hallmarks have been regulated by statute since 1457 but the earliest known example dates only from 1556 to 1557.The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh was thought to be in the 1490’s and the earliest surviving records date from 1525.The hallmarking of Irish silver began towards the middle of the 17th century.The mark of origin is the Harp Crowned and it appears with a date letter and maker’s mark. Simply learn to recognise those Antique Silver Hallmarks.

Depending upon the font used for the series of date letters, the letter i, j or l is usually omitted to avoid any possible confusion between them.These tests are carried out only by an Assay Office, of which there are four in the UL – London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh. Gold and silver hallmarks Understanding British or English hallmarking since 1238 Dating Silver by Assay and Fineness marks Quickly decide whether the your object is pre 1975 and its original Assay office.The Hallmarking Act 1973 changed on 1 January 1999 and allows articles of higher and lower standards of fineness to be sold. Consumers may now choose from a much wider range of goods but to continue to benefit from the same level of protection. Using a British Hallmark Guide How to quickly identify gold and Silver hallmarks that you see in car boot sales and markets.By tradition, it is said that Birmingham and Sheffield tossed for the marks derived from the sign of the Crown and Anchor tavern in London – where the promoters of the two new offices met.On the occasion of the Assay Office’s bicentenary in 1973, Birmingham struck a special anchor with a ‘C’ on either side of the stock, to indicate two hundred years.

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A false silver hallmark has always been treated with the utmost severity by the law and in the past a silversmith was pilloried for their first offence, where they would be pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables.

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