Tudor Rose Antiques sells antique silver - do you know about antique silver?<< Back
Tudor Rose Antiques sells antique silver - do you know about antique silver?
An item of silver has to be assayed, each Assay Office having their own assay mark.
The Birmingham Assay Office is one of the four assay offices in the United Kingdom, located in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. The development of a silver industry in 18th century Birmingham was hampered by the legal requirement that items of solid silver be assayed, and the nearest Assay Offices were in Chester and London. Matthew Boulton and Birmingham's other great industrialists joined forces with silversmiths of Sheffield to petition Parliament for the establishment of Assay Offices in their respective cities. In spite of determined opposition by London silversmiths, an Act of Parliament was passed in March 1773, just one month after the original petition was presented to Parliament, to allow Birmingham and Sheffield the right to assay silver. The Birmingham Assay Office opened on 31 August 1773.
The hallmark of the Birmingham Assay Office is the Anchor, and that of the Sheffield Assay Office was the Crown. A story about the origins of this hallmark goes that meetings prior to the inauguration of both Birmingham and Sheffield Assay Offices in 1773 were held at a public house called the Crown and Anchor Tavern on the Strand, London. It is rumoured that the choice of symbol was made on the toss of a coin which resulted in Birmingham winning the Anchor and Sheffield with the Crown (which has now been changed to a rose)
To go right back to the very beginning of silver's history King Edward I of England in 1300 enacted a statute requiring that all silver articles must meet the sterling silver standard (92.5% pure silver) and must be assayed in this regard by 'guardians of the craft' who would then mark the item with a leopard's head. In 1327 King Edward III of England granted a charter to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths (more commonly known as the Goldsmiths' Company), marking the beginning of the Company's formal existence. This entity was headquartered in London at Goldsmiths' Hall from whence the English term "hallmark" is derived. (In the UK the use of the term "hallmark" was first recorded in this sense in 1721 and in the more general sense as a "mark of quality" in 1864.
This is probably a long enough history lesson in one go but more will follow in due course.
Tudor Rose stocks many lovely fine examples of antique silver - here are just a few examples
Lovely George V silver rose bowl with demi-reed and fluted ornamememt. Gadrooned rim to foot. Sheffield 1912. Maker William Hutton and Sons, Weight 11 ozs. Gilded interior
Antique silver picture frames continue to be in demand as they make wonderful antique silver photo frames and as such make handy gifts.