Dating birmingham gold
A new marks, the lion passant, was introduced to demonstrate the Royal supremacy to preserve the silver standard.In 1550 hallmarking operation moved back to the Goldsmith Hall, under the control of the Workshipful Company of Goldsmith, but the new mark was kept becoming soon the guarantee for the sterling standard.The first guarantee marks used in England was the leopard head, that was impressed on silverware made of alloy containing at least 925 ppt of silver (sterling standard).During the XV century, to prevent the bad practice of marking as sterling under standard items with a possible detriment of the silver standard use for coin (silverware could be converted in coin without assaying if marked with the leopard head), some change were promoted.Hallmarking operations were moved to the Goldsmith Hall of London, where the Workshipful Company of Goldsmiths was established, and put under the control of an Assay Master (then the term hallmarking).In 1544 Henry VIII moved the hallmarking operation from the Goldsmith hall putting them under the direc control of the Crown.
In London only 20 letter were used (all except J, W, X, Y e Z); in Birmingham all the alphabet; in Edinburgh all the letter except J.
In Sheffield, in the period between the opening of the Assay Office (1773) and 1824 the date letter randomly changed.
In Glasgow the use of the date letter was suspended for most the XVIII century The font of the letter was changed each cycle, combining the use of capital and lower letters and different shape of punches, in order to cover with different combination all the period of time th Assay master was in charge.
In more recent time (from the beginning of XIX century) the form of the maker mark becomes more complicated, including, ii the case of enterprises, the initials of all the consociated silversmiths.
In 1478 a third mark, reporting a letter of the alphabet to be change each year at the beginning of the month of May, was introduced.