How to Value: Silverware

Silver Dictionary’ of A Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of vertu , a pages richly illustrated website offering all you need to know about antique silver, sterling silver, silverplate, Sheffield plate, electroplate silver, silverware, flatware, tea services and tea complements, marks and hallmarks, articles, books, auction catalogs, famous silversmiths Tiffany, Gorham, Jensen, Elkington , history, oddities In Scotland the craft was theoretically supervised by the Edinburgh Goldsmiths’ Incorporation, but in practice its influence outside the capital was limited and a plethora di unofficial Scottish Provincial marks was created. London leopard’s head crowned until London leopard’s head uncrowned present. London lion head erased. Birmingham anchor present. Birmingham bicentennial commemorative Sheffield crown Sheffield Tudor rose present. Chester a sword erect between three wheat-sheaves

British / English Silver Hallmarks

Marks on precious metals have been regulated by law since ancient times. From pharaohs, Roman emperors and continuing today, fineness, or standard marks, have been used to guarantee minimum amounts of precious metal in relation to non-precious metal. At least that’s the theory.

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Silver hallmarks

The vast majority of English, Scottish and Irish silver produced in the last years is stamped with either four or five symbols, known as hallmarks. The prime purpose of these marks is to show that the metal of the item upon which they are stamped is of a certain level of purity. The metal is tested and marked at special offices, regulated by the government, known as assay offices. Only metal of the required standard will be marked.

It is a form of consumer protection, whose origin goes back almost years.

Early British Table Silver (Flatware), 15th th century spoons, knives, forks, Few such complete sets, of the same maker and date, still exist, and usually.

Antique sterling silver folding fruit knife and fork, each marked with duty head and lion passan…. A pair of sterling silver comports by Tiffany, the pattern number of means they would have…. A very rare Scottish antique sterling silver medal by William Robb, carries a full set of Edinbu…. New sterling silver pointing finger bookmark hallmarked from Edinburgh with the makers mark bein….

The l…. Rare antique silver safety razor case box with fitted interior, made by the highly respected mak…. Novelty silver coal scuttle sugar bowl, hallmarked from Birmingham in with the makers mark …. Brand new Scottish sterling silver quaich presented within a good quality fitted box.


See also the definitions page in this guide for additional information on hallmark components. Note at centre of the image at right the four elements of the hallmark. Detailed image of hallmark far right.

Date letters are now optional in British hallmarks. England has also agreed to accept standard marks on silver imported into England from any nation that signs a.

Learn about how to value silverware, with our ValueMyStuff valuations and appraisals experts. Discover what to look out for and how it can impact the value. Like jewellery but unlike most other antiques, silverware has an intrinsic value tied to the price of gold and silver bullion. Your silverware is also, however, may be worth far more than its value as base metal; although the market for antique silver has not been at its strongest in recent years, quality pieces appraised by an expert continue to fetch high prices.

For many pieces, age is key. For a silver fork, for example, authentic wear which supports an early date by hallmark can indicate a high value as forks only began to see widespread use in Britain in the late 17th century. Similarly, revival-style pieces, such as 19th century rococo, are usually less valuable than the originals despite similarities in appearance.

If genuine, hallmarks can usually successfully date a silver piece, shown in British marks by a combination of the date letter and assay office mark.

The Story of English Silver

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If genuine, hallmarks can usually successfully date a silver piece, shown in British marks by a combination of the date letter and assay office.

During the second half of the 19th Century, a new fashion inspired by antique styles such as Medieval, Classical or Baroque widespread in Europe and influenced revivals in architecture, fine art and decorative art. In Germany this manner became particularly popular and was known as Historismus, consisting in copying or re-elaborating historic styles and famous museum objects.

The historicist style had a huge impact on the decorative arts, and particularly on silverware. Contrary to this, silver manufacturers active in the German city of Hanau chose to mark their production with fantasy marks. The type of marks used in Hanau in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century would have been illegal in England and France, but Hanau had a long tradition as a free-trade city, being exempt from duties on silver and consequently regulated hallmarking since the 16th Century.

From the midth Century, following the growing demand for luxury goods and the fashion for highly decorative pieces, a great number of Hanau silversmiths started producing silver objects inspired or copied from the antique pieces. Daniel Philipp August Schleissner , son of the founder, was a great admirer of antique silverware and had studied many private and public collections of genuine old silver.

Hallmarks on Period Jewelry

Lion head erased , in use as London Mark for silver of Britannia standard. London – Isaac Devenport. London – William Scarlett.

British & Irish Silver Date Letters To date your silver from its hallmark, first identify the assay office (e.g. anchor for Birmingham, leopard’s head for London, etc.).

In Part I, I gave a brief history of the development of the British silverplating industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. Now I would like to offer some tips on how to determine whether a given object is silver, Old Sheffield Plate or silverplate. In England silver has been marked in some manner since the 12th century when it was first regulated by Parliament. The marks made it possible to trace the maker and the place of manufacture. This helped to protect the consumer, for if it was determined that the silver object was not actually pure enough to be marked as silver, the culprit could be found and punishment could be meted out.

As silver objects made before are quite rare, I shall restrict my comments to those made after that date. In Parliament established the standard for purity for sterling silver and instituted a mark indicating that an item is of sufficient purity to be deemed sterling. That standard means an item is made of The mark is a Lion Passant -the image of a lion walking, facing left.

You may be sure that an object bearing this mark is English sterling silver made after In addition to the Lion Passant there are other marks which give more information about the sterling silver object. There is a mark which will tell you in what city it was assayed i.

Everything You Need to Know About Identifying Silver

A typical set of antique British silver hallmarks showing left to right ; 1. Standard Mark, 2. City Mark, 3. Date Letter, 4. Duty Mark and 5.

Hanau Historicist Silver History & Important Silversmiths. as the magnificent silver cup and cover by Wilhelm Heinrich Hubert Laufs, dating to the midth are always hallmarked with English import marks (lion rampant, sterling silver).

English silver has, for hundreds of years, been accepted as the finest in the world. We can thank both the unique system of Hallmarks and the jealous and zealous traditions of the Guild of Goldsmiths. The insignia of the town or city in which the test was made. A letter of the alphabet is used to illustrate a given year, thus representing the date. Since many cycles of alphabets can be written in different ways A, a, A, etc. In addition to the above marks, the silversmith may place his own identifying mark upon the silver, usually his initials.

From the hallmarks the following may be quickly determined:. By virtue of the laws of the Guild, silversmiths were required to serve an apprenticeship of seven years to learn the craft. At the end of that period the apprentice became a full member of the Guild as a Master Silversmith. In this way, quality of metal and quality of craftsmanship were protected. At the end of the 17th century, when Protestants were being persecuted anew in France, the cream of French silversmiths Huguenots , fled to England seeking the religious freedom they knew could be obtained there.

The 18th century saw the birth of the industrial revolution and the introduction of tea as a national drink.

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