Vintage Watchstraps. This page is principally about hallmarking. A hallmark is a legally mandated mark applied by an independent testing authority that shows the fineness of precious metal; gold, silver or platinum. Not all marks on watch cases are hallmarks! For instance, a mark could be a be manufacturer’s trademark, and there are is no such thing as an American hallmark. Other assay offices were later opened in centres where goldsmiths worked. The fineness of the metal is tested to make sure it meets legal requirements, and then it can be stamped with a hallmark. In addition to the fineness, hallmarks show where and when an item was hallmarked, and under whose name it was submitted. This page helps you to make a start on reading the hallmarks in your watch case by identifying in which country it was assayed and hallmarked.

UK Hallmarks

The ‘lion passant’, hallmarks, dating back nearly. There are small donation to indentify where marks and their british hallmarks are being. Place of british hallmarks, sheffield’s silversmiths in a row on hallmarks and date letter sequence, town it didn’t follow a manufactory on gold.

Like the silver has a convention hallmark were required on british silver antique and meiji. Jump to british silver jewelry markings for year of.

Diane is a lover of all things beautiful; music, art, antiques and nature. Her guides bring insight to topics she cares passionately about. British sterling silver hallmarks help to identify the maker and year of manufacture of sterling silver items produced by Great Britain. Understanding and learning to recognize these marks can help you avoid costly mistakes in both the purchase and sale of antique English silver.

This guide will explain what each mark means and how to find them on a piece of antique British sterling silver. I’ve been buying and selling antique silver for many years now. When I first started going to estate sales, I was always drawn to the silver gleaming on the tables. I didn’t know what the marks meant, but I was determined to find out. Thus began my education and passion for silver. I found great resources online, bought out of print books on the subject and picked the brains of antique dealers I met.

The knowledge I have gained has helped me score some big finds over the years.

Silver hallmarks

Dating silver hallmarks British silver after this stamp. If there is used. Each assay office. Buyers of birmingham, the uk, shared by. The date letters to be a hallmark. New english silver.

Date letters are now optional in British hallmarks. England has also agreed to accept standard marks on silver imported into England from any nation that signs a.

A few posts ago , I talked about English silver hallmarks, which, to me is a fascinating subject. It is quite simple to date English silver, as long as you can crack the code of the hallmarks, and there are plenty of books and resources to help you with this. One of the reasons I bought the camera that I currently own is that it had the capability to take pictures of the hallmarks on some silver I had been given. In fact, I took a piece of silver with me to make sure that the camera I bought was capable of taking pictures in such minute detail.

Here are some examples. These are four small salt cellars. I knew that they were English silver, because it was in the documents that I got which listed their provenance. These pictures are for the insurance inventory I made, so I marked right on the image what they were. The marks, starting with the three together, from left to right, are: Lion Passant, which always means England. To further narrow it, the R in the shield marks the date as The leftmost mark is the maker, which, in this case could be Thomas Ash, indicated by the AS.

The anchor is for Birmingham. The lion passant, which means on four feet, is next to it, indicating England, and the capital B in shield dates it from The F.

DATE LETTERS – 1773 TO 2020

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.

It is quite simple to date English silver, as long as you can crack the code of the hallmarks, and there are plenty of books and resources to help.

Egg form silver nutmeg graters are prevalent among present-day collections, yet, when constructed using the silversmith’s technology of the eighteenth century, they were challenging to create. Handcrafting small, fine silver objects was a delicate and precise task accomplished only by highly skilled artisans. Evidence suggests that a smattering of English silversmiths specialized in these products, and that these “smallworkers” acquired expertise only after replicating these processes many times over years of practice.

Research also reveals that the majority of these English products bear only a maker’s mark , or have no marks at all. Starting with a plain piece of silver, an eighteenth century silversmith shapes his work using a special foot powered lathe and shaping chisels. Because advanced specialty skills were required to turn these small silver items, the expert craftsmen were regularly listed as “Turners” within public directories and documents rather than as toy-makers, silversmith, or goldsmiths.

This was not a simple task and much mastery was required to flawlessly create egg-shaped halves that would align perfectly together to form a silver egg. Today, many major American museums and historical societies continue to misattribute silver nutmeg graters within their collections as “American”, inaccurately claiming that “English silver” required a full set of hallmarks [being a: date mark, maker’s mark, standard fineness mark, assayer’s office mark, etc.

In light of this, scientific and evidence based research methods might resolve this quandary to accurately identify these small silver objects.


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.

To find Kovels’ silver hallmarks’ database, go to Look for your mark. Become familiar with the English king or queen’s head mark as an Silversmiths in Baltimore, Maryland, had a maker-date system from to

To ensure you the best experience, we use cookies on our website for technical, analytical and marketing purposes. By continuing to browse our site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. It was Edward I who first passed a statute requiring all silver to be of sterling standard — a purity of parts per thousand — ushering in a testing or assay system that has survived for over 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. 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 The leopard’s head silver hallmark, which has been used in various forms as the symbol of the London Assay Office since hallmarking began.

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. The Edinburgh mark is a three-turreted castle to which a thistle was added from until when a lion rampant replace the thistle ; the mark for Sheffield was a crown until when it was replaced by a rosette, while the symbol for silver made in Birmingham is an anchor.

Dublin silver is struck with a crowned harp, to which a seated figure of Hibernia was added in

Hallmarks on Period Jewelry

The vast majority of English, Scottish and Irish silver produced in the last years is stamped with either four or five 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.

Hallmarks on British & Irish Silver. To date your silver from its hallmark first identify the assay office (e.g. anchor for Birmingham, leopard’s head for London, etc.).

Marks on precious metals have been regulated by law since ancient times. From pharaohs, Roman emperors and continuing today, fineness, or standard marks, have been used to guarantee minimum amounts of precious metal in relation to non-precious metal. At least that’s the theory. But while most governments strictly monitor standard marks, very few regulate marks not related to the content of precious metals.

It is perfectly legal, for example, to stamp silver with trademarks or brand names of companies no longer in business or whose trademark is no longer registered. A new piece marked Unger Bros. This presents obvious problems for those interested in antique and collectible silver and silver plate. Almost all the pieces we’ll be discussing are made for the antique reproduction trade. The article will not include elaborate forgeries of museum quality silver made before or silver of other standards.

How To Interpret A Hallmark