The typeface, whether the letter is uppercase or lowercase, and even the shape inside which the letter is stamped, must all be taken together to determine the year. The city mark no longer indicates the city in which the piece was assayed, or that the item was assayed in the UK. A Legislative Reform Order LRO came into law on 8 February giving UK Assay Offices the legal right to strike hallmarks outside of UK territory.
Since July Birmingham Assay Office have been striking identical Birmingham Hallmarks in Mumbai, India and there are proposals for further offshore marking centres using traditional UK marks in Jaipur, New York and China. Sheffield Assay have a sub-office in Malpensa, Italy. London and Edinburgh Assay Offices are the only two Assay offices exclusively striking hallmarks in the UK.
Each silver maker has his or her own, unique maker's mark. This hallmark is usually a set of initials inside an escutcheon. The Legislative Reform Order LRO which came into law on 8 February also changed the requirements for sponsor marks, allowing logos to be used for the first time, as long as they provide the required traceability. Irish silver also contains the image of Hibernia.
This mark was introduced in , and is still in use today. The series of hallmarks described above are still in use in today. However, there are two silver hallmarks that have been discontinued: Beginning on 1 December , British law mandated that a duty mark be applied to silver pieces. This showed that the requisite tax had been paid to the Crown. Because of possible confusion with the Crown mark used after , as the hallmark for 18ct gold , the Sheffield assay mark was changed on January 1st 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 Between and the crown is often incorporated with the date letter struck on small objects. The Birmingham Anchor When the Birmingham Assay Office was established in , largely due to the representations of the great Midlands industrialist, Matthew Boulton, the mark of an anchor was adopted as the town mark.
By tradition, it is said that Birmingham and Sheffield tossed for the marks derived from the sign of the Crown and Anchor tavern in London — where the promoters of the two new offices met. Dublin — Hibernia and Harp The hallmarking of Irish silver began towards the middle of the 17th century. In , the figure of Hibernia was added. Today, collecting Antique Silver is a very lucrative pastime, which can be taken up by anyone with a little bit of time and money.
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