The Birmingham Assay Office has just launched its new, Early Silver Hallmarks website. Any silver collector who may have acquired, for example an early Birmingham silver snuff box with a maker’s mark they don’t recognise, or perhaps a recent beneficiary of a will who has inherited a set of nineteenth-century Birmingham silver salts and would like to know who made them will find this website of immense value. You can visit the website at www.theassayoffice.co.uk and on the home page click on the icon ‘Early Silver Hallmarks’, to enter the site.
Since 1773, records have been kept of every sponsor’s mark registered with The Birmingham Assay Office. On the website, you can research Birmingham hallmarks, including sponsors’ marks and dates. You can also access the other information contained in the registers, such as, the date the mark was registered, the name of the sponsor, their trade, and their address.
At present, the database contains sponsors’ marks registered with The Birmingham Assay Office between 1773 and 1858. Many of these marks, however, continued in use for many years beyond 1858, so a search on the website for later marks may be successful.
Dr. Sally Baggott, Curator said ‘This is an exciting and innovative project that, for the first time, makes the early registers of sponsors’ marks at The Birmingham Assay Office accessible to the public. I hope that eventually all Birmingham sponsors’ marks will be added.’