It is common opinion that these marks were used only for small articles, but it is possible to find them on articles of big dimension like coffee pots and cake baskets.

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This pocket sized reference contains all of the marks that one is likely to encounter on a regular basis.

Armed with this book, the process of reading these marks can be split into the 5 simple steps shown below.

By 1838 they had discovered and patented a new way to electroplate one metal on to the surface of another.

By 1840 production was already underway with silver electroplated wares. Dixon & Sons Dobson & Sons Eley family Elkington & Co Emes family Fattorini & Sons Fox family Garrard & Co S.

Each city with an Assay office works on a different cycle.

For detailed information about each city’s assay mark and the table of dates each city uses – refer to one of the guidebooks suggested here.

Therefore, hallmarking is generally done before the piece goes for its final polishing.

The hallmark for sterling silver varies from nation to nation, often using distinctive historic symbols, although Dutch and UK Assay offices no longer strike their traditional hallmarks exclusively in their own territories and undertake assay in other countries using marks that are the same as those used domestically.

Elkington & Co exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 with enormous success.

In 1885 Elkington registered designs by Christopher Dresser.

In some countries, the testing of silver objects and marking of purity is controlled by a national assayer's office.