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In Part I, I gave a brief history of the development of the British silverplating industry in the 18th and 19th centuries.Now I would like to offer some tips on how to determine whether a given object is silver, Old Sheffield Plate or silverplate.
You may be sure that an object bearing this mark is English sterling silver made after 1719.
In addition to the Lion Passant there are other marks which give more information about the sterling silver object.
There is a mark which will tell you in what city it was assayed (i.e. London, Birmingham, Chester, Sheffield, Dublin, Edinburgh, etc.
There is another mark – generally the sovereign’s head – which will certify that duty was paid on the piece.
Another mark will give the year that the item was assayed (generally speaking the year it was made) -these are letters in a shield device.
Each year is represented by a different letter of the alphabet.