A SMALL COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE SILVER
AND OBJECTS OF VERTU
THE WHAT IS? SILVER DICTIONARY

"CROWN" MARK
ON STERLING SILVER AND SILVERPLATE

From the very beginning the platers tried to make their wares resemble silver as closely as possible. It did no harm if the marks on them also looked rather like those on silver.
Since the early times Old Sheffield Plate presents initials and symbols in the same style and on the same places as did the silversmiths, sometimes repeating these devices to simulate the stamp of the assay office, the lion and the maker's mark.
When in 1773 the silversmiths of Sheffield and Birmingham obtained to establish assay offices for silverwork in both towns, the "crown" symbol was chosen to identify Sheffield Assay Office (the "anchor" was chosen for Birmingham).
One of the objective of the established Assay Office in Sheffield was to obtain some degree of control over the platers as the Parliament Act carried a clause prohibiting the striking of any letter, or letters, on goods "Made of metal, plated or covered with silver, or upon any metal vessel or other thing made to look like silver: the penalty being a fine of 100".
The prohibition, more or less respected by Old Sheffield Plate makers of early 19th century, was largely ignored by electroplated silver makers of the Victorian Age (1837-1901).
The use of pseudo hallmarks was a common practice and most of UK electroplaters adopted trade marks consisting in their initials coupled to '&', 'S' (for Sons or Sheffield), 'EP' (for Electro Plate) and a profusion of symbols inside outlines of various shape (circles, shields, squares), obtaining a result very similar to that present in sterling silver wares.
One of the preferred symbols was the "crown", used by Sheffield Assay Office on sterling silver wares.
The use of the "crown" on silverplate wares was tolerated for about 50 years, until, in c. 1895, a new intervention of the authorities reaffirmed the prohibition of the use of the crown in silverplate as it was seen as an imitation of the Sheffield silver mark.
As a result of this intervention many electroplaters changed their marks deleting the crown symbol.
In this page is illustrated a selection of trade marks used by electroplaters "before" and "after" the 1895.
Actually, some of these marks were modified before this date (change of the company name, 'modernization' of trade mark layout, changeover to Limited Liability Company, etc.) but most of them have been a direct consequence of the threat of legal action by Sheffield Assay Office.

|THE STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO SILVERPLATE MARKS|    |UK FIGURAL TRADE MARKS|    |ALPHABETIC SYMBOLS|    |SILVERPLATE PSEUDO HALLMARKS|    TRADE NAMES ON BRITISH SILVERPLATE
|UNIDENTIFIED SILVERPLATE MARKS|




THE "CROWN" OF SHEFFIELD ASSAY OFFICE

The Sheffield Assay Office was established in 1773 and the symbol of its mark was a "crown". It was applied with various ranges of punches in proportion to the sizes of the objects on which they were stroked.
From the year 1815 to 1819 the crown is consistently found stamped upside down. The most probable explanation of this practice was to differentiate more clearly between letters that were being used at this period and those struck in earlier years (example letter X in date letters in the years 1797 and 1817).
An innovation entirely different from the procedures of other offices was the method adopted, dating from the year 1780 until 1853, of stamping the mark of origin and date letter combined in one punch. Probably designed for striking on small articles where space was limited, the punches came eventually to be used on all classes of sterling silver wares.

Sheffield Assay Office: date 1774 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1797 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1816 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1827 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1828 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1834 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1837 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1850 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1851 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1868 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1869 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1883 Sheffield Assay Office: date 1892




THE "CROWN" ON SILVERPLATE TRADE MARKS : "BEFORE AND AFTER"

In this page is illustrated a selection of trade marks used by electroplaters "before" and "after" the 1895. Actually, some of these marks were modified before this date (change of the company name, 'modernisation' of trade mark layout, changeover to Limited Liability Company, etc.) but most of them have been a direct consequence of the authorities' intervention.

Alfred Browett mark with crown
Alfred Browett mark without crown
Alfred Browett mark with crown
Alfred Browett mark without crown

Alfred Browett - Birmingham: crown replaced with a 'fleur de lys' (below)

Buxton & Co - Sheffield: crown deleted from EP. Added a "X" symbol (below)

John Clarke & Sons mark with crown
John Clarke & Sons mark without crown
Culf & Kay mark with crown
Culf & Kay mark without crown

John Clarke & Sons - Sheffield: crown deleted and 'modernised' layout changing gothic characters (below)

Culf & Kay - Sheffield: crown and symbol replaced with EP (below)

Daniel & Arter mark with crown
Daniel & Arter mark without crown
James Dixon & Sons mark with crown
James Dixon & Sons mark without crown

Daniel & Arter - Birmingham: both crowns deleted (below)

James Dixon & Sons - Sheffield: crown and A1 replaced with PNS (below)




Elkington & Co mark with crown
Elkington & Co mark without crown
Evans & Matthews mark with crown
Evans & Matthews mark without crown

Elkington & Co - Sheffield: crown deleted (below)

Evans & Matthews - Birmingham: crown replaced with another symbol (below)

Fattorini & Sons mark with crown
Fattorini & Sons mark without crown
Fenton Russel & Co Ltd mark with crown
Fenton Russel & Co Ltd mark without crown

Fattorini & Sons - Bradford: crown deleted (below)

Fenton Russel & Co Ltd - Edinburgh: crown deleted and 'modernised' layout changing gothic characters (below). Note the delay of the change of layout as the company became Ltd in 1900

Thomas Prime mark with crown
Thomas Prime mark without crown
Thomas Latham & Ernest Morton mark with crown
Thomas Latham & Ernest Morton mark without crown

Thomas Prime - Birmingham: both crowns replaced with other symbol/letter (below)

Thomas Latham & Ernest Morton - Birmingham: crown replaced with another symbol (below)




Levesley Brothers mark with crown
Levesley Brothers mark without crown
William Marples mark with crown
William Marples mark without crown

Levesley Brothers - Sheffield: crown replaced with an A (below)

William Marples - Sheffield (above)
William Marples & Sons - Sheffield: crown replaced with an & (below)

Martin Hall & Co mark with crown
Martin Hall & Co mark without crown
William Padley & Son mark with crown
William Padley & Son mark without crown

Martin Hall & Co - Sheffield: crown deleted and 'modernised' layout changing gothic characters (below)

William Padley & Son - Sheffield: crown replaced with a 'hand' (below)

John Round & Son mark with crown
John Round & Son mark without crown
William Page & Co mark with crown
William Page & Co mark without crown

John Round & Son - Sheffield: crown replaced with a 'globe' (below)

William Page & Co - Birmingham: crown replaced with another symbol (below)





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