ON G(j~D.

THE ASSAV OFFICES OF GREAT BRITAIN

~Oag

London Bi rminghall' Sheffield Edinburgh GlJARANTEElNG TH~ OO/lLI1O' O,PI1ECIQUS MElAI'SSINcE 132]

£1

HALLMARKING

AN INTRODUCTION . ;.

In the UK, hallmarking has a long history, dating back nearly 700 years, and representing the earliest form of consumer protection. The consumer benefits in many ways.

Hallmarks are small markings stamped on gold, silver and platinum articles. A hallmark means that the article has been independently tested and guarantees that it conforms to all legal standards of purity (fineness). These tests are carried out only by an Assay Office, of which there are four in the UK -london, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh.

2

The Hallmarking Act 1973 changed on I January 1999 and allows articles of higher and lower standards of fineness to be sold. This brings UK law into line with European law. Consumers may now choose from a much wider range of goods but continue to benefit from the same level of protection.

It is illegal for any trader to sell or describe a precious metal article as gold, silver or platinum unless it is hallmarked. Gold articles weighing less than 1 gram, silver articles weighing less than 7.78 grams and platinum articles weighing less than half a gram are exempt from hallmarking.

CURRENT UK HALLMARKS

Below are some examples of the types of marks which are being stamped on articles of gold, silver and platinum in the UK.

SPONSOR'S OR MAKER'S MARK

The registered mark of the sponsor or maker of the piece

METAL AND

FINENESS (PURITY) MARK A milleSimal number which indicates [he

precious metal con tent, The shape of the shield identi fies the metal as gold, ,ilver or platinum

COMMON CONTROL

MARK

A mark applied by countri es which are signatories to the

lnternatlonal Convention on Hallmarking

TRADITIONAL FINENESS (PURITY) MARK

A traditional symbol denoting one of the older precious meta I

fineness",

ASSAY OFFICE MARK

The mark of the Assay Office where the piece was tested

DATE MARK Alene' representing the year In which the piece was hallmarked

+

COMMEMORATIVE

MARK.

Struck on the occasion of a special event

3

CURRENT UK HALLMARKS

COMPULSORY MARKS ,',

Modifications to the Hallmarking Act, effective from

1 January 1999. have changed the way articles made of precious metal are hallmarked. The UK Hallmark now comprises a minimum of three compulsory symbols.

SPONSOR'S OR MAKER'S MARK

Indicates the maker or sponsor of the article. In Britain. this mark consists of at least two letters within a shield. and no two marks are the same.

METAL AND FINENESS (PURITY) MARK Indicates the precious metal. content of the article, and that it is not less than the fineness indicated. Since 1999, all flnenesses are indicated by a millesimal number (eg 375 is 9ct). This number is contained in a shield depicting the precious metal.

ASSAY OFFICE MARK

Indicates the particular Assay Office at whi.ch the article was tested and marked. There are now four British Assay Offices ~ London. Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh. There were other Assay Offices in former times.

4

SPONSOR'S OR MAKER'S MARK

METAL AND FINENESS (PURITY) MARKo

ASSAY OFFICE MARK

Gold Silver Platinum

., • tal •• db ..lIg

•• lIil

London

Sheffleld

Edinburgh

"The Hallmark guarantees th:a~ the ,Ptnity of the metal 'is Q~ least that mdkated by tile Fineness Number.

CURRENT UK HALLMARKS

VOLUNTARY MARKS ,.~

TRADITIONAL FINENESS (PURITY) MARK Prior to 1999, silver and platinum flnenesses were indicated by symbols (see pages 10 and II).

. COMMON CONTROL MARK

This is a mark used by countries which are signatories to the International Convention on Hallmarks (see pages 6 and 7).

DATE MARK

Until 1999. a date .Ietterindicating the year of hallmarking was compulsory. This is no longer so, but it can be applied voluntarily in addition to the compulsory marks (see pages 12 to 16) .

1999 fA
2000 fi)
2001 m 2002 [i) 2003 m 2004 @)

2005 0
2006 OJ
2007 GI 2008 0 2009 0 2010 II

COMMEMORATIVE MARK

One example is the MiJlennium Mark which will be applied to precious metals by the four UK Assay Offices during 1999 and 2000 (see page 17).

