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
Dating Antique Silver Hallmarks
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.
Silver hallmarks date letters. Birmingham silver hallmark. Pure precious metals, such as silver and gold, are generally too soft and malleable for practical use.
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. It can be purchased directly from there or from any major book seller. Simply flick through the book, looking at the top of the tables of marks to remind yourself if you forget. If you can find one of these marks, then you know that the item is British silver and you can move onto stage 2.
How to Identify and Determine the Value of your Silver
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.
England’s system of hallmarks-a variety of official emblems stamped on silver to illustrate its purity-is one of the oldest and most detailed. Laws dating to the 14th.
If you require more help in identifying a gold hallmark, try our gold hallmark identification wizard. Hallmarking also called assay or standard marking is the official quality control mark that determines the purity of gold and other precious metals. Fortunately, modern digital kitchen or postage scales are very accurate, allowing most customers to gain a relatively accurate indication of the weight of their gold.
Identifying the type of gold can be a little more tricky, which of course requires us to read and decipher the hallmark stamped on the item. The first mark we see is the makers mark, telling us who manufactured the item in this instance, H Samuel. The next mark we see is a Crown or Gold Standard Mark. The crown also appears on old 12 and 15 carat gold, however this was stopped in
DATE LETTERS – 1773 TO 2020
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.
Find out how to interpret English Hallmarks. Learn what the hallmarks on your silver and gold jewelry mean and how to use the date letter look-up charts.
Some of our products contain a stamp representing the year of production – this is a combination of a letter and a number.
Confusing Marks on Sterling Silver and Silver Plate
Over the next 50 years, Birks expanded by buying up established jewellers across the country. They also took over their rivals in manufacturing until they had a virtual monopoly on the production and sale of sterling silverware in Canada. Birks acquired several more designs from Gorham and other manufacturers later in the century and also designed a few of their own patterns like Tudor and Laurentian.
Birks manufactured their own flatware and some of their hollowware in their factory in Montreal up until the early s when the factory was closed and production was moved offshore.
NOTE: between 17so called marks for “small articles” have been used. Marks were structured with the crown and the date letter in the same punch.
Hallmarks – What Do They Mean??? New examples of fake hallmarks from the first design period have been added to this section. The hallmark data below is the basic summary information without photos of the verified variations to date on Spratling’s hallmarks. Far more complete hallmark information and easy to follow charts as well as techniques for determining authenticity can be found in our new book Spratling Silver: A Field Guide.
The information here on this website is designed to provide the fundamental knowledge – but only the first step – one needs to determine if the item is possibly a William Spratling treasure. It will also provide information on any new hallmark research, so check back frequently. We will also – from time to time – add some photos of the questionable hallmarks that you may want to be on the lookout for.
Always, our initial reason for looking at hallmarks is so that we can determine the name of the designer or silversmith. Too often, however, we have assumed that any Spratling primary hallmark the mark which identifies Spratling as the designer is a guarantee of authenticity.
Antique Silver Online from J.H. Tee Antiques Ltd.
Hallmarks are one of the most important factors in identifying antique silver jewelry, flatware, and other items. These small stamped symbols on the back or underside of silver items can tell you the purity of the silver, the manufacturer of the piece, and sometimes even the date it was made. Understanding how to read hallmarks is an important skill for any antiques enthusiast. If you have a piece of silver jewelry or a household item you’d like to identify, there’s a process that can help.
Date letters sheffield silver hallmarks 14k Gold Jewelry, Antique Jewelry, Vintage Irish Hallmarks I – Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers’ Marks.
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.
More often than not, you can find an indented mark or a series of marks that can tell you a lot about the item: what it’s made of, where it was made, when, and by whom. You can find many different kinds of silver in the marketplace today. Some of the oldest American silver is “coin,” which contains at least
Pure silver is a too soft to be practical for making coins or domestic items. During the Saxon period in England the percentage of silver in coinage was fixed at This alloy provided both good strength and colour while retaining a high intrinsic value. It remains the composition of British sterling silver today.
Jul 24, – Hallmarks encyclopedia. More then silver hallmarks from all over the world. New hallmarks added every day.
King Hiero II of Syracuse gave Archimedes the assignment to investigate the purity of a newly commissioned golden wreath, believing silver was added to the gold content. Although the technicalities in this legendary story are most likely based on myth, it does give an early account of fraud with precious metals. The German Crown in a Sun Hallmark. Image Courtesy of the Hallmark Research Institute. From medieval times to the midth century, hallmarks were used only as a means of consumer protection.
In those days the English government raised taxes on imported gold and silver work, with the exemption of antique items. Paying taxes has never been on the priority list of entrepreneurs and some gold and silversmiths in Germany and the Netherlands started stamping marks on their jewelry and silver work that mimicked antique hallmarks. A second factor was the renewed interest in antique artifacts of the applied arts that was kindled by the first World Exhibition in London As there had never been a real prior interest in hallmarks, other than identifying the people responsible for the quality of the precious metal, these marks were interpreted as genuine foreign antique marks by the customs officers and collectors.
This deceit lasted to around the turn of the 20th century.
Vintage Watchstraps. This page is principally about hallmarking. A hallmark is a legally mandated mark applied by an independent testing authority that shows the fineness of precious metal; gold, silver or platinum. Not all marks on watch cases are hallmarks! For instance, a mark could be a be manufacturer’s trademark, and there are is no such thing as an American hallmark.
copyright Hallmarks encyclopedia. More then 15, silver hallmarks from all over the world. New hallmarks added every day.
A typical set of antique British silver hallmarks showing left to right ; 1. Standard Mark, 2. City Mark, 3. Date Letter, 4. Duty Mark and 5. Maker’s Mark This particular set of marks tells us that this item was made of Sterling, in the city of London, in the year , during the reign of King George III, and by the silversmith Thomas Wallis. Establish that it has one of the Silver Standard Marks , if not it is likely silverplate or from a different country.
Locate and identify the City Mark. Note whether it has a sovereign’s head Duty Mark – or not. The sovereign’s head, or lack thereof, will narrow the date range. Having identified the city mark, click on the link to its date chart and find your Date Letter. Identify the Maker’s Mark , they are listed by city and in alphabetical order by the first initial. A – Sterling. C – Sterling.