Dating british gold hallmarks

It is common opinion that these marks were used only for small articles, but it is possible to find them on articles of big dimension like coffee pots and cake baskets.

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Some of The Assay Office marks of member countries of the Convention are illustrated below.

The shield design around the Assay Office mark may vary according to whether the article is gold, silver or platinum. During this period a variable tax was levied on all silver and gold assayed in Great Britain.

This shows the fineness of the metal – ie purity of the precious metal content in parts per 1000 in relation to the standard recognised in the UK.

For example 750 parts per 1000 by weight is equivalent to the old 18 carat gold standard.

From 1842 it was illegal to sell imported gold or silver in the UK unless it was assayed (tested) at a British office. From 1904 the carat value of gold was also shown and for silver the decimal value of the standard was used.

The Assay Office marks for gold would be in a Square shield with chamfered corners and in a blunt oval for silver.

Shows the year in which the article was hallmarked.

These are traditional standard marks that can still be used today. Since 1972 the UK has been a signatory to the international convention on hallmarks.

Following a ruling of the European Court of Justice the UK is required to accept national hallmarks of member states who provide an equivalent guarantee.

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