What Do Silver Stamp Marks Mean?

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Silver stamp marks, sometimes known as hallmarks or makers marks, give information about products made of silver. Marks on items like jewelry and flatware can indicate the purity of the silver, who made it and where.

A sterling silver mark discloses that the piece is at least 92.5 percent silver. England’s hallmark system is one of the most elaborate, and a lion symbolizes British sterling. Different cities have their own marks that show where a piece was made. For example, Birmingham, England, uses an anchor, and pieces made in Sheffield bear either a crown or a rose.

A letter, however, indicates the piece’s year of origin. Although manufacturers have their own unique marks, the marks have less meaning in American pieces. American silversmiths used them irregularly, and some attempted to copy British marks.