Silver hallmark dating dating norms china
In 18th and 19th century Scotland more than 30 different silversmithing centres were active from Aberdeen to Wick with each ‘hammerman’ using their own mark.Specialist publications are essential for locating and unstanding the meaning of a huge proliferation of different marks and symbols used on Scottish provincial silver.It was Edward I (1272-1307) who first passed a statute requiring all silver to be of sterling standard – a purity of 925 parts per thousand – ushering in a testing or assay system that has survived for over 700 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.The inclusion of initial stamps alongside the hallmarks means that most makers can also be identified.Often makers are celebrated in their own right with some collectors choosing to collect the work of just one workshop or retailer such as Paul Storr, Hester Bateman, Charles Ashbee or Liberty & Co.
Until then, assay offices changed punches at different times of the year, so most letters were in fact used across two years.
London Hallmarks Birmingham Hallmarks Sheffield Hallmarks Edinburgh Hallmarks 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 1701), 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.
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 excise duty on gold and silver articles was collected by the assay offices and the mark was struck to show that it had been paid. Special commemorative stamps have been added to the regular silver marks to mark special events.