+

5

CURRENT INTERNATIONAL HALLMARKS

CONVENTION MARKS ~;'

The United Kingdom has been a signatory to the International Convention on Hallmarks since 1972. This means that UK Assay Offices can strike the Convention Hallmark which win then be recognised by all member countries in the International Convention. Conversely, Convention Hallmarks from other member countries are legally recognised in the UK. Articles bearing the Convention Hallmark do not have to be re-hallmarked in the UK.

An example of a Convention Hallmark:

925

SPONSOR'S OR MAKER'S MARK

COMMON CONTROL MARK

FINENESS (PURITY) MARK

ASSAY OFFICE MARK

The Assay Office marks of member countries of the Convention are illustrated opposite. The shield design around the Assay Office mark sometimes varies according to whether the article is gold, silver or platinum. The key mark to look for is the Common Control Mark. The three other marks must also be present.

6

CURRENT INTERNATIONAL HALLMARKS

CONVENTION MARKS .' ~'{?l

FINENES5 (PURITY) MARK"

SPONSOR'S OR MAKER'S MARK

COMMON CONTROL MARK

ASSAY OFFICE MARK

Gold Silver Platinum Gold I Silver
- • aD • 375 800
• a 585 925
• 750 Platinum
950 ~ ~ ,
Ausrrta Czech Republic Denmark "The Haflmark guarantees that the purity of the metal is ~ that Indicated by the Fineness Number.

Finland Ireland Netherlands Norway

Portugal Sweden Switzerland

london 81",,10&0'.'" Sheffield Edinburgh

Uru'ted Kingdom

7

CURRENT INTERNATIONAL HALLMARKS

MARKING IN OTHER COUNTIRES ;'1

Since 1 st January 1999 following a ruling of the European Court of Justice, the UK is required to accept (and not re-hallmark) other European national hallmarks which provide an equivalent guarantee to consumers. It is the opinion of the British Hallmarking Council that such hallmarks must contain a Sponsor's or Maker's Mark, a Fineness (Purity) Mark and an Assay Office Mark. For example:

_ 750 (Q

The complete hallmark must guarantee that the purity of the metal is at least that indicated by the Fineness Number.

Some European national hallmarks incorporate the Fineness (Purity) Mark in the Assay Office Mark. For example:

Using these criteria, the national hallmarks of Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Portugal and Switzerland, without the Common Control Mark, are acceptable in the UK.

Some European hallmarking countries are not members of the International. Convention.

8

Spain has a dual system of Assay Office hallmarking and licensed manufacturers' marking. The only Spanish hallmarks which conform to the British Hallmarking Council criteria are;

A1

V1

M1

Ancblucla

Valencia

Madrid

In the opinion of the British Hallmarking Council, the national laws of Belgium and France do not presently provide an equivalent guarantee. Some European hallmarking countries are in the process of amending national laws in the light of the EUropean Court of Justice ruling or are in the process of joining the International Convention (ie France). Consequently, the list of acceptable Assay Office marks is likely to be extended according to these developments.

Italy. Germany, Greece and Luxembourg do not have independent systems of guarantee. Articles from these countries must be hallmarked in the UK or Convention hallmarked in one of the Convention countries.

National hallmarks of countries outside the European Economic Area are not legal in the UK. Articles from these countries must be hallmarked in the UK or Convention hallmarked in one of the Convention countries.

,

HISTORIC UK HALLMARKS

In 1238, Henry III commanded the Mayor of London to appoint six faithful and discreet goldsmiths who would be responsible for ensuring standards for gold and silver articles. Later, Edward I passed a statute requiring not only that all silver articles were to be of sterling standard, the same as coinage, but also that they were to be assayed by the Wardens of the Goldsmiths' Guild and marked with a leopard's head.

In 1327 the Goldsmiths' Gui.ld received its first Royal Charter form Edward III which confirmed its responsibility for assaying and marking. The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, as the guild was later called, is still responsible for the London Assay Office.

Under another statute in 1363, makers were ordered to stamp their own distinguishing marks alongside the leopard's head. Originally, the maker's mark took the form of a device, such as a cross or a fish; later, it became the practice to use the initials of the worker or firm.

