Silver dating letters all access dating


23-Mar-2020 11:21

In 18th and 19th century Scotland more than 30 different silversmithing centres were active from Aberdeen to Wick with each ‘hammerman’ using their own mark.Specialist publications are essential for locating and unstanding the meaning of a huge proliferation of different marks and symbols used on Scottish provincial silver.The inclusion of initial stamps alongside the hallmarks means that most makers can also be identified.Often makers are celebrated in their own right with some collectors choosing to collect the work of just one workshop or retailer such as Paul Storr, Hester Bateman, Charles Ashbee or Liberty & Co.The company or person responsible for sending a silver article for hallmarking has their own unique mark that must be registered with the assay office – a process that has been compulsory since the 14th century.

Some of these ceased hallmarking as early as the Stuart period (the Norwich assay office identified by a crowned lion passant and a crowned rosette shut in 1701), while others such as Chester (three wheat sheaves and a sword) and Glasgow (a tree, bird, bell and fish) were still operating into the post-war era.Accordingly, it is increasingly common to see silver catalogued with a two-year date range.Since 1999 the inclusion of a date letter has not been compulsory.For a variety of reasons this practice was not always adhered to and the resulting anomalies can be seen in the tables of marks.

However, the date letter system allows antique plate to be dated more accurately than almost all other antiques.Dublin silver is struck with a crowned harp, to which a seated figure of Hibernia was added in 1731.



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