Guide to Sterling Silver Hallmarking
If you are looking to identify a British Hallmark then there are several components to look at.
1. Silver Standard Mark - if the item is 925 Sterling silver and registered in england,then you will find a Lion mark on the item. Similarly, there are different marks for ites registered in different aprts of the UK.
2. City Mark - this tells us where the item was registered at the local Assay Office. For example an anchor denotes the City of Birmingham.
3. Duty Mark. This mark denotes the reign of the monarch during the period where tax was paid on the item. You will find a variety of different marks depending on the monarch regning at the time. This mark was abolished in 1890 so the last mark represented Queen Victoria.
4. Makers Mark - often shown as the makers initials, this was to show the provinence of the piece so that value could be attached to it later on. each maker was expected to have their own stamp with their pictoral image or later their initials for traceability. This mark was also instigated to avoid any potential forgeries.
5. Date Letters - to confirm the date of manufacture an alphabetic letter was designated for each year. The letters changed each May and when the alphabet repeated itself the font was changed to avoid any visual duplicates.
6. If an item was imported from oveerseas a mark was used to identify that is was a foreign item, hence the use of the letter "F". The overseas makers mark was also stamped alongside for traceability purposes.