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The first London silver hallmark to be used was the leopards head, in the year 1300.In that year, a decree by Edward I laid down that silver or gold could not be made or sold unless it was marked by the leopard’s head or The King’s Mark, as it was then known.When the Birmingham Assay Office was established in 1773, largely due to the representations of the great Midlands industrialist, Matthew Boulton, the mark of an anchor was adopted as the town mark.By tradition, it is said that Birmingham and Sheffield tossed for the marks derived from the sign of the Crown and Anchor tavern in London – where the promoters of the two new offices met.Which had incidentally, been used as the gold assay mark for Sheffield when the Assay Office was first entitled to test gold, after March 1st 1904.Between 17 the crown is often incorporated with the date letter struck on small objects.Getting older can be difficult: friends lost, health declining…but there is still so much to do and nobody should do it alone.
Since 1821, the uncrowned leopard’s head has remained as the distinguishing mark of London.
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On the occasion of the Assay Office’s bicentenary in 1973, Birmingham struck a special anchor with a ‘C’ on either side of the stock, to indicate two hundred years.
Scottish hallmarks have been regulated by statute since 1457 but the earliest known example dates only from 1556 to 1557.