THE ROMAN STATE UNDER THE FRENCH DOMINATION (1809-1815)
Napoleon Bonaparte, by decree dated May 17, 1809, attached to the French Empire the territories belonging to the Papal State.
Rome was declared "Imperial and Free City" including the town of Rome, its surroundings and the Departments of Viterbo, Velletri, Frosinone, Tivoli, Rieti, Spoleto, Perugia, Assisi and Todi ("Prima Ricupera", see below).
With imperial decree dated April 13, 1810 was introduced in the Roman territories the French model of hallmarking the precious metal.
The measuring system of silver in use in Rome, based on the ounces, was replaced by the decimal system and the title of the silver fineness was given in thousands.
Were established two Assay Offices: Rome for the Department of the Tiber (identified with the letter "H") and Spoleto for the Department of Trasimeno (letter "I").
THE RESTORATION OF THE PAPAL STATES (1815-1870)
After the fall of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna restored the Pope in his territories and, on 24 May 1814, Pope Pius VII returned to Rome.
Provisional marks were adopted for silver items under working process at the time of the Papal Restoration.
On January 7, 1815 was published the "Bando Generale sulla garanzia delle manifatture d'oro ed argento" (General rules about the warranty of silver and gold artefacts).
Rome and Departments were restored to the previous system based on ounces and new hallmarks were established to replace those adopted during the French Administration.
The new rules admitted three levels of silver fineness: 11,09 ounces ((947/1000), 10.16 ounces (889/1000) and 9.14 ounces (800/1000, only for old works)
Was also introduced a maker's mark of diamond (lozenge) shape containing the initials of the silversmith and a number attributed by the Rome Assay Office.
SURROUNDING PROVINCES ("PRIMA RICUPERA")
The Provinces of the "Prima Ricupera" adopted similar warranty marks, adding the silversmith's initials (left and right side), the code of the town of his workshop (top) and that of the Assay Office (bottom).
The town codes of the Assay Offices were: Frosinone uppercase letter "C", Perugia lowercase letter "p", Spoleto uppercase letter "S", Urbino uppercase letter "U", Viterbo uppercase letter "V".
The edict published on July 25, 1817 organised the Assay Offices of the territories annexed by Napoleon to the Kingdom of Italy.
REMAINING PROVINCES ("SECONDA RICUPERA")
The offices in the territories of Bologna, Ferrara, Forlì, Ravenna, Marche and Camerino (called "Seconda Recupera") adopted similar marks with the following town codes:
Bologna uppercase letter "B", Ferrara uppercase letter "F (reversed)", Foligno uppercase letter "F", Forlì lowercase letter "f", Ravenna uppercase letter "R" Macerata (for Marche and Camerino) uppercase letter "M", Jesi uppercase letter "I".
With the same edict were attributed the town codes to other Assay Offices:
Frosinone uppercase letter "C", Perugia uppercase letter "P", Spoleto uppercase letter "S", Urbino uppercase letter "U" and Viterbo uppercase letter "V".
In 1860 the territories of the "Seconda Ricupera" were annexed to the unified Kingdom of Italy. The Decree of August 22, 1863 extended to these territories the Italian hallmarking system with the addition of the initial of capital town of the province.
In 1870, following the invasion of Rome by the Italian troops, the Papal State ceased to exist.
After the conquest of Rome Italy attained its unity and a unique system of hallmarking was introduced in the Regno d'Italia (Kingdom of Italy).
The law 2 May 1872 deregulated silver production and introduced only a not compulsory inspection of silver artifacts.
(courtesy Claudio Morelli / ASCAS)