Dating english silver date letters
The company or person responsible for sending a silver article for hallmarking has their own unique mark that must be registered with the assay office – a process that has been compulsory since the 14th century.
Specialist publications help explain different makers’ or sponsors’ marks, with Sir Charles Jackson’s , first published in 1905 and revised in 1989, still the most authoritative work on the subject.
Britannia marks may still be found on special pieces made to the higher standard.
Many items of Georgian and Victorian silver will carry a sovereign’s head – a ‘duty’ mark reflecting a tax on precious metals collected between 17.
Dublin silver is struck with a crowned harp, to which a seated figure of Hibernia was added in 1731.
Sequences of historical marks for the following offices can be viewed through the links below (reproduced courtesy of the British Hallmarking Council).
It should be noted that while the date letter has routinely been taken to represent a single year, it was not until 1975 that all date letters were changed on January 1.
In addition to the four examples shown below, the head of Elizabeth II facing right was used to mark her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and another set in a diamond was used from July 2011 to October 1, 2012, to mark the Diamond Jubilee.Accordingly, it is increasingly common to see silver catalogued with a two-year date range.Since 1999 the inclusion of a date letter has not been compulsory.Since hallmarking began, the leopard’s head has been used in various forms to denote the London Assay Office.The Edinburgh mark is a three-turreted castle (to which a thistle was added from 1759 until 1975 when a lion rampant replace the thistle); the mark for Sheffield was a crown until 1974 when it was replaced by a rosette, while the symbol for silver made in Birmingham is an anchor.