It is a form of consumer protection, whose origin goes back almost 1000 years.There are so many different hallmarks found on British silver that to know all of them would be impossible.Fortunately, with the use of a single reference book, it is possible for even a complete novice to decipher the vast majority.Although there are many books on the market which can be used to help read hallmarks, the standard book of reference, used by dealers and collectors world wide is Bradbury's Book of Hallmarks.The King's head duty mark was first struck in 1784.In that year and the following year, the head faced left and was debossed rather than embossed.It is also important to note that each town has a different series of letters, starting on a different year.
The insignia of the town or city in which the test was made. At the end of that period the apprentice became a full member of the Guild as a Master Silversmith.
You don’t need to memorise these marks because they are in Bradburys book of hallmarks.
Simply flick through the book, looking at the top of the tables of marks to remind yourself if you forget.
English silver has, for hundreds of years, been accepted as the finest in the world.
We can thank both the unique system of Hallmarks and the jealous and zealous traditions of the Guild of Goldsmiths.