If it is English Sterling silver you should be able to determine the year it was made, in what city it was assayed, you will probably also be able to determine who the maker is, although those lists are far from complete. Date Letter The alphabet cycle is used to indicate the date of manufacture. The King's head duty mark was first struck in 1784. This mark is sometimes mistook for the standard mark but it was in fact a special duty mark, used only in Dublin. The Sheffield Assay Office was also one of the driving forces in bringing about legislation for the marking of mixed metals; items that are made from a combination of precious and non-precious metals can now be hallmarked to offer consumers more accurate descriptions of the items they are purchasing.
True silver from the city of Sheffield is sterling and so marked with the appropriate hallmarks, including the lion passant-the silver indicator for hundreds of years. Virtually without exception, authentic marks on vintage silver and silver plate were stamped, not cast. For clients, many of whom must demonstrate Due Diligence, this commitment to quality and continuous improvement is seen in a concise service, confidentiality and comprehensive reporting. Cast marks tend to be shallow with ragged or blurred edges and uneven in depth of impression. Since 1999, more and more reproductions are including both 925 and sterling.
This is a unique system and is the main reason, coupled with the excellence of the silversmith, that British silver is held in such high regard. It is also important to note that each town has a different series of letters, starting on a different year. The lines between the wealthy and the poor became blurred, giving rise to what quickly became known as the middle class. Apart from the expense and delay, those articles which did survive the perils of travelling 70 miles each way in horse-drawn carriages, over rutted roads frequented by highwaymen, were sometimes damaged by careless packing, or copied by the Chester silversmiths. Some authentic Victorian-era silver-plated pieces do bear applied discs with the manufacturers name. Common Warning Signs The best way to catch these carefully prepared forgeries is a side-by-side comparison. Owing to the high value of Gold, Platinum, Palladium and silver, there are significant profits to be gained by reducing the precious metal content of an alloy at the manufacturing stage.
The globalization of commerce has prompted nations to use the same units of weight, measure and standards to increase trade. Items in a gadroon rope-twist or shell border are usually Regency style, so likely date to the 19th century. The first Assay Office was a rented house on Norfolk Street and the first Assay Master a Londoner, Daniel Bradbury. It is a form of consumer protection, whose origin goes back almost 1000 years. Many factories changed their mark over time, so it is possible to approximately date a piece by the mark itself. Fluting and reeding can be done in a straight or slanting, spiral arrangement.
The 1773 Act had empowered Sheffield to use a Crown for its town mark. The Act also specified that the platers name and emblem were to be struck onto an object only once. From 1780 until 1853 the Sheffield assay office used, on small items, a punch with date letter and crown combined. By restricting the number of Guardians who were silversmiths to fewer than ten, Parliament also made sure that the Office was run for the benefit of the consumer rather than the manufacturer. Marks include two sun-shapes for Boulton. Other services, such as nickel-free testing for jewellery and mercury-screening for occupational exposure, complement traditional assaying and hallmarking. Any piece with this maker's mark cannot be earlier than the mid-1970s.
If you make a single mold with an old appearing mark, every piece made in the mold will carry that mark. You may be sure that an object bearing this mark is English sterling silver made after 1719. This presents obvious problems for those interested in antique and collectible silver and silver plate. It provided extra space for offices, laboratories, staff facilities, Board Room and Library. You must examine how marks are made as well as how the mark reads.
Certainly the inn existed — but whether there is any truth in the story is unknown. It also involved a great deal of highly specialized equipment. Many auction houses or dealers will value your silver items for free, often on the expectation that you might sell it through them at a later date. Look at the edges and the seam mark-both indicators of old Sheffield plate. Look for a matching date letter with or without the duty mark as needed. For Ireland there is Dublin. Many large local firms closed and it seemed as though the only people still making silverwares were skilled craft-workers.
Fluting utilizes concave vertical channels, while reeding consists of parallel, convex molding that resembles a bundle of reeds. Created to be used at the breakfast table in large country manors during the 18th and 19th centuries, these remarkable Old Sheffield tea machines held both coffee and tea in their uniquely shaped, Neoclassical style urns Two hundred and fifty years ago, at the height of the era, Sheffield Plate offered consumers a more affordable alternative to sterling silver. Knowing its history and what to look for, then, are imperative to any collection. Items made in 1870 are made the same way today, often making it difficult for one to determine exact age. These symbols may be placed in any order. Clients include national high-street retailers and international manufacturers. The Britannia figure was used in silver of 95.
Because the Select Committee which considered the petition had uncovered so many abuses by the existing Assay Offices of the time, Parliament made sure that the new ones were more strictly controlled. Today, a reputation for innovation too provides a compelling reason for business and industry across the spectrum to use the services in delivering consumer protection. Such an alloy needs to be strong, workable, yet still attractive. The center inlaid sterling circle shows no wear. Most of the treasure was in the form of silver bars. When, in 1880, the Fargate premises were needed for road-widening, the Guardians acquired a new site in Leopold Street shown below and remained there until 1958.