Dating sterling silver hallmarks

25 Feb

As an example, the date letter for 1898 in London is a lowercase ‘c’, in Sheffield it is a lowercase 'f' and in Birmingham it is a lowercase ‘y’. This is why it is important to find the town mark before you try to find the date letter.The Maker’s mark was initially a picture, but this practice was superseded by using the first two letters of the maker’s surname and later the initials.The vast majority of English, Scottish and Irish silver produced in the last 500 years is stamped with either 4 or 5 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.When Victoria came to the throne in 1837, the mark was replaced with the Queen's head duty mark which always faces left. Go to the appropriate section in Bradburys for the given town.Look for a matching date letter with or without the duty mark as needed.If you can't see any of these 5 marks, the chances are that the item is either not British or is silverplated.If you can find one of these marks, then you know that the item is British silver and you can move onto stage 2.

There are so many different hallmarks found on British silver that to know all of them would be impossible.

Ever since silver was discovered it has been fashioned into highly decorative objects and personal objects of great beauty, and these can be of prime interest to the silver collector.

How long this will continue to be the case is anyone’s guess, and as new technologies evolve and new uses are found for precious metals we may just see antique silver and gold becoming less and less affordable.

This pocket sized reference contains all of the marks that one is likely to encounter on a regular basis.

Armed with this book, the process of reading these marks can be split into the 5 simple steps shown below.