Dating system for elkington silver plate
The vast majority of English, Scottish and Irish silver produced in the last 500 years is stamped with either 4 or 5 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.
Fortunately, with the use of a single reference book, it is possible for even a complete novice to decipher the vast majority.
Although there are many books on the market which can be used to help read hallmarks, the standard book of reference, used by dealers and collectors world wide is Bradbury's Book of Hallmarks.
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The stems are finely engraved with grapes and vines, and are fitted into the original Victorian leather case with silk and velvet interior. Serpentine Antiques at The Antiques Warehouse Badshot Farm St.
It is a form of consumer protection, whose origin goes back almost 1000 years.
There are so many different hallmarks found on British silver that to know all of them would be impossible.
As an example, the date letter for 1898 in London is a lowercase ‘c’, in Sheffield it is a lowercase 'f' and in Birmingham it is a lowercase ‘y’. This is why it is important to find the town mark before you try to find the date letter.
The Maker’s mark was initially a picture, but this practice was superseded by using the first two letters of the maker’s surname and later the initials.
It is also important to note that each town has a different series of letters, starting on a different year.