The marks on the bottom of a piece of silver can be an indication of the age, maker, and origin of the piece. This is a list of American silver marks and solid American silver. Other lists include silver-plated wares and pewter. It will not help you to identify other silver. Four or five small pictorial marks usually indicate England as the country of origin. Queen Victoria faces left. Queen Elizabeth faces left. Silver was stamped with a lion for London, a thistle for Edinburgh. The harp indicated the piece was made in Dublin.
Confusing Marks on Sterling Silver and Silver Plate
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.
How to differentiate between English Sterling Silver, Old Sheffield Plate quite rare, I shall restrict my comments to those made after that date.
English silver has, for hundreds of years, been accepted as the finest in the world. We can thank both the unique system of Hallmarks and the jealous and zealous traditions of the Guild of Goldsmiths. The insignia of the town or city in which the test was made. A letter of the alphabet is used to illustrate a given year, thus representing the date.
Since many cycles of alphabets can be written in different ways A, a, A, etc. In addition to the above marks, the silversmith may place his own identifying mark upon the silver, usually his initials. From the hallmarks the following may be quickly determined:. By virtue of the laws of the Guild, silversmiths were required to serve an apprenticeship of seven years to learn the craft.
At the end of that period the apprentice became a full member of the Guild as a Master Silversmith. In this way, quality of metal and quality of craftsmanship were protected. At the end of the 17th century, when Protestants were being persecuted anew in France, the cream of French silversmiths Huguenots , fled to England seeking the religious freedom they knew could be obtained there.
The 18th century saw the birth of the industrial revolution and the introduction of tea as a national drink. At that time, the crafting of silver was considered a major art form, and it must be remembered that the world was on a silver not gold standard.
A Guide to British Sterling Silver Hallmarks
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
Dating English hallmarks helps to you to put a value on gold, platinum and silver products. How to recogonize British hallmarks and UK hallmarks and understand.
The English hallmark system in the United kingdom goes back over years. Almost all pieces of silver coming out of the UK from the last years have an English silver hallmark, authenticating both its purity level and indicating many other factors regarding its origins, date, and maker. British silver hallmarks are regulated by assay offices across England, Scotland, and Ireland.
There have been many hallmarks used throughout the years, and numerous guide books have been written on the subject. By using this book, anyone can easily decipher the hallmarks stamped into silver pieces from the UK. There are five steps in reading hallmarks:. The standard mark indicates the fineness of the alloy used.
There are five standard marks on silver from the UK:. When there is no hallmark present on piece, it means that either it was not made in the UK or that it is not solid silver. There is a mark for the town in which the silver was assayed, which comes after the standard mark. There are several towns where silver has been hallmarked, and each used a different symbol, the most common are London which uses the face of a leopard with a crown, for silver hallmarked pre as its symbol, Birmingham uses and anchor, Sheffield used a crown until and thereafter a rose and a castle for silver hallmarked in Edinburgh.
It is worth noting that Dublin is unique in its hallmarking of silver. The symbol for silver hallmarked in Dublin is a crowned harp, the same symbol for silver made in Dublin. Instead of putting two crowned harps onto silver both made and hallmarked in Dublin they instead use one, single, crowned harp.
Dating Antique Silver Hallmarks
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.
A very useful introduction into silver hallmarks in England. Looking into the symbols; Maker’s Mark, Assay Mark, Date Letter, the Sterling Mark and the Duty Mark.
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.
Case Marks: Marks in Watch Cases
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.
London silver marks: marks and hallmarks of English silver, Date letter, in cycles of twenty letters of the alphabet of different shape identifies the year in which.
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. Today a hallmark is a legal requirement in the U. If an article contains precious metals and is described as such, it must be hallmarked. Hallmarking in England dates back to when King Edward I, passed legislation to prevent fraud by goldsmiths. Silver had to be.
Source: Assay Office, London. As the years passed, the standards required for gold changed and vairous Assay Offices were established. Some opened and closed more than once over their long history. See the list of Assay Offices and their dates below. Here is an example of a fully hallmarked ring.
Hallmarks on Period Jewelry
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.
Each article will be focused on a specific cycle of British hallmarks, not taken in a chronological order, beginning from the London Assay Office. At the London Assay Office, each series refers to 20 years, starting with the date letter “a” and ending with the date letter “u” or “v”. Only twenty letters of the alphabet have been used, excluding: j, v or u , w, x, y and z.
Note that the last letter of each cycle can be an “u” or a “v”, but this is probably due to the fact that in the classic Latin language and alphabet there was no difference between “u” and “v”. There is only an exception in the 18th century, prior the introduction of the Britannia standard note 1 , when the cycle lasted 19 years and ended with the letter “t”.
Also the next cycle from onward lasted 19 years, but in this case all the 20 date letters have been used. Although the procedure followed from time to time on hallmarking the silver objects is not the scope of these articles, I will present and comment, for the same date letter, different examples of actual hallmarks as found on various items.
Richard Rugg II left – William Abdy right Grouped hallmarks with the pointed base variant punch enclosing the date letter not evident in William Abdy mark as can be found e. At this time each mark is randomly struck one by one. The effect stressed hallmarks is due to the reshaping of the spoon stem after hallmarking, to remediate the damage caused by this operation.