It was not until 1856 that the leopard's head mark could have been used for any purpose other than a fineness mark.Birmingham has the anchor, Chester the three wheat-sheaves and sword, Sheffield the crown and the Tudor rose (from 1975).
Various fonts, sizes and outlines were adopted to differentiate the marks of silversmiths having the same initials.The Sovereign's Head demonstrates the payment of the duty on the piece bearing it. In Glasgow the Sovereign's Head was introduced in 1819 while, from 1798, watchcases were exempted from the fee.Often he would continue to work for his old master in the capacity of journeyman but he could, if he wished, go to another workshop and sometimes a silversmith would remain a journeyman for all of his working life" (courtesy David Mckinley/ASCAS).The majority of silversmiths never actually registered their own mark.In 1867 the Foreign Mark was introduced adding an "F" to the appropriate British hallmark.
In 1904 an Act of the Order of Council ordered that foreign silver had to be marked with the decimal value: .925 for Sterling Standard and .958 for Britannia Standard.
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.
Any Assay Office adopted its own cycle of date letters so that only from the 1975 the four surviving Assay Offices use a uniform system of dating (optional from 1999).
A special duty mark (Hibernia) was used in Dublin from 1730 to 1806.
"Duty dodger" is the definition of unscrupulous silversmiths that used fraudulent methods to avoid paying the tax (e.g.
These are the links to the date letters tables of main Assay Offices: London Birmingham Sheffield Chester Dublin Edinburgh Glasgow In early times the maker's mark was constituted by a symbol but from the 15th century the mark was formed by silversmith's name and surname initials.