Over the next 50 years, Birks expanded by buying up established jewellers across the country. They also took over their rivals in manufacturing until they had a virtual monopoly on the production and sale of sterling silverware in Canada. Birks acquired several more designs from Gorham and other manufacturers later in the century and also designed a few of their own patterns like Tudor and Laurentian. Birks manufactured their own flatware and some of their hollowware in their factory in Montreal up until the early s when the factory was closed and production was moved offshore. In the early part of the century, the factory employed nearly people. Some of their hollowware was purchased from manufacturers in the UK and the US and sold under the Birks label. Birks sterling marks varied throughout their history which helps us to date their pieces.
READING BRITISH SILVER HALLMARKS
Our illustrated guide highlights the subtle ways you can discover the origins of any piece of silver. One of the most common inquiries at antique shows often has to do with authenticity: How do you know whether or not something is made of real silver? Collectors aren’t always looking for pure sterling silver , per se, but they should be able to know the value and composition of the pieces they’re buying. Most of the time, you can find the information you’re looking for by simply taking a closer look at the teaspoon , fish fork, ice cream saw, or cheese scoup that you’re eyeing.
More often than not, you can find an indented mark or a series of marks that can tell you a lot about the item: what it’s made of, where it was made, when, and by whom.
The most comprehensive internet resource for research of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers’ Marks found on antique and vintage silver and silverplate. Arts & Crafts Project · Modernist Silver & Jewelry · Gorham Date Marks · Kirk Date Marks.
After the “leopard head” was substituted for “lion head erased” and also for the “Britannia silver standard”. This is a page of A Small Collection of Antique Silver and Objects of vertu, a pages richly illustrated website offering all you need to know about antique silver, sterling silver, silverplate, sheffield plate, electroplate silver, silverware, flatware, tea services and tea complements, marks and hallmarks, articles, books, auction catalogs, famous silversmiths Tiffany, Gorham, Jensen These are 19th century marks found on fayence and porcelain.
Before that many of these marks were owned by a variety of companies and were bought and sold through a variety of business Glassware – Glassware – Midth to 20th century: The modern history of glass can be said to begin in the middle of the 19th century with the great exhibitions and with the new self-consciousness in the decorative arts that they expressed. Originally it signified the Assay Master responsible for testing and marking the silver. The silver-plated spoons and forks, issued by Christofle between and , possess three obligatory marks Fig.
Indistinct makers mark, Paris After , when the millesimal system was adopted in UK, an oval with the number or is stamped together with the maker’s mark and the Town mark, the “Britannia” and date letter being optional after this date.
Dating Antique Silver Hallmarks
A silver object that is to be sold commercially is, in most countries, stamped with one or more silver hallmarks indicating the purity of the silver, the mark of the manufacturer or silversmith, and other optional markings to indicate date of manufacture and additional information about the piece. In some countries, the testing of silver objects and marking of purity is controlled by a national assayer’s office. Hallmarks are applied with a hammer and punch, a process that leaves sharp edges and spurs of metal.
Therefore, hallmarking is generally done before the piece goes for its final polishing.
Buy English Silver Hallmarks (Dealer Guides) illustrated edition by Judith Banister, Essential to dating silver when collecting which has been a great help.
Antique silver hallmarks have been used to control the quality of goods made of silver since the 14th century and the organisation that regulates the craft, Goldsmiths Hall, gave the world the term hallmark. This is to ensure it is of the required sterling silver standard and, provided it conforms to a standard, a series of symbols are stamped into each part of the item. Today and for the past few centuries, this stamp or silver hallmark has shown the place and year of manufacture of the assayed silver item, as well as the silversmith who made or sponsored the item.
The laws governing silver hallmarking are very strict and if an item does not comply with a standard the item will not be hallmarked and will probably be destroyed. A false silver hallmark has always been treated with the utmost severity by the law and in the past a silversmith was pilloried for their first offence, where they would be pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables. There was a simple reason for this seemingly Draconian behaviour in that the manufacture of silver and gold was allied to the minting of currency.
Therefore, by debasing silver or gold, the offender was undermining the coin of the realm. A treasonable offence in times when treason was punished by death. Sometimes called the Sterling Mark, the lion passant, the mark for Made in England, first appeared on English silver and gold in For two years it was crowned, but has been struck ever since in its present form by all English Assay Offices. Used from the inception of the Sheffield Assay Office in , the Crown was the town mark of Sheffield.
