Birmingham silver dating marks
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.
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.
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.
Which had incidentally, been used as the gold assay mark for Sheffield when the Assay Office was first entitled to test gold, after March 1st 1904.
The laws governing silver hallmarking are very strict and if an item does not comply with a standard the item will not be hallmarked and will probably be destroyed.
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.
Hallmarks are small markings stamped on gold, silver and platinum articles.For example, due to the very simplistic font currently in use, it was decided that the letter ‘i’ should be omitted in 2008, with ‘j’ used instead and ‘l’ used in 2010.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.Depending upon the font used for the series of date letters, the letter i, j or l is usually omitted to avoid any possible confusion between them.As a result the date letter cycle is usually 25 years as opposed to 26.