Dating british silver

Britannia silver bore the profile of a lion’s head in place of the sterling mark.This higher-quality silver was softer and easier to work with, but the standard was phased out i The town mark indicated the origin of a piece; a large number of different town marks are known today.Ever since, the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and Silversmiths has enforced this standard.The Worshipful Company derives its authority from the Goldsmiths’ Hall, whose name is the origin of the word “hallmark.” Because England used silver money until 1921, the crown relied on strict enforcement and heavy punishments to ensure the quality of British silver.For a short interim starting in 1697, the crown required silverware to be 95.8 percent pure silver, rather than 92.5 percent.This requirement was known as the Britannia standard, and the goal of its implementation was to prevent silversmiths after the Restoration from melting down coins (which were sterling standard) and using that to make their wares.

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The sterling silver standard mark guaranteed that the silver content of a piece was at least 92.5 percent. This mark was changed again in 1820 to an uncrowned lion head.

London used a leopard’s head, but marks elsewhere were often inconsistent.

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