In December 1478, the company appointed a salaried Assaver and compelled makers to bring their completed silverwares to Goldsmiths' Hall to be assayed and marked before they were offered for sale. This practice has continued to the present day and is the orlgi n 0 f the word 'hallrna r k' .

In the same year, an additional mark - the date letter - was introduced by the Company. This consisted of a letter of the alphabet which was changed annually. When one alphabet cycle was completed, the style of the letter or its surrounding shield was altered.

Hallmarking continued during succeeding centuries at Goldsmiths' Hall and at the Assay Offices which later opened in other towns, such as Newcastle, Exeter and York, where there were working goldsmiths and silversmiths. In Scotland, there were goldsmiths working at a date as early as in England. The earliest records pertain to the goldsmiths of Edinburgh. An Act of Parliament was passed in 1773 establishing Assay Offices in Birmingham and Sheffield.

Several of the provincial offices have now closed - Newcastle, Exeter and York in the 19th century, Chester in 1962 and Glasgow in 1964. The Dublin Assay Office, whose origins date from the early 17th century, continues [0 operate in Ireland.

9

HISTORIC UK HALLMARKS

FROM 1975 - 1998 (31.12.98) .II'

, .... ~t!

FINENESS (PURITY) MARK

ASSAY OFFICE MARK

IMPORTED
GOLD SILVER PLATINUM
"0'" '0' "'0""
\!~ ~~ ~.~
m ~ m
m f!) 00
a 0 m
1.- GOLD.

SILVER & PLATINUM

GOLD, SILVER & PLATINUM

GOLD, SILVER & PLATINUM

GOLD,.

SILVER & PLATINUM

10

HISTORIC UK HALLMARKS

PRIOR TO 197 5 ~:j'

• + .,.

