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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.

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The mark used was a profile portrait of the reigning monarch's head. The use of this mark was abolished in Its purpose was to establish when a piece was presented for assay or testing of the silver content.

Dating Antique Silver Hallmarks Antique Silver Hallmarks and how to indentify where your silver comes from. 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. Hallmarks on British & Irish Silver To date your silver from its hallmark first identify the assay office (e.g. anchor for Birmingham, leopard's head for London, etc.). Then click on the appropriate link below to go to the tables of date letters.

The mark letter changed annually in May, the cycles of date letters were usually in strings of 20 and each cycle was differentiated by a changing of the font, letter case and shield shape.

Originally, makers' marks were pictograms, but by the beginning of the 17th Century it had become common practice to use the maker's initials. A letter "F" in an oval cartouche was stamped alongside the regular hallmarks, the maker's mark being that of the British importing firm sponsor's mark. Beginning in and new system was instituted in which each assay office stamped its own symbol as the import mark, this replaced the town mark.

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The lion passant mark was replaced by a numerical standard mark. Unchanged were the required date letter and sponsor's mark.

Items bearing British Import marks will sometimes have additional marks from the country of origin, sometimes not. Examples of British Import Marks.

London, England - Present The crowned leopard's head was used -the uncrowned from - Present. York, England - Until only city mark, date letter and maker's mark.

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Edinburgh, Scotland - From to present, a lion rampant mark same as Glasgow's has replaced the Thistle as the standard mark. Glasgow, Scotland - Until only city mark, date letter and maker's mark.

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In the duty mark was created to indicate a tax on the item had been paid to the crown. The date letter system was introduced in London in elsewhere as the hallmarking system evolved. 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.

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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.

(note) Gorham date code marks are found on holloware and some smaller items, not used on flatware. Gorham silver was founded in Providence, Rhode Island in the year of by Jabez Gorham, a master craftsman, in partnership with Henry L. Webster. The firm's chief product was silver spoons although they also made thimbles, combs, jewelry, and. This is a page 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. HOW TO READ ENGLISH / BRITISH STERLING SILVER MARKS THE UK SYSTEM OF HALLMARKS From the end of the 12th century the craft of silversmith has been regulated in conformity with Royal Ordinances and Acts of the Parliament. In England the craft was regulated by the Guild of Goldsmiths at London and in Ireland by the Guild of Dublin.

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 inthe Crown was the town mark of Sheffield.

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Because of possible confusion with the Crown mark used afteras the hallmark for 18ct gol the Sheffield assay mark was changed on January 1st for a rose. Which had incidentally, been used as the gold assay mark for Sheffield when the Assay Office was first entitled to test gold, after March 1st

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