Birmingham silver dating hallmarks
Cautions about Hallmark Tables This page is principally about hallmarking.
A hallmark is a legally mandated mark applied by an independent testing authority that shows the fineness of precious metal; gold, silver or platinum. For instance, there are is no such thing as an American hallmark.
The first London silver hallmark to be used was the leopards head, in the year 1300.
In that year, a decree by Edward I laid down that silver or gold could not be made or sold unless it was marked by the leopard’s head or The King’s Mark, as it was then known.
Learning how to define the origin of a piece of silver, the year made and the silversmith is great fun and also a way of perhaps finding a rare item that was made in a particular year or city.
But many other names are used for silver plate: EPWM - Electroplate on White Metal, EPC - Electroplate on Copper, Argentium Argentine Plate, Argentum, Ascetic B.
This page helps you to make a start on identifying the hallmarks in your watch case, and then leads you to another page with more detail.
There are brief descriptions of different types of hallmarks that you are likely to find in a watch case, and then for the British and Swiss hallmarks there are links to take you to pages of more detailed information.
There was a simple reason for this seemingly Draconian behaviour in that the manufacture of silver and gold was allied to the minting of currency.
This mark became crowned in 1478 and remained crowned until 1821.
Since 1821, the uncrowned leopard’s head has remained as the distinguishing mark of London.
Sometimes called the Sterling Mark, the lion passant, the mark for Made in England, first appeared on English silver and gold in 1544.
For two years it was crowned, but has been struck ever since in its present form by all English Assay Offices.