FINENESS (PURITY) MARK

IMPORTED

IMPORTED

HISTORIC HALLMARKS

LONDON FROM 1678-1974 ".:.~

§f!\ 1698 9 1720 Ij 1739 t!J 1761 III amI§! 1805 m 1827 aD 1848 III 1871 e 1893 ~ 1915 m e- 1958 S
1678 (J 1699 ~ 1721 !j 1740 Gl 1762 Gl 17840 1806 (!J 1828 m 1849 ® 1872 ij 1894 0 fill! 1936 r!1 1959 m
§~ 1700 S 1722 r.!J 1741 0 1763 ® 1785 f!J 1807 m 1829 CD 1850 W 1873 ~ 1895 " 1916 fD 1937 § 1960l§)
1679 m 1701 r&J 1723 III 1742 & 1764 iJ amo 1808 m 1830 Ii 1851 m 1874 0 WJC 1917 m 1938 ~ 1961 fj
1680 (3 1702 D 1724 0 1743 ~ 1765 .~ 1786 0 1809® 1831 ~ 1852 rn 1875 m 1896 m 1918 e 1939 (!) 1962 (;j
1681 l:l 1703 g Itfm 1744 U 1766 rtl 1787 OIl 18100 1832 G 1853 © 1876 rJ 1897 m 1919 m 1940 § 1963 m
1682 (3 1104 C!J 1725 II! 1745 l!I 1767 Qj'I 1788 m 1811 w 1833 £) 1854 @ 1877 t] 1898 G1 1920 [I 1941 ~ 1964 n
1683 (j 1705 G 1726 !) 1746 U 1768 m 1789 m 1812 m gme 1855 til 1878 @ 1899 m 1921 D 1942 ~ 1965 fj
1684 ill 1706 ij 1727 liD 1747 fU) 1769 (!) 1790 m 18130 1.8340 1856 tIt 1879 Ij) 1900 Gl 1922 m 1943 1:1 1966 fS
1685 IV 1707 ~ 1728 W 17481D 1710 CJ 1791 (I 1814 ij 1835 m 1857 Q 1880 @ 1901 0 tiD 1944 0 196718
1686 lJ 1708 Ci'J Ci'fm 1749 ® 1771 @ 1792 Ii 1815 (JJ 1836 51 1858 e 1881 " 1902 m 1923 m 1945 m 1968 fiB
1687 fIt 1709 ~ 1729 [!1 1750 III 1712 Ul 1793 (3 1816 fa 1837 Q 18590 1882 (!t 1903 In 19240 1946 l!I 1969 ra
1688 [) rrro (j 1730 I] 1751 13 1773 Q 1794 G 1817 tD 0.6 1860 6 1883 III 1904 D 1925 m 1947 mJ 1970 U
1689 lEI 1711 a 1731 C!1 1752 JJ 17748 1795 m 1818 (!J 1838 t!) 1861 I 18840 1905 m 19260 19481I1 1971 rij
1690 rn 1712 @ 1732 ill 1753 (j 1775 m 1796 rJ 1819 19 1839 ® 18620 1885 " 19060 1927 Oll 1949 ~ 1972 fj
1691 r!1 1713 e 1733 fil 1754 0 1776 m 1797 m 1820 CiJ 1840 tQ 1863 en 1886 01 1907 liD 1928 m 1950 m 19736
1692 ~ 1714 ~ 1734 U 1755 (!l 1777 m 1798 @ 1821 (j 1841 I 1864 0 188? fill 1908 m 1929 m 1951 [!J 1974 fI
1693 rv 1715 ~ 1735 ~ 0= 1778 t!J 1799 Ul om@ 1842 ti3 1865 m 1888 ~ 1909 00 1930 III 1952liJ LiD
1694 [B 1716 ~ 1736 fD 1756 @ 1779 II 1800 (! 1822 m 1843 c 1866 0 1889 CD 1910 C1 1931 fj 1953 (;J
1695 m 1717 0 1737 l!l 1757 el 1780 ra 1801 61 1823 m 1844 €I 1867 m 1890 ij 1911 m 1932 fl 1954 ii
1696 [j 1718 (j 1738 (j) 1758 t:j 1781 0 1802 ® 18240 1845 ~ 1868 m @. 1912 Ii 1933 m 1955 I!I
fa e 1719 I]: 1739 !!l 1759 f.!) 1782 (B 1803 m 1825 m 1846 i18 1869 ® 1891 ® 1913 m 1934 fJ 1956~
12 1697 fLU) e .G:l e~ 1760 ~ 1783 1ft 18040 18260 1847 rm 1870 ~ 1892 flJ 1914 [1 1935 m 1957 ~ HISTORIC HALLMARKS

BIRMINGHAM: FROM 1773-1974 ,"" '~':,

~o 1793 " 1816 ~ =03 1859 Ci 1881 Cit 1902 e.g C31 1947 E3 1969 I!I
1773 61 1794 ~ 1817 0 1838 ijl 1860 ~ 1882 (l) 1903 m 1925 r.1 19486 1970 II
1714 ID 1795 t3 1818 ® 1839 Cil 1861 ~ 18830 1904 ra 1926 In 1949 fl 1971 Wi
1715 til 1796 'iJ 1819 " 1840 W 1862 ~ 18844) 190511 1927 CI ern 1972 )J'
1716 ijJ 1797 fA 1820W 1841 ~ 1863 00 1885 0 1906 &J 1928 m 1950m, 11m
1771 Jj 1798 (i1 1821 g1 1842 fj 1864 ~ 1886 ® 1907 m 1929 [j 1951 m 197311
1718 ill 1799 m 1822 '~ 1843 00 1865 (!] 1887 til 1908 U 1930 () 1952 fir Om
1719 t!J 1800 {jJ 1823 ~ 1844 l!l 1866 rn 1888 CD 1909 III 1931 m 1953 lil 1974 fA
1780 III 1801 !D 1824 rg 1845 fm 1867 ~ 1889 ell 1910 0 1932 [D 1954 (M
1781 U 1802 r;J 1825 ij3 1846 U 18680 1890 Q) 1911 liD 1933 [I 1955 Zi
1782 [9 1803 fj 1826 g 1847 m 1869 (II CtO 1912 m 1934 CI 19563
1783 (!I 1804 ~ 1827 fJi] 1848 fa 1870 " 1891 0 1913 CO 1935 II 1957 'ill.
~O(j 1805 ID 1828 @j e30G 1871 0 1892 m 1914 Ii 1936 m 19580
1784 flI 1806 U 1829 CiJ' 1849 ~ 1872 a 1893 0 1915 W 1937 ~ 1959 fJ:
1785 ~ 1807 g 1830 ~ 1850 m 1873 i) 1894 m 1916 Ii 1938 CD 1960 1lI
~O0 1808 IB 1831 Il!J 1851 [jJ 1874 @ 1895 m 1917 Ii) 1939 iii 1961 m
1786 C!l 18090 1832 iJJ 18521] mOG 1896 lm 1918 0 1940 C!l 1962pj!
1787 ij 1810 il11 1833 II 1853 I]J 1875 0 1897 B 1919 to 1941 m 1963 :rtJ
1788 [!l t81l ijJ ~O@ 1854 (j 1876 (l) 1898 m 1920 a 1942 ~ 1964l1i1
1789 III 1812 C!l 1834 i! 1855 (fl 1877 I) 1899 fA 1921 m 1943 D 1965 J!l
1790 @J 1813 III 1835 rID 1856 m 1878 (!) CO 1922 ~ 1944 m 1966 m:
1791 0 1814 fiJ 1836 m 18570 1879 G 1900 m 1923 9 1945 ii 1967 &'I
1792 i!J 1815 ij 1837 ~ 18580 18800 1901 m 1924 fA 1946 ~ 19681j 13 HISTORIC HALLMARKS

