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.However until 2000 the system had been more or less the same for 450 years.
One of the most highly structured hallmarking systems in the world is that of the United Kingdom, (Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland), and Ireland.|HOW TO READ ENGLISH/BRITISH STERLING SILVER MARKS| |DUTY MARKS| |LEOPARD'S HEAD| |LONDON MARKS| |WOMEN SILVERSMITHS| |PSEUDO HALLMARKS| |IMPORT MARKS| |CONTEMPORARY MARKS| |JOURNEYMAN MARKS| |HERALDRY & FAMILY CRESTS| |OLD ADVERTISEMENTS| |FACTORIES & SHOPS: OLD IMAGES| |ARTICLES ON ENGLISH SILVER| The hallmarking of British sterling silver is based on a combination of marks that makes possible the identification of origin and age of each piece.English gold and silver articles have been marked by some form of hallmark since the 13th Century.The marks serve several functions: * they verify that the item is of the correct quality. * where appropriate, they record that duty has been paid on the item. The year in which a piece of Irish silver was made can be determined by the date letter – this is one of the marks described above, applied by the assay office when it is hallmarked.In Ireland, sterling silver is not less than 92.5% pure silver, the rest is alloy. Below are a few examples and a guide to reading antique Irish silver hallmarks, followed by photos of as many date letters as I could manage. As there are only 26 letters in the alphabet, they are reused, which each cycle slightly different to the preceding one.