The date letter system was introduced in London in 1478 (elsewhere as the hallmarking system evolved). Its purpose was to establish when a piece was presented for assay or testing of the silver content. The mark letter changed annually in May, the cycles of date letters were usually Read more
An assay office undertakes the job of testing all articles of silver, gold and platinum, to ensure that they meet the minimum standard of purity.
In the case of silver there are two standards, Sterling (92.5%) and Britannia (95.8%). Today, the metal purity is tested, by taking a scrape from Read more
CHESTER, England (1701 – 1961)
Chester (closed 1961)
Two candlesticks from a set of four made during the time when there was no assay office in Birmingham. Boulton and Fothergill had to send all their silver to Chester, 72 miles away, to be assayed. The design is said to have Read more
As an alternative to the traditional UK Hallmarks articles may be marked with a Convention Hallmark which may have been applied by any one of the countries included in the International Convention on Hallmarking.
The United Kingdom has been a signatory to the International Convention on Hallmarks since 1972. Read more
BIRMINGHAM, England (1773 – Present)
THE BIRMINGHAM ASSAY OFFICE
Birmingham Assay Office
PO Box 151
Birmingham B3 1SB
Telephone 0121 236 6951
History and Hallmarks
The history of hallmarking dates back to 1300 when a Statute of Edward I instituted the assaying (testing) and marking of precious metals. The original aim of the Read more
In 1893, a law was enacted in Denmark that standardized a new system of silver marking. Required were: Maker’s Mark, Numerical Standard Mark, Assay Mark (three tower), and Assay Master’s Initial Mark. The minimum standard of silver purity was .826, this was amended to .830 in 1936 and .925 Read more
Contrary to popular belief, silver doesn’t tarnish especially rapidly unless items are left in an atmosphere where sulphur is present.
To clean your silver there are a number of safe silver polishes on the market which can be used with a soft cloth.
Always make sure that you remove all Read more
The search for a silver substitute was prompted by the increasing prosperity of the 18thC middle classes and led to the invention of Sheffield Plate by Thomas Boulsover c.1743. The new material was made by fusing a sheet of sterling silver to an ingot of copper in a furnace. Read more
The company was founded in Christiania (now Oslo), Norway by David Andersen in 1876. Andersen (1843-1901) was a gold and silversmith with a keen sense of quality and the high standards of his workmanship brought early success. By 1888, Andersen was able to expand his workshop into a steam Read more
Hallmarks have been used in Norway since the Sixteenth Century. The system included, at various times and in various combinations; city marks, assayer’s marks, date letters, date numbers, and maker’s marks. The farther a piece was made from the main population centers of Oslo (Christiana), Bergen and Trondheim, the Read more