SHEFFIELD FROM 1773-1974 .~~

fi:I~ 1793 m 1816 0 t838 m 1860 (§t 1882 ~ 1904 liD 1925 II' 1948 tj 1971 iil
1773 mI 1794 1m 1817 ~ 18390 1861 0 1883 ID 1905 m 1926 I) 1949 C!' 1972 fB
1774 Jjj 1795 m 1818 0 UmI" 1862 m 1884 m 1906 e 1927 I] 1950 fIt 1973 ~
1775 III 1796 &J 1819 ~ 184<1 [!] 1863 ~ 1885 § 1907 e 1928 0 1951 0 1914 QI
1776 m 1797 Et 1820 m 1841 W 1864 m 1886 0 1908 m 1929 Wl 1952 f.3 II~
1777 ml 1798 W 1821 i1 1842 II 1865 ~ 1887 (JJ 1909 0 1930 III 1953 I]
1778 ~ 1799 rn 1822 ~ 1843 ~ 1866 W 1888 ~ 1910 m 1931 @ 1954 ~
1779 m 1800 ~ 1823 m 1844 &1 1867 ~ 1889 Wj 1911 0 1932 ~ 1955 ~
1780 ~ 1801 ill 1824 m 1845 rn lle9 1890 D 1912 m 1933 ~ 1956 @
1781 ~ 1802 ~ 1825 rn 1846 CiI 1868 rJ tmC'l 1913 m 1934 Ij 1957 [j
1782 @j 1803 (j 1826 [!J 1847 rn 1869 ill 1891 D ml~ 1935 ~ 1958 ~
1783 iTIl 1804 (jJ 1827 t3 1848 rn 1870 ~ 1892 8 1914 a 1936 0 1959 ~
a~. 1805 rn 1828 G1 1849 I] 1871 m 1893 £!J 1915 0 1937 i!l 1960 ~
1784 i3 1806 ~ 1829 [I 1850 (!I, 1872 ~ 1894 m 1916 m 1938 G 1961 (ij
1785 LY 1807 (;J 1830 m 1851 OJ 1873 (J 1895 (J 1917 a 1939 ~ 1962 [!l
fi:I~O 1808 ~ 1831 m 1852 0 1874 C!l 1896 til eel 194<1 ~ 1963 W
1786 rn 1809 (3 1832 m 1853 m 1875 m 1897 [I 1918 ED 1941 ~ 1964 ~
1787 til 1810 [!I 18330 1854 f) 1876 V 1898 [J 1919 rn 1942 ~ 1965 fJ
1788 fl!!! 1811 [II umO 1855 Iru 1877 (3 1899 ID 1920 C!1 1943 fJ 1966 ~
1789 (i) 1812 rn 1834 lID 1856 m 1878 IJ 1900 OJ 1921 rn 1944 ID 1967 ~
1790 DI 1813 rn 1835 R 1857 00 1879 ~ 1901 0 1922 ~ 1945 OJ 1968 IJ
1791 II 1814 ~ 1836 m 1858 m 1880 rn 1902 m 1923 rJ 1946 ID 1969 til
1792 III 1815 00 1837 m 1859 m 1881 ro 1903 0 1924 ffj 1947 ~ 1970 8
14 HISTORIC HALLMARKS

