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. Therefore, hallmarking is generally done before the piece goes for its final polishing. 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. These five nations have, historically, provided a wealth of information about a piece through their series of applied punches. Since the year , the French assay mark for items made of solid silver is the head of the goddess Minerva in profile.
Antique Silver Online from J.H. Tee Antiques Ltd.
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.
click on images to enlarge. ELKINGTON ELECTROPLATE SILVER / SILVER PLATE MARKS AND DATE LETTERS Elkington-Elkington, Mason & Co-Elkington.
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. As silver objects made before are quite rare, I shall restrict my comments to those made after that date. In Parliament established the standard for purity for sterling silver and instituted a mark indicating that an item is of sufficient purity to be deemed sterling. That standard means an item is made of The mark is a Lion Passant -the image of a lion walking, facing left.
You may be sure that an object bearing this mark is English sterling silver made after
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 This makes difficult the research of information for inexperienced people.
The objective of this page is to help the visitors of the site in deciphering the marks of their British silverplate. A set of symbols imitating the shape of sterling silver hallmarking. These are “generic marks ” used by various silverplate makers.
Sheffield Date Letters. Click on the letter you want to date or on a date letter cycle (column) in the table below to see a larger view (scroll down for earlier dates).
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.
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Elkington date letter from to an illustrated history of the evolution of silver, sterling silver, silverplate, sheffield plate, electroplate silver, silverware.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we’ll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer – no Kindle device required. John criehtonhassay Master, at Edinburgh, for particulars of the marks used at the Goldsmiths’ Hall at that City. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy.
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Silver Plate or Silverplate?
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Other lists include silver-plated wares and pewter. The head of liberty indicated quality; a date letter, the arms of the city of Baltimore, and the.
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.
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. Although there are many books on the market which can be used to help read hallmarks, the standard book of reference, used by dealers and collectors world wide is Bradbury’s Book of Hallmarks.
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. Bradbury’s book of hallmarks was last updated in by the Sheffield Assay office. It can be purchased directly from there or from any major book seller.
There are 5 standard marks found on British Silver The walking lion for all sterling silver made in England The standing lion for all sterling silver made in Glasgow The thistle for for all sterling silver made in Edinburgh The crowned harp for all sterling silver made in Dublin The image of Britannia for Britannia standard silver.
Guide to Identifying Sterling Silver Flatware
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.
The date letter system was introduced in London in elsewhere Dating silver plate the hallmarking system evolved. Silverware manufacturers’.
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