A list of English silver town marks

Posted on 25 June 2015

Below are just some of the hallmarks you may find on fine antique silver, indicating the town in which they were made and/or assayed. BIRMINGHAM Set up in 1773 due to petitioning by Matthew Boulton. No lions head erased on Britannia, just Britannia. CHESTER 3 lions passant halved with ½ wheatsheaf. 1701-1779 3 wheatsheafs replace this mark. DUBLIN Crowned harp used from circa 1638. EDINBURGH C1485 town mark struck 1681 date letters added Deacon Masters mark until 175... Read More »

Snuff boxes and the social importance of snuff

Posted on 17 June 2015

Inhaling snuff, or snuffing, as it is also called, was first witnessed by a European in 1493, when Friar Ramón Pane, who had arrived in the new world courtesy of Christopher Columbus, was living as a missionary among Haiti’s indigenous Taino. Until then, tobacco had been unknown to Europeans, but the use of tobacco spread like a weed on the continent during the 1500s. By the second half of the 17th century, ornate silver snuff boxes were being produced to keep the preciou... Read More »

Sterling Silver Flatware

Posted on 11 June 2015

Holding a piece of sterling silver flatware in the palm of the hand is like holding a piece of moonlight. In fact, since ancient times, silver has been associated with the moon. Both capture the warm, full-spectrum light of the sun and reflect it back as a cool, lustrous grey. Antique solid silver knives, forks, and spoons, as well as silver tea services and serving utensils, almost seem to shimmer when set out upon a table. Yet for all its eye-catching properties, silver is comfortable with its largely ut... Read More »

Scottish Provincial Silver Town Marks

Posted on 04 June 2015

This page is intended as a quick reference for identifying Scottish silver town marks. For a comprehensive and excellent account of all the Scottish provincial town marks, as well as their maker’s marks, I would recommend “Illustrated Directory of Scottish Provincial Silversmiths & Their Marks” by Richard W. Turner. Aberdeen Silver Town Mark 1 Aberdeen Silver Town Mark 2 Aberdeen James Erskine Boar and Dagger Mark Aberdeen James Erskine Dagger Mark Ab... Read More »

A brief history of the Sheffield Assay Office

Posted on 28 May 2015

The Sheffield Assay Office is just one of four remaining Assay Offices found in the United Kingdom, with the other three being in Edinburgh, Birmingham and London, making Sheffield an important historical and modern centre for UK silver. It was first established in 1773, as part of a joint effort with Birmingham. The silversmiths of both Sheffield and Birmingham joined together to petition Parliament to establish Assay Offices in their cities, much like the already established Assay O... Read More »