Hallmark - (Silver)

TheAntiqueTrade.co.uk Glossary of Antique Terms H

Hallmark - (Silver) The particular mark of the Assay Office at which a piece of plate is assayed. Makers' marks and date letters are not, strictly, hall-marks. Hall-marks were introduced in England in 1300 when the Wardens of the London Goldsmiths were ordered to assay and mark with a leopard's head all plate before it left the goldsmith's hands. The purpose was to indicate quality and prevent fraud. In 1363 it was decreed that all goldsmiths should have a mark. At first emblems, these makers' marks became the two first letters of the surname in 1696, and from 1739 onwards they became the initials of Christian and surnames.

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