Protecting the Consumer and Servicing
the Trade with Independence and Integrity

Hallmark Identification



The sponsor’s mark, showing who submitted an article for hallmarking, and town mark, showing which Assay Office hallmarked it, together provide complete traceability of a hallmarked item. This can provide a fascinating insight into the provenance of a piece.

Over almost two and a half centuries Assay Office Birmingham has registered tens of thousands of sponsor’s marks and the complete catalogue is currently still held in a complex system of archives which  can only be interrogated manually and which require significant complicated cross referencing between files and the metal plates where a sample of each mark has been struck and captured for posterity.

Sponsor’s marks from 1773 until 1858 are currently searchable on this website in the Heritage Hub section under Early Silver Hallmarks. 

Later sponsor’s marks will require input from the Assay Office.  There is a standard charge of £18 to identify your hallmark. 

Please note Assay Office Birmingham can only identify sponsor’s marks which were struck in Birmingham and therefore have an anchor as part of the hallmark.

 When reading your hallmark follow these basic rules: 

  • Use an eyeglass or a magnifying glass, if you have one.
  • Your hallmark will probably include three to five symbols as shown below. These may have been applied in any order.
  • Take a digital photograph of the hallmark to upload to this website to give us the best possible chance of identifying it correctly.
  • If you have any ideas as to its likely date range due to its history please include that also 
Town Mark Town mark - This symbol will tell you where the item was tested and hallmarked.
The date letter - This symbol will tell you the year in which the item was tested and marked.


The sponsor’s mark - This symbol will tell you who submitted the item to the Assay Office to be tested and marked.

 Standard Mark

Standard mark - This symbol will tell you the type of metal from which the item is made; silver, gold or platinum. It will also tell you the standard of that metal. For example, this mark shows that an item is made of sterling silver.

 Duty Mark

The duty mark - This symbol does not appear in all hallmarks, but if it does, it will tell you that the item was marked during a year when duty was levied on gold and silver by the Crown. Duty marks will appear on items marked at The Birmingham Assay Office from 1784 until 1890. 

Please note, that the shapes that surround the Anchor, the date letter, the standard mark, and the duty mark may vary. 


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