The date letter and the traditional fineness marks are no longer compulsory components of the hallmark. However, we believe that the date letter is a very important component of the hallmark, as it is the easiest way to date an item and research has shown that most of our customers still want to see the traditional fineness mark on the hallmark. Unlike some of the other UK assay offices, we do not charge any extra to apply the two non-compulsory marks. Those only wanting the compulsory marks applied should indicate this on the hallnote. Read more about the other legally recognised marks in the UK, International Convention marks, and Commemorative marks here. Also known as Maker’s Mark. This is the registered mark of the company or person that submitted the article for hallmarking. It is formed of initials of that person or company inside a shield shape.
The Story of English Silver
Silver Dictionary’ of A Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of vertu , a pages richly illustrated website offering all you need to know about antique silver, sterling silver, silverplate, Sheffield plate, electroplate silver, silverware, flatware, tea services and tea complements, marks and hallmarks, articles, books, auction catalogs, famous silversmiths Tiffany, Gorham, Jensen, Elkington , history, oddities In Scotland the craft was theoretically supervised by the Edinburgh Goldsmiths’ Incorporation, but in practice its influence outside the capital was limited and a plethora di unofficial Scottish Provincial marks was created.
London leopard’s head crowned until London leopard’s head uncrowned present. London lion head erased.
Stieff Date Marks – Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers’ Marks. Stieff Sterling, Baltimore – Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks.
Marks on precious metals have been regulated by law since ancient times. From pharaohs, Roman emperors and continuing today, fineness, or standard marks, have been used to guarantee minimum amounts of precious metal in relation to non-precious metal. At least that’s the theory. But while most governments strictly monitor standard marks, very few regulate marks not related to the content of precious metals.
It is perfectly legal, for example, to stamp silver with trademarks or brand names of companies no longer in business or whose trademark is no longer registered. A new piece marked Unger Bros. This presents obvious problems for those interested in antique and collectible silver and silver plate. Almost all the pieces we’ll be discussing are made for the antique reproduction trade.
The article will not include elaborate forgeries of museum quality silver made before or silver of other standards. We will focus on the marks found on reproductions of small decorative and novelty pieces such as match safes, sewing accessories, pill boxes, chatelaines, thimbles and similar wares. In America, articles marked sterling must contain a minimum of parts silver for every parts of material.
Expressed another way, items must be
Antique Silver Online from J.H. Tee Antiques Ltd.
Since then, there have been ten Assay Offices in the UK. There are four Assay Offices operating in the UK today. Assay Office Birmingham was established by Act of Parliament and was opened in Earlier practice could vary. From it is on its side for all metals.
Collectors aren’t always looking for pure sterling silver, per se, but they should be England’s system of hallmarks-a variety of official emblems stamped on silver to Laws dating to the 14th century established strict requirements for marking.
In Part I, I gave a brief history of the development of the British silverplating industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. Now I would like to offer some tips on how to determine whether a given object is silver, Old Sheffield Plate or silverplate. In England silver has been marked in some manner since the 12th century when it was first regulated by Parliament.
The marks made it possible to trace the maker and the place of manufacture. This helped to protect the consumer, for if it was determined that the silver object was not actually pure enough to be marked as silver, the culprit could be found and punishment could be meted out. As silver objects made before are quite rare, I shall restrict my comments to those made after that date.
In Parliament established the standard for purity for sterling silver and instituted a mark indicating that an item is of sufficient purity to be deemed sterling. That standard means an item is made of The mark is a Lion Passant -the image of a lion walking, facing left. You may be sure that an object bearing this mark is English sterling silver made after In addition to the Lion Passant there are other marks which give more information about the sterling silver object.
LAPADA Guide to Reading British Silver Hallmarks
See also the definitions page in this guide for additional information on hallmark components. Note at centre of the image at right the four elements of the hallmark. Detailed image of hallmark far right. Locate the assay office. If your item does not have one of the standard fineness marks, either traditional or numerical, then it is probably silver plate or is from another county.
Precious metals, such as gold and silver, are generally too soft and malleable for practical use. They are British hallmarks date back to medieval times. In
In most cases, including this one, it is the town mark that is usually missing. This poses a conundrum, as I am never sure which assay office to examine to determine the actual date. Furthermore, the shape of the date letter “surround” almost never exactly matches any illustrated in Jackson. Case in point: This rather ugly little teaspoon is in the Hanoverian style, which seems to point to a date in the midth century. We have a lowercase h date letter, the lion passant, and a badly distorted maker’s stamp of TL.
In the London date cycles, the lowercase h appears twice in the 18th century, and The shape of this particular stamp is closer to the than , but the style of the spoon is more The style of the lion passant doesn’t look like either date. My questions are these: 1. Given a piece of flatware with no town mark but a date letter, is it reasonable to assume a London origin, or should I be looking at the other assay offices, which pose several other possibilities for a lowercase h.
In this case, all of the suitable TL maker’s marks seem to be from London. On flatware at least, it seems that the shape of the date letter stamp is often very different from the accepted norm, as illustrated in Jackson. Is this just a distortion associated with the making of the piece, or did the actual shape of the stamp vary somewhat?
The vast majority of English, Scottish and Irish silver produced in the last years is stamped with either 4 or 5 symbols, known as hallmarks. The prime purpose of these marks is to show that the metal of the item upon which they are stamped is of a certain level of purity. The metal is tested and marked at special offices, regulated by the government, known as assay offices.
Only metal of the required standard will be marked. It is a form of consumer protection, whose origin goes back almost years.
British silver hallmarks are regulated by assay offices across England, The crowned harp guarantees a fineness of / (sterling silver) for Different towns use different date marks for each year, so the date mark used.
Diane is a lover of all things beautiful; music, art, antiques and nature. Her guides bring insight to topics she cares passionately about. British sterling silver hallmarks help to identify the maker and year of manufacture of sterling silver items produced by Great Britain. Understanding and learning to recognize these marks can help you avoid costly mistakes in both the purchase and sale of antique English silver.
This guide will explain what each mark means and how to find them on a piece of antique British sterling silver. I’ve been buying and selling antique silver for many years now. When I first started going to estate sales, I was always drawn to the silver gleaming on the tables. I didn’t know what the marks meant, but I was determined to find out.
ENGLISH SILVER MARKS
The vast majority of English, Scottish and Irish silver produced in the last years is stamped with either four or five symbols, known as hallmarks. The prime purpose of these marks is to show that the metal of the item upon which they are stamped is of a certain level of purity. The metal is tested and marked at special offices, regulated by the government, known as assay offices. Only metal of the required standard will be marked. It is a form of consumer protection, whose origin goes back almost years.
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.
Today and for the past few centuries, this stamp or silver hallmark has shown the place and year of manufacture of the assayed silver item, as well as the silversmith who made or sponsored the item. The laws governing silver hallmarking are very strict and if an item does not comply with a standard the item will not be hallmarked and will probably be destroyed. 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.
There was a simple reason for this seemingly Draconian behaviour in that the manufacture of silver and gold was allied to the minting of currency. Therefore, by debasing silver or gold, the offender was undermining the coin of the realm. A treasonable offence in times when treason was punished by death. Sometimes called the Sterling Mark, the lion passant, the mark for Made in England, first appeared on English silver and gold in For two years it was crowned, but has been struck ever since in its present form by all English Assay Offices.
Used from the inception of the Sheffield Assay Office in , the Crown was the town mark of Sheffield. Because of possible confusion with the Crown mark used after , as the hallmark for 18ct gold , the Sheffield assay mark was changed on January 1st for a rose.