Because of possible confusion with the Crown mark used after , as the hallmark for 18ct gold , the Sheffield assay mark was changed on January 1st for a rose. Which had incidentally, been used as the gold assay mark for Sheffield when the Assay Office was first entitled to test gold, after March 1st Between and the crown is often incorporated with the date letter struck on small objects.
Dating silver hallmarks
The vast majority of English, Scottish and Irish silver produced in the last years is stamped with either four or five 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. The metal is tested and marked at special offices, regulated by the government, known as assay offices.
A silver object that is to be sold commercially is, in most countries, stamped with one or more silver hallmarks indicating the purity of the silver, the mark of the manufacturer or silversmith, and other markings to indicate date of manufacture.
Beginning with the date letter “f” the leopard head is not longer crowned see London mark. The duty mark is not longer struck. In case of “stressed hallmarks” can be difficult to be distinguished from each other. Each article will be focused on a specific cycle of British hallmarks, not taken in a chronological order, beginning from the London Assay Office.
At the London Assay Office, each series refers to 20 years, starting with the date letter “a” and ending with the date letter “u” or “v”. Only twenty letters of the alphabet have been used, excluding: j, v or u , w, x, y and z. Note that the last letter of each cycle can be an “u” or a “v”, but this is probably due to the fact that in the classic Latin language and alphabet there was no difference between “u” and “v”.
There is only an exception in the 18th century, prior the introduction of the Britannia standard note 1 , when the cycle lasted 19 years and ended with the letter “t”. Also the next cycle from onward lasted 19 years, but in this case all the 20 date letters have been used. Although the procedure followed from time to time on hallmarking the silver objects is not the scope of these articles, I will present and comment, for the same date letter, different examples of actual hallmarks as found on various items.
Its objective is to prevent mistakes in determining the date marks of the period subject matter of our article. Small roman letters have been used at the London Assay Office for various cycles of hallmarks other than for the one: between and ; between and ; between and To avoid misunderstanding and wrong attribution, consider that inside some series were used punches of different shape to contain the date letter.
French silver makers marks 20th century
Hallmarks are one of the most important factors in identifying antique silver jewelry, flatware, and other items. These small stamped symbols on the back or underside of silver items can tell you the purity of the silver, the manufacturer of the piece, and sometimes even the date it was made. Understanding how to read hallmarks is an important skill for any antiques enthusiast.
If you have a piece of silver jewelry or a household item you’d like to identify, there’s a process that can help. Follow these steps to learn about your item.
see screenshots and learn more about Miller’s Silver Marks. Download Miller’s Silver Marks and enjoy it on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
See also the definitions page in this guide for additional information on hallmark components. Note at centre of the image at right the four elements of the hallmark. Detailed image of hallmark far right. Locate the assay office. If your item does not have one of the standard fineness marks, either traditional or numerical, then it is probably silver plate or is from another county. Go no further. The date letter shows the year that assaying was carried out.
The date letter example above represents Prior to the date letter varied for every office. After that it became uniform for every city. Since , the date letter has been optional. Most silver and goldsmiths making bespoke pieces will still opt to use the date letter, however for mass produced silver items it saves the importers money to leave it off.
DATE LETTERS – 1773 TO 2020
Can you help me please? Go to Solution. World wide? Any specific time frames? For serious collecting or just general recognition?
French silver makers marks 20th century. A letter mark coinciding with the date of assay was first introduced in London in Such items are clearly marked.
A hallmark is an official stamp on gold, silver and other precious metal articles, impressed by an assay office to attest their standard. English gold and silver articles have been marked by some form of hallmark since the 13th Century. This duty was originally carried out at Goldsmiths hall in London. Today there are four assay offices in the UK, although there have been several others over the intervening years.
Please click here for more information on Assay Offices. Today a hallmark consists of three compulsory marks “” standard mark, assay office mark and sponsors’ mark , with two optional voluntary marks lion passant and date letter. However until the system had been more or less the same for years. A lion rampant or thistle represents the Sterling standard in Scotland and a harp crowned in Ireland.
Today, the metal purity is tested, by taking a scrape from each article and subjecting the scrape to an electronic analysis. In the past, several other methods were used.