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Dating sterling silver

"Duty dodger" is the definition of unscrupulous silversmiths that used fraudulent methods to avoid paying the tax (e.g.inserting into a large piece a small disk bearing marks from an article on which a low tax had been paid).

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Various fonts, sizes and outlines were adopted to differentiate the marks of silversmiths having the same initials.In origin he was "a man who did not gain the freedom of the City and was therefore a 'non Freeman' but was free of a livery company and thus qualified to ply his trade could do so as a 'journeyman' provided he was licensed by the corporation.Often he would continue to work for his old master in the capacity of journeyman but he could, if he wished, go to another workshop and sometimes a silversmith would remain a journeyman for all of his working life" (courtesy David Mckinley/ASCAS).The Sovereign's Head demonstrates the payment of the duty on the piece bearing it. In Glasgow the Sovereign's Head was introduced in 1819 while, from 1798, watchcases were exempted from the fee.From July 15 1797, for nine months, the King's Head was duplicated owing to the Duty being doubled.and a distinct variable mark to be used by the warden of the said mystery, to denote the year in which such plate is made;..." This legislation remained in place until 1999 in which year the Government adopted European hallmarking practice which does not require that an assayed item of plate must be dated.

Series of alphabetical letters were chosen to indicate the year of assaying (date letter) using "cycles of letters" of different font and size inside punches of various shapes.

|HOW TO READ ENGLISH/BRITISH STERLING SILVER MARKS| |DUTY MARKS| |LEOPARD'S HEAD| |LONDON MARKS| |WOMEN SILVERSMITHS| |PSEUDO HALLMARKS| |IMPORT MARKS| |CONTEMPORARY MARKS| |JOURNEYMAN MARKS| |HERALDRY & FAMILY CRESTS| |OLD ADVERTISEMENTS| |FACTORIES & SHOPS: OLD IMAGES| |ARTICLES ON ENGLISH SILVER| The hallmarking of British sterling silver is based on a combination of marks that makes possible the identification of origin and age of each piece.

From the end of the 12th century the craft of silversmith has been regulated in conformity with Royal Ordinances and Acts of the Parliament.

In England the craft was regulated by the Guild of Goldsmiths at London and in Ireland by the Guild of Dublin.

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.

The Custom Act of 1842 ordered that imported gold and silver couldn't be sold in Great Britain and Ireland unless it had been assayed at a British Office.