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When Did Hallmarking For Gold And Silver First Begin?

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A hallmark is a mark used at Goldsmiths Hall and by assay offices in the UK to indicate the standard of fold, silver and platinum so that products can be of a uniform quality and so that fraud is prevented. Hallmarking dates from a statute of 1300 that required the Goldsmiths Guild to use the leopards head hallmark as the King's Mark as an indication of quality.

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, which were established in 1150 as a group of gold and silversmiths has been responsible for assaying and marking plate since receiving its royal charter in 1327.

Most silver gold and platinum articles have been hallmarked before sale since the late 1300s. The penalties for counterfeiting the hallmark in Britain were severe. The death penalty stood until 1773, when it was reduced to 14 years transportation.

The marks impressed in the metal as part of the hallmark include symbols showing the maker, the standard, the assay office and the date.

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