The mark used was a profile portrait of the reigning monarch's head. The use of this mark was abolished in Its purpose was to establish when a piece was presented for assay or testing of the silver content.
The mark letter changed annually in May, the cycles of date letters were usually in strings of 20 and each dating english silverware was differentiated by a changing of the font, letter case and shield shape. Originally, makers' marks were pictograms, but by the beginning of the 17th Century it had become common practice to use the maker's initials. A letter "F" in an oval cartouche was stamped alongside the regular hallmarks, the maker's mark being that of the British importing firm sponsor's mark.
Beginning in and new system was instituted in which each assay office stamped its own symbol as the import mark, this replaced the town mark. The lion passant mark was replaced by a numerical standard mark. Unchanged were the required date letter and sponsor's mark. Items bearing British Import marks will sometimes have additional marks from the country of origin, sometimes not.
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How To Easily Identify Sterling Silver - English Hallmarks