If your item does not have one of the standard fineness marks, either traditional or numerical, then it is probably silver plate or is from another county. Special commemorative hallmarks are created to celebrate major events. The maker’s mark bears the initials of the maker in a shield approved and registered at the assay office.Contrary to most other cities the trade in Hanau was not strictly regulated and every gold or silversmith could provide a finished item with the marks he or she chose.
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Since the date letter has become optional but the other three symbols remain compulsory.
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Usually these stamps carried the initials of the maker accompanied by a pictorial mark in a specific contour.
The purity mark is one of the first stamps to look for when inspecting jewelry.
Only precious metal watch cases must be hallmarked.
In the past the assay was conducted by using the touchstone method but currently most often it is done using X-ray Fluorescence XRF.
When hallmarks are present, they can add greatly to the value of the coveted object and that is especially true when the stamp is rare or that of an important maker.
This project has been 15 years in the making and now documents over 12,000 silver marks on 1,200 pages and subpages.
It is regularly updated as we find and photograph new examples of silver hallmarks and makers' marks.