English silver dating marks
Dublin silver is struck with a crowned harp, to which a seated figure of Hibernia was added in 1731.Sequences of historical marks for the following offices can be viewed through the links below (reproduced courtesy of the British Hallmarking Council).The hallmark for sterling silver varies from nation to nation, often using distinctive historic symbols, although Dutch and UK Assay offices no longer strike their traditional hallmarks exclusively in their own territories and undertake assay in other countries using marks that are the same as those used domestically.One of the most highly structured hallmarking systems in the world is that of the United Kingdom, (Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland), and Ireland.The marks on the bottom of a piece of silver can be an indication of the age, maker, and origin of the piece.A single mark usually indicates that the piece of silver was made in America, although there are some Irish and Scottish pieces with just the maker’s name.Dublin’s assay office has been operating since the middle of the 17th century and silver is still marked there.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.
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 1773.This is a list of American silver marks and solid American silver. Ornate capital letters or the fleur-de-lis were used in France.Other lists include silver-plated wares and pewter. Four or five small pictorial marks usually indicate England as the country of origin. Become familiar with the English king or queen’s head mark as an indication of age. Silver was stamped with a lion for London, a thistle for Edinburgh. A hand indicates Antwerp, a spread eagle Germany or Russia.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.If they offended again, a limb would be hacked off and, until the 1720’s, the death penalty was the usual sentence meted out to persistent offenders.