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These five nations have, historically, provided a wealth of information about a piece through their series of applied punches.
The French assay mark for sterling silver is the head of the goddess Minerva.For two years it was crowned, but has been struck ever since in its present form by all English Assay Offices.The first London silver hallmark to be used was the leopards head, in the year 1300.The mark of origin is the Harp Crowned and it appears with a date letter and maker’s mark. Simply learn to recognise those Antique Silver Hallmarks.
Learning how to define the origin of a piece of silver, the year made and the silversmith is great fun and also a way of perhaps finding a rare item that was made in a particular year or city.In fact, the French standard for sterling silver is higher than that of other nations, requiring a silver content of 950 parts per thousand, or 95% silver.