EDINBURGH FROM 1705-1974 _ 5

~ 1727 t3 1750 iii 1772 ~ 1793 ~ 1816 13 1838 (@ 1860 ® 1883 @ 1905 1928 iJ 1951 iji @~
1705 PJ 1728 IiJ 1751 m 1173 lliI 1794 [!) 1817 0 1839 ~ 1861 (3 1884 (t 1906 " 1929 U 1952 U
1706 rn 1729 ~ 1752 il 1774 m 1795 IJ 1818 OD 1840 0 1862 () 1885 (l) 1907 G 1930 YJ 1953 ,
1707 l'B 1730 m 1753 m 1775(ID 1796 rtJ 1819 OJ !rtiHIO 1863 (9 1886 () 1908 e 1931 ra 1954 ijI
1708 OJ 1731 ~ 1754 ~ 1776 0 1797 W IIlU@ 1841 liD 1864 ~ 1887 0 1909 e 1932 , 1955 ~
1709 III 1732 @ 1755 Vi1 1777 ~ 1798 ~ 1820 OJ 184.2 l!J 1865 0 1888 @ 1910 a 1933 I,fI 1956 f!
1710 tj 1733 @ 1756 m 1178 ij 1799 0 1821 Ij 1843 ~ 1866 ~ 1889 m 1911 ~ 1934 r!jJ 1957 rn
1711 [!) 1734 m 17S! mi 1779ID 1800 QJ 1822 W 1844 m 1.867 (! 1890 0 1912 e 1935 r8 1958 @)
1712 ID 1735 (fJ 1758 ~ 1780 Fj! 1801 " 1823 Ii 1845 tID 1868 ~ lit; 1913 m 1936 ~ 1959 ~
1713 U 1736 r;J 'I !1m 1781 m 1802 " 1824 I$t 1846 ij) 1869 flJ 1891 m 1914 1) 1937 ~ 1960 [Iij
1714 r.a 1737 m 1759 ~ 1782 [jJ 1803 , 1825 0 1847 @ 1870 ® 1892 0 1915 1J 1938 Fm 1961 m
1715 IJJ 1738 9J 1760 (jj 1783 m 1804 " 1826 (!J 1848 rn 1871 G) 1893 aD 1916 e 1939 U 1962 ~
1716 fJ] 1739 mI 1761 ~ Wl1!tl1l 1805 fJ 1827 m 1849 m 1872 ® 1894 m 1917 , 1940 f1!I 1963 Itl
1717 ~ 1740 0 1762 rn 1784 61 1806 m 1828 m 1850 ~ 1873 m 1895 C!) 1918 4t 1941 0 1964 m
1718 (!) 1141 !ill 1763 H 1785 Ii 1807 ~ 1829 f3 1851 @ 1874 0 1896 II) 1919 0 1942 !D 1965 II
1719 lP 1142 III 1764 rn m,,@ 1808 Q1 1830 W 1852 m 1875 0 1897 0 1920 S 1943 III 1966 mJ
1720 en 1143 @) 1765 Ii! 1786 00 1809 m 1831 fa 1853 GID 1876 (!) 1898 0 1921 ID 1944 [fJ 1967 !il
1721 m 1144 Ifj 1766 ~ 1787 til 1810 Gl 1832 U 1854 I] 1877 0 1899 ~ 1922 Ul 1945 '6 1968 til
1722 f;J 1145 tJ 1167 m 1188 rn 1811 0 1833 m 1855 m 1878 Q 1900 0 1923 9 1946 r?J 1969 Iii)
1723 !if 1146 ~ 1768 ~ 178900 1812 m 1834 (I'j 1856 ~ 1879 G 1901 (l) 19240 1947 m 1910 m
1724 m 1147 ~ 1769 ,m 1790 IJ 1813 III 1835 ijl 1857 til 1880 a 1902 ~ 1925 1il 1948 g 1971 @
1725 " 1148 ~ 1770 @) 1791 I] 1814 IJ 1836 @j 1858 @ 1881 @ 1903 0 1926 W 1949 , 1972 IB
1726 W 1149 III 1771 m 1192 111 1815 0 1837 III 1859 @ 1882 fi) 1904 @ 1927 m 1950 fZil 1973-4 ~ 15 OTHER HISTORIC HALLMARKS

