By | 28.06.2019

Confirm. dating english silver marks are not

Silver is NOT always stamped sterling! Some things to look where to look.

To ensure you the best experience, we use cookies on our website for technical, analytical and marketing purposes. By continuing to browse our site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. It was Edward I who first passed a statute requiring all silver to be of sterling standard a purity of parts per thousand ushering in a testing or assay system that has survived for over years. The statute made it the responsibility of the Wardens of the Goldsmiths' Guild to mark all items of sterling standard with a leopard's head stamp. Today there are still offices in Edinburgh, where hallmarking has been regulated since the 15th century, and in Birmingham and Sheffield, where assay offices were established by an Act of Parliament in The leopard's head, which has been used in various forms as the symbol of the London Assay Office since hallmarking began. Most British and Irish silver carries a number of stamps indicating not just the standard or purity mark typically the lion passant but also the initials of the maker, a date letter and the place of assay.

Collectors will often place a premium on silver hallmarked in other regional centres which have since closed. Some of these ceased hallmarking as early as the Stuart period the Norwich assay office identified by a crowned lion passant and a crowned rosette shut in , while others such as Chester three wheat sheaves and a sword and Glasgow a tree, bird, bell and fish were still operating into the post-war era.


For many reasons town silversmiths in Ireland and Scotland seldom sent their plate to Edinburgh, Glasgow or Dublin to be assayed. Here, often for reasons of security and economy, it was prudent to operate outside the jurisdiction of the metropolitan assay houses of Dublin and Edinburgh.

Instead, they stamped the silver themselves with a maker's mark, a town mark or combinations of these and other marks. The mark of the Limerick silversmith Joseph Johns. Specialist publications are essential for locating and unstanding the meaning of a huge proliferation of different marks and symbols used on Scottish provincial silver.

The marks struck for Alexander Cameron of Dundee.

Although no longer compulsory, British hallmarks typically include a letter to indicate the year when a piece of silver was assayed. Generally the letter was changed annually until a complete alphabet had been used and then the cycle would begin again with an alteration to the style of letter or its surrounding shield.

For a variety of reasons this practice was not always adhered to and the resulting anomalies can be seen in the tables of marks. However, the date letter system allows antique plate to be dated more accurately than almost all other antiques.

London Date Letters

It should be noted that while the date letter has routinely been taken to represent a single year, it was not until that all date letters were changed on January 1. Until then, assay offices changed punches at different times of the year, so most letters were in fact used across two years. London, England - Present The crowned leopard's head was used - , the uncrowned from - Present.

How to easily identify and date sterling silver hallmarks

York, England - Until only city mark, date letter and maker's mark. 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.

Dating english silver marks

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.

The enforced use of the maker's mark was instituted in London in The required use of import marks to be stamped on foreign made silver was instituted in Have a mark you can't identify? London leopard's head crowned until London leopard's head uncrowned present.

London lion head erased. Birmingham bicentennial commemorative Sheffield Tudor rose present. Chester a sword erect between three wheat-sheaves


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