Birmingham silver dating hallmarks

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The hallmarking of Irish silver began towards the middle of the 17th century.The mark of origin is the Harp Crowned and it appears with a date letter and maker’s mark. Simply learn to recognise those Antique Silver Hallmarks.This page helps you to make a start on identifying the hallmarks in your watch case, and then leads you to another page with more detail.There are brief descriptions of different types of hallmarks that you are likely to find in a watch case, and then for the British and Swiss hallmarks there are links to take you to pages of more detailed information.Used from the inception of the Sheffield Assay Office in 1773 , the Crown was the town mark of Sheffield.Because of possible confusion with the Crown mark used after 1798, (as the hallmark for 18ct gold), the Sheffield assay mark was changed on January 1st 1975 for a rose.Scottish hallmarks have been regulated by statute since 1457 but the earliest known example dates only from 1556 to 1557.The Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh was thought to be in the 1490’s and the earliest surviving records date from 1525.

A false silver hallmark has always been treated with the utmost severity by the law and in the past a silversmith was pilloried for their first offence, where they would be pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables.If they offended again, a limb would be hacked off and, until the 1720’s, the death penalty was the usual sentence meted out to persistent offenders.There was a simple reason for this seemingly Draconian behaviour in that the manufacture of silver and gold was allied to the minting of currency.Antique silver hallmarks have been used to control the quality of goods made of silver since the 14th century and the organisation that regulates the craft, Goldsmiths Hall, gave the world the term hallmark.This is to ensure it is of the required sterling silver standard and, provided it conforms to a standard, a series of symbols are stamped into each part of the item.

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