Dating gorham silver plate marks
Armed with this book, the process of reading these marks can be split into the 5 simple steps shown below.
Bradbury's book of hallmarks was last updated in 2014 by the Sheffield Assay office.
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.
The duty mark was only struck in certain years and when found, will take the form of either a King or Queen’s head, depending on who was on the throne at the time. To the collector, the main importance of this mark is that it helps you find the date letter.
When Victoria came to the throne in 1837, the mark was replaced with the Queen's head duty mark which always faces left. Go to the appropriate section in Bradburys for the given town.
Many of the patterns have representative photographs from which you can compare your piece.
The vast majority of English, Scottish and Irish silver produced in the last 500 years is stamped with either 4 or 5 symbols, known as hallmarks.
It can be purchased directly from there or from any major book seller.
You don’t need to memorise these marks because they are in Bradburys book of hallmarks.
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The Maker’s mark was initially a picture, but this practice was superseded by using the first two letters of the maker’s surname and later the initials.