Dating english sterling silver Chatwebxxx
A date letter first appeared on English silver plate in the year 1697 as a result of legislation.In clause VIII of the Act 8 & 9 William III c.8 which, among other things, deals with the marks that must be applied to assayed plate at Goldsmiths' Hall the following wording is used: " ....and a distinct variable mark to be used by the warden of the said mystery, to denote the year in which such plate is made;..." This legislation remained in place until 1999 in which year the Government adopted European hallmarking practice which does not require that an assayed item of plate must be dated.Series of alphabetical letters were chosen to indicate the year of assaying (date letter) using "cycles of letters" of different font and size inside punches of various shapes.
Various fonts, sizes and outlines were adopted to differentiate the marks of silversmiths having the same initials.
Birmingham has the anchor, Chester the three wheat-sheaves and sword, Sheffield the crown and the Tudor rose (from 1975).
York has a five lions passant in a cross, Exeter a castle with three towers and Newcastle-upon-Tyne three castles.
In Scotland, Edinburgh has the castle and Glasgow the "tree, fish and bell".
In Ireland, Dublin origin is deduced by the presence of the figure of the crowned harp and Hibernia. XX which introduced this standard reads as follows: "It is ordained, that no Goldsmith of England, nor none otherwhere within the King's Dominions, shall from henceforth....... The 925/1000 (sterling) silver fineness is certified in London and other British Assay Offices by the use of the "lion passant" mark.