FORMER ASSAY OFFICE MARKS

Several of the larger provincial cities had Assay Offices which are now closed. Each had its distinctive mark, some of the more important of which are shown below.

CHESTER - CLOSED 1962

EXETER - CLOSED 1883

There is also an Assay Office in Dublin and marks struck there before I st April 1923 are recognised as approved British hallmarks. The Dublin mark is a figure of Hibernia.

GLASGOW - CLOSED 1964

DUBLIN

ASSAY OFFICE MARK

From 1975 aU United Kingdom Assay Offices used a common Date Letter as shown below,

1975 1976 1977

~ 1978

~ 1979

[!j. 1980

1984 m 1985 0 1986 II

1981 m 1982 m 1983 6

16

1990 m 1991 III 1992 g

1987 m 1988 m 1989 fJ

NEWCASTLE - ClOSED 1884

1993 0 1994 m 1995 II

1996 g 1997 L1 1998 m

OTHER HISTORIC HALLMARKS

DUTY MARKS

Between 1784 and [890 an excise duty on gold and silver articles was collected by the Assay Offices and a mark depicting the Sovereign's head was struck to show that it had been paid. These are two examples.

GEORGE III

VICTORIA

COMMEMORATIVE MARKS

There are 4 other marks to commemorate special events: the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary in (935, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth Il in 1953. her Silver Jubilee

in (977. and the new Millennium.

G

-

.

.

CORONATION 1953

SILVER JUBILEE (935

+

SILVER JUBILEE 1977

MILLENNIUM MARK

17

CHECKLIST

When checking Hallmarks remember that the Hallmark should indicate:

is there a Sponsor's or Maker's Mark?

is the metal

and fineness indicated?

is there an Assay Office Ma rk?

If the answer is 'ye5' to these three questions, three further questions arise:

1. Is it a UK Hallmark (see pages 4 and 5)?

2. If not, is it a Convention Hallmark -look for the Common Control Mark (CCM) (see pages 6 and 7)?

3. If not, check if the Assay Office Mark is one which the British Hallmarking Council recommends as equivalent (see pages 7 and 8).

Note: The question as to whether European national hallmarks provide an equivalent guarantee to UK hallmarks or Convention hallmarkS can on!v be declded by the indrvidUill national courts. This booklet has been produced based on information available at July 1996.

18

Further Reading

A study of hallmarks can become fascinating and rewarding. For anyone who wishes to learn more about hallmarks the publications listed below are recommended. Your local library should be able to provide books on the subject.

Bradbury's Book of Hallmarks

Published by J.W. Northend Ltd., Sheffield (A handy pocket reference book)

Jackson's Silver & Gold Marks of England Scotland & Ireland Edited by Ian Pickford. Published by Antique Collectors' Club (Also jackson's Hall rna rks, pocket edition)

The Directory of Gold & Silversmiths, 1838-1914 From the London Assay Office Registers, by John Culme Published by Antique Collectors' Club

19

This booklet is published by The Assay Offices of Great Britain, who would be pleased to respond to any enquiry.

LONDON The Assay Office Goldsmiths' Hall Gutter Lane London EC2V8AQ

BIRMINGHAM The Assay Office Newall Street Birmingham B31SB

SHEffiElD

The Assay Office 137 Portobebo Street Sheffield SI4DR

Further information may be obtained from

The British Hallmarking Council PO Box 18133

London

EC2V8JY

The Convention's Secretariat 9-11 rue de Varembe 211 Geneva Switzerland

EDINBURGH The Assay Office Goldsmiths' HaJI 24 Broughton Street Edinburgh EHI3RH

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