Antique silver dating marks

So extensive had been the abuse of clipping or melting silver coins, silversmiths were forbidden to use the sterling standard for their wares.

English gold and silver articles have been marked by some form of hallmark since the 13th Century.

This duty was originally carried out at Goldsmiths hall in London.

To get over this problem the assay office introduced a duty paid hallmark in the form of the sovereigns head, in 1784 until 1890, covering the reigns of George III, and IV, William IV and Victoria.

Although these marks are a great help to the collector, one still needs to be careful when checking the Hall-Marks as there are still fakes or alterations to fool you and it is best to buy a book on English Silver Hall-Marks to check the marks and pieces carefully.

Today there are four assay offices in the UK, although there have been several others over the intervening years.

Please click here for more information on Assay Offices.(With practise, such small differences will be second nature to spot).There are only 24 years between the two, as back then the letter I and V were skipped. A list of most of the date letters used between 1700 and today is here: List of Antique and Modern Irish Hallmarks You can also see that there is a fourth mark beside the 1812 hallmarks, on the right hand side, a mark of the king’s head.This is a duty mark, used from 1809 until until 1895.Sometimes, commemorative marks were also applied, for example in 1966 a mark was applied, to mark 50 years since the Easter Rising. There are a number of small pocket-sized guides available, which give the full list of date letters for British and Irish assay offices.This is a short guide to understanding what the marks mean, and how to read them.

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