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If you want to get a book about English hallmarking, Bradbury's Book of Hallmarks published by the Sheffield Assay Office is a long established reference.
Make sure that you get a 2014 or later edition, because only those contain correct information about British import hallmarks applied to watch cases.
To differentiate cycles different fonts, uppercase and lowercase letters and various cartouches are used.
Each city with an Assay office works on a different cycle.
Download a feature article on the leopard from the Goldsmiths' Company Review 2014-2015.
A non-compulsory element, the date letter changes annually on January 1st.
A false silver hallmark has always been treated with the utmost severity by the law and in the past a silversmith was pilloried for their first offence, where they would be pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables.
Only 20 letters are used, and as each cycle ends a new cycle begins with “A”.The date letter and the traditional fineness marks are no longer compulsory components of the hallmark.However, we believe that the date letter is a very important component of the hallmark, as it is the easiest way to date an item and research has shown that most of our customers still want to see the traditional fineness mark on the hallmark.The shield shape varies, and a minimum of two initials must be included. When you create your punch with us, you join a register of makers stretching back centuries. The shape of the surrounding shield indicates metal type.In the Gold Fineness mark, 375 is 9 carat, 585 is 14 carat, 750 is 18 carat and 916 is 22 carat.