Identifying Antique Silver by its Hall Marks<< Back
Hall marks on antique silver gives the buyer/collector a unique insight into the history of a piece in a way that no other antique has and is an invaluable tool in pinpointing the age and area from which the item has come
In 1478 a date letter was introduced to maintain standards, using the alphabet, starting with A but omitting the letters J and from V to Z, merely changing the letter style or shield with each cycle.
This continued without a break until 1696, when, a new cycle was started called the Britannia standard of antique silver markings.
There was widespread abuse of clipping or melting silver coins, so that silversmiths were forbidden to use the sterling standard for their wares. Instead a newer, higher standard of 95.8% pure, was introduced.
Silver Duty Marks … in 1720 a charge of 6 pennies an ounce was made, as a duty for restoring back to the old standard. This started a practice called duty-dodging, whereby silversmiths avoided paying duty by incorporating pieces of silver bearing antique sliver marks into a new piece of silverware.
To get over this problem the Assay office introduced a duty paid hallmark in 1784, in the form of the sovereigns head, which remained until 1890 and covered the reigns of George III, George IV, William IV and Queen Victoria
The initial reason for using silver hallmarks was to protect the purchaser, but over the years the marks had been somewhat confusing. So, in 1973 the Hall-Marking Act resulted in simplified marks and made it easier to recognise and understand antique silver marks.
Taking as examples the various items of antique silver which have just come in.
This stilton scoop and its mark can immediately be identified without being a silver expert. This antique silver stilton scoop is one of about twenty we currently have in stock, a great specialitiy of ours. Some are silver plated and some are solid silver.
Another main speciality of ours is antique silver photograph frames. These include a wonderfull
See our full range of antique silver on our website and in our antiques shop in Petworth at Tudor Rose Antiques & Interiors