Although the use of the Britannia silver standard was not compulsory after 1720, it is still an authorized alternative.
Good quality old Britannia marked silver is quite rare and collectible and therefore command a slightly higher price.
This standard became known as Sterling silver and, in order to be struck with a sterling silver mark, any object had to be sent to, and tested by, the wardens of the goldsmiths guild at the London Assay Office.
This silverware again is quite collectible and starting to command a slight premium.
Each town or area obviously had a number of registered silversmiths and they all had their individual marks, which they sometimes changed to reflect changes in their business lives.
What follows here is a brief overview of silver hallmarks in England, Scotland, and Ireland.
It should be used as a guide only, and we recommend using the Bradbury's Book of Hallmarks (ISBN # 0953174123).
Grimwade (ISBN # 0571180655), or 'The Directory of London Gold & Silversmiths 1838 to 1914' by John Culme (ISBN # 0907462464).
Certain makers are again very collectible and command very high prices.
Later, in 1478, a further mark known as the date letter was added.
This date letter changed each year and has proved to be of enormous value giving an accurate guide to the year in which an item was made.
If you want to learn more about silver styles & designs then click here.
he British system of Hallmarking and the unbroken continuity of marks over the centuries is unique and a source of great fascination for many people.
Today the only assay offices that are left open for silver hallmarking are London, Birmingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh, and Dublin. The alphabet cycle is used to indicate the date of manufacture.