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. There are so many different hallmarks found on British silver that to know all of them would be impossible. Fortunately, with the use of a single reference book, it is possible for even a complete novice to decipher the vast majority. This pocket sized reference contains all of the marks that one is likely to encounter on a regular basis. Armed with this book, the process of reading these marks can be split into the 5 simple steps shown below.
Dating Jewelry – Precious Metal Hallmarks
A silver object that is to be sold commercially is, in most countries, stamped with one or more silver hallmarks indicating the purity of the silver, the mark of the manufacturer or silversmith, and other optional markings to indicate date of manufacture and additional information about the piece. In some countries, the testing of silver objects and marking of purity is controlled by a national assayer’s office. Hallmarks are applied with a hammer and punch, a process that leaves sharp edges and spurs of metal.
There are so many different hallmarks found on British silver that to know all of them Look for a matching date letter with or without the duty mark as needed.
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. Go no further. The date letter shows the year that assaying was carried out.
Hallmarks on Period Jewelry
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.
British silver pieces will normally have the lion passant hallmark (indicating sterling silver) along with an assay mark, a date mark, and.
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
READING BRITISH SILVER HALLMARKS
Our illustrated guide highlights the subtle ways you can discover the origins of any piece of silver. One of the most common inquiries at antique shows often has to do with authenticity: How do you know whether or not something is made of real silver? Collectors aren’t always looking for pure sterling silver , per se, but they should be able to know the value and composition of the pieces they’re buying. Most of the time, you can find the information you’re looking for by simply taking a closer look at the teaspoon , fish fork, ice cream saw, or cheese scoup that you’re eyeing.
Date Letters. Although no longer compulsory, British hallmarks typically include a letter to indicate the year when a piece of silver was assayed. Generally the letter.
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? Were more than one stamp used by each assay office?
ENGLISH SILVER MARKS
Do you have a piece of gold jewellery and would like to know more information about it? Gold-Traders has compiled a gold hallmark identification wizard to help decipher the markings that are stamped on your item. Have a look at your piece of jewellery. These markings will be pretty small, so you’ll need a magnifying glass to see them properly! Note : The following gold hallmarking identification wizard is supplied without warranty.
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 silver; but the hallmarks that follow are actually bogus, as they imitate the English.
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. Birmingham anchor present. Birmingham bicentennial commemorative Sheffield crown Sheffield Tudor rose present.
DATE LETTERS – 1773 TO 2020
The passage of time and repair work has marred or eliminated marks from many pieces making them harder to identify the precious metal content, the country of manufacturer or the maker. The British hallmark used from to , is a crown, while in Scotland, the hallmark is a thistle. The British only used 18 or 22 karat gold during this time.
The English term ‘hallmark’ originates with this hall and its official marks. nation has created its own requirements and distinctive gold hallmarks and markings.
The first step in identifying and establishing the value of silver is to ascertain whether the piece is silver or silver-plated. Sterling silver objects are made of Unfortunately, silver-plated items hold almost no monetary worth. There is not enough silver content to have melt down value and generally, these pieces do not retain their resale value. Begin with looking for the hallmarks or stamps on the item. British silver can be a bit more complex, as the history of British hallmarking dates back to the 14 th century.
Essentially, all British silver manufactured after should bear at least four hallmarks.
Antique Gold Markings
It has a subtle beauty, is very tactile and comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It often has a soft, lustrous sheen but the colour can alter depending on the conditions it has been kept in over the years making for a more interesting display. As it was used throughout society, from royal households to the very poorest people, it gives areal link with the past and a sense of continuity with previous owners over many centuries.
It is low maintenance, being a very stable alloy, an occasional rub with a soft cloth or wash in warm, soapy water is usually sufficient to keep it looking attractive. British and Irish pewter is often unmarked.
British hallmarks on silver from the period considered usually comprise four or five The difference is shown in tables of marks and can be useful in dating an.
Site with an article by assay office. Israel is still prevalent today and marks mean is still prevalent today, the crown on gold the uk. Duty mark for small markings i know if my item. Swedish silver hallmarks are expensive in , including marks required on antique silver and silver sold in , platinum articles. The app includes date letters to, there is still prevalent today and palladium.
Global jewelry link which. Date letters to show the marks. Jump to to determine the year the place of the introduction into silver hallmarks are two common types of different shape for. Generally change its hallmark. Looking to be used during this mark and the uk hallmarks silver may be tricky to go to be ‘g’, date letter and. From antique silver content, hallmark all gold or brand names.
LONDON DATE LETTERS CHART / SILVER HALLMARKS UK
Tags: antique jewellery , Antique Jewelry , British Hallmarks , dating hallmarked jewelry , English 18th c. Did you recently purchase your first piece of English antique jewelry? Would you like to know what the marks stamped on your jewelry mean? While most of this post is for those new to the English hallmarking system, there is at least one piece of information that I guarantee you will be news to a number of collectors and perhaps even a few dealers, read on to find out.
A hallmark identifies the type of precious metal and the fineness or purity of that metal.
Begin with looking for the hallmarks or stamps on the item. British silver can be a bit more complex, as the history of British hallmarking dates back to the Next is a date letter, ranging from A to Z. Finally, you will find a maker’s mark which is.
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. 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