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A thing I had to do today

Today, as part of a parcel of documents relating to the early history of the local Girl Guides troop (Girl Scouts to you ‘n’ me), we received a small silver bowl that was given as a prize. I was asked to interpret the hallmarks.

So here you go. There are four or five marks on a fully hallmarked bit of British silver.

The Standard Mark identifies it as sterling. This one – the lion passant – means it was assayed in London or other English assay office.

The Town Mark is what it sounds like. The crown is for Sheffield.

Some hallmarks have a Duty Mark, which tells you if duty has been paid. It’s a queen or king’s head. This one doesn’t have it.

Now that we know the town, we can look up the Date Letters for Sheffield. This is a little harder. There are several lowercase G or Q marks. I’m calling this one for 1908 based on the gothic style letter. It fits with the provenance of the object, but there’s a little knob on the corner of the letter worries me a bit.

Finally, the Maker’s Mark. HW in a plain rectangle – I made this out as Henry Wilkinson – a fine Sheffield silversmith. I was chuffed.

But then I noticed the dot between the H and the W, which would make it Henry Wigful. Who at least has the redemptive quality of an amusing last name.

And that’s that. Now the lot goes into a box and the box goes into a cupboard and there it will lie until some future scholar asks some future office weasel what she has on the Girl Guides.


Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: October 4, 2022, 9:06 pm

Ah! An expert on British markings!

I have a buddy who owns all sorts of old British military gear who’d love to baffle you.

And you’d be surprised the number of small arms that made it across the Atlantic after “we” were done trouncing “Jerry”.
Oh, company stoves, lanterns, Mess tins, cracker tins.

That’s sort of mystery fun hunting stuff isn’t it?

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: October 4, 2022, 10:55 pm

I’m curious, Stoaty. Did you happen to weigh the bowl? The spot market price of silver is now about $21.00 per troy ounce, and Sterling is 92.5% silver. A troy ounce is 1.097 avoirdupois ounce so I use 1.1 for mental arithmetic (adding 10% is easy; multiplying by 1.097 is NOT).

It’s nice you were able to decipher the marks. Kudos!

Comment from Anonymous
Time: October 5, 2022, 6:14 pm

Oh, I’m no expert, but my google-fu is strong.

It’s a very small bowl, Uncle Al 🙂

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