Dating english silver date letters

Rated 3.90/5 based on 961 customer reviews

Following a successful conclusion to one of the largest cases of its type in years, a serial forger was jailed in 2008 for the faking and forging of antique silver makers' marks.ATG's report of the case Assay Office's published guide detailing many of the fakes and forgeries Historically the standard mark for sterling (.925 purity) silver in Britain has been a lion passant and this will be found on the majority of pieces.The company or person responsible for sending a silver article for hallmarking has their own unique mark that must be registered with the assay office – a process that has been compulsory since the 14th century.Specialist publications help explain different makers’ or sponsors’ marks, with Sir Charles Jackson’s , first published in 1905 and revised in 1989, still the most authoritative work on the subject.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.Here, often for reasons of security and economy, it was prudent to operate outside the jurisdiction of the metropolitan assay houses of Dublin and Edinburgh.Instead, they stamped the silver themselves with a maker's mark, a town mark or combinations of these and other marks.

Since 1999 the inclusion of a date letter has not been compulsory.The first silver hallmarking was confined to Goldsmiths’ Hall in London but in time other assay offices were opened.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.For a variety of reasons this practice was not always adhered to and the resulting anomalies can be seen in the tables of marks.However, the date letter system allows antique plate to be dated more accurately than almost all other antiques.

Leave a Reply