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11-Sep-2015 08:07

The Edinburgh mark is a three-turreted castle, to which a thistle was added from 1759 until 1975, when a lion rampant replace the thistle. The mark for Sheffield was a crown until 1974 when it was replaced by a rosette.

Sequences of historical marks for these offices can be viewed through the links below.

Hallmarking has continued at Goldsmiths' Hall in London ever since.

Other assay offices were opened in provincial centres and today there are still offices in Edinburgh, where hallmarking has been regulated by statute since the 15th century, and in Birmingham and Sheffield, where assay offices were established by act of parliament in 1773.

The Dublin mark is a crowned harp to which a seated figure of Hibernia was added in 1731.

Marks were also applied by a number of provincial assay offices which have now ceased operating: Chester - closed in 1962 Mark: three wheat sheaves and a sword Exeter - closed in 1883 Marks: a crowned X or a three-turreted castle Glasgow - closed in 1964 Mark: combined tree, bird, bell and fish Newcastle upon Tyne - closed in 1884 Mark: three separated turrets Norwich - closed by 1701 Mark: a crowned lion passant and a crowned rosette York - closed in 1856 Mark: half leopard's head, half fleur de lys and later five lions passant on a cross Scottish/Irish provincial For many reasons town silversmiths in Ireland and Scotland seldom sent their plate to Edinburgh, Glasgow or Dublin to be assayed.

Hallmarking is a form of regulation and consumer protection dating back 700 years.

It was Edward I who passed the statute requiring silver to be of sterling standard to match coinage and introducing an assay system which made it the responsibility of the Wardens of the Goldsmiths' Guild to mark all items with a leopard's head stamp.

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The United Kingdom and Ireland currently have five assay offices.The London mark has always been a leopard's head in some form.



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