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Dating gold hallmarks guide

Hallmarking is carried out by an organisation independent of the manufacturer of the item.In addition to the fineness, hallmarks can show where and when an item was hallmarked, and who submitted it.At first this was called the "assayer's mark" but is now commonly known as the date letter.Gold and silver watch cases submitted for hallmarking at a British assay office had first to be stamped with a mark identifying the person submitting the work, using a punch that had been previously registered at the assay office.

It involves testing and the fineness of the metal and then stamping it with control marks that show the results.The new town marks shown below were used from 1 June 1907 on imported watch cases to distinguish them from watch cases made in Britain.If it is a silver watch case another clear indication is that the silver standard is given as .925 in an oval shield rather than by the traditional mark for sterling silver made in Britain of the lion passant, a walking lion with raised right forepaw.The testing (assay) and hallmarking of gold and silver items in Britain goes back to the year 1300.At first the wardens of the Goldsmiths' company would visit guild members workshops and stamp their work with the mark of the leopard's head.British practice changed in 1907 when it was ordered that all imported gold and silver watch cases be assayed and hallmarked in a British assay office.From 1 June 1907 the assay offices were ordered to strike hallmarks on imported watch cases that were different from those struck on watch cases made in the UK.Watch cases made in America carry marks stamped by their makers that were not legally mandated or controlled.These are not hallmarks; the customer relied on the manufacturer's honesty rather than legal protection.I don't make any attempt here to cover manufacturer's trade marks, of which there are thousands.If you want to identify a trademark, an invaluable resource is Mikrolisk.

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