HOW TO READ, DECRYPT AND IDENTIFY
THE MARKS ON ENGLISH SILVERPLATE AND ELECTROPLATED SILVER
QUICK ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS
EPNS and EPBM are the acronyms more frequently used to identify English silverplate, EPNS stands for Electro Plated Nickel Silver and EPBM stands for Electro Plated
Britannia Metal..... MORE...
WHAT ABOUT A NUMBER NEXT TO THE MARK?
This is the production/pattern/stock number used by the firm to identify the item. Never assume these numbers as date of production of the piece
A1 OR AI, WHAT MEANS?
This is a code identifying the quality of the plating. "A1" or "AI" is the best quality (next A, B, C and D)
WHAT MEAN THE "S" AND "& S"?
The "S" stands for Sheffield. The "& S"" stands for "& Son" or "& Sons"
Often silverplate manufacturers adopted punches composed of a sequence of symbols (stars, crown, fleur-de-lys, etc.) and letters similar to that used by Assay Offices for
sterling silver hallmarking. They are "pseudo hallmarks" without a specific meaning..... MORE...
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. The presence of the "crown" signifies that the piece was made before c. 1895......
The lozenge (diamond) and the "Rd" are the date of registration of the model at the UK Patent Office. The lozenge (diamond) was used between 1842 and 1883 and the
"Rd" from 1884 onwards. Successful models have been maintained in production for a long time and the date of the patent signifies only that the piece was made after that date......
The maker's initials are the more common presence in silverplate marks. For pictorial maker's marks you can refer to the illustrated list of this site......
As part of their commercial strategy, silverplate makers devised a variety of trade names to stamp on their products next to or in substitution of the trade mark
(Martinoid, Culfonia, Leviathan, Bengal silver, Nevada silver, Brazilian silver, Britanoid, etc.). To identify the makers you can refer to the illustrated trade names list of this site......
This is a page of 'The What is? Silver Dictionary' of A Small Collection of
Antique Silver and Objects of vertu, a 1500 pages richly illustrated website offering all you need to know about
antique silver, sterling silver, silverplate, Sheffield plate, electroplate silver,
silverware, flatware, tea services and tea complements, marks and hallmarks, articles,
books, auction catalogs, famous silversmiths (Tiffany, Gorham, Jensen, Elkington),
history, oddities ...|
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