Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers' Marks
• • •
Hallmarks on Netherlands Silver

    www . 925-1000 . com   ••    www . 925-1000 . com   ••    www . 925-1000 . com  

Dutch Dating Code      1814 - 2009

Netherlands Silver Date Code
Date Marking
Both hallmarking and date marking of silver are longstanding traditions in the Netherlands. Date marking with a letter code began in Amsterdam as early as 1503 and was soon taken up by other cities and some of the larger towns, this was done under the supervision of the local gold and silversmithing guilds. For a number of centuries there was no nationally standardized system, each town's guild had its own mark and dating system. A standard national system was not put into practice until 1814 and it remains largely unchanged until today.

• • •

There is a search engine for Dutch Maker's Marks located at
Written in Dutch, but straightforward enough to use without knowing the language. Just type in the maker's initials in the first box (top left) and then click on the "Zoek" button (bottom right).

Examples of Dutch Hallmarks



A - Silver guild marks used in some 35 of the larger towns and cities of the Netherlands from the 15th through 18th Centuries, this system remained in use until the time of the French occupation (1795-1813). In 1798 guilds were declared abolished but remained partially active until 1807. The example mark reads, top to bottom: date mark (letter Z) for 1782, Rotterdam city mark, Province of Holland standard mark (Crowned Lion Rampant - guarantee of fineness minimum .934) and maker's mark of Hendrik Vrijman.

B - marks used 1814-1953. They are, left to right: Maker's mark - VK for Fa. J.M. van Kempen & Zoon (Son), Lion Passant mark indicates 2nd standard purity = minimum .833, the Minerva head is the duty mark (Minerva's helmet shows a letter indicating from which of the 17 assay offices it came, in this case "C" for The Hague), the final mark is the letter date mark (n = 1872).

C - same as B, excepting; Maker's mark (worn) for Wed. H. Helweg & Zoon, Lion Rampant mark is silver purity or minimum standard =.934, letter is date mark (L = 1921). Minerva head assay mark has letter "A" to indicate Amsterdam assay office.

D - The single sword mark; used 1814-1905 without appendages and dual (2x) sword mark used 1814-1865 with appendages, guaranteed fineness minimum .833. These were used on small work without date letter and office mark. The single sword marks were also used on larger work consisting of more than three parts interconnected by links or hinges. On these objects the assay mark, standard mark and date letter were spread, one per part. The remaining parts were struck with the sword marks. The double sword mark (with appendages) was used on objects with unmarkable appendages and on objects where it is impracticable to mark all parts, such as chain work.

E & F - The sword mark, used 1906-1953 (for more information see D). From 1953 onward, a similar sword is used but with standard numerals on the blade (.835 &.925)

G - The axe/hatchet mark, used 1853-1927 as a tax mark on old Netherlands hallmarked silver items returning to the market. It was abolished because lack of knowledge sometimes caused it to be struck on old foreign objects and it had also been counterfeited and used to give spurious objects an antique aura.

H & I - The crowned "V", used 1814-1893 as a tax mark applied to all imported, unmarked and invalid marked objects of foreign, national and unknown origin. This duty mark does not give any guarantee of a precious metal standard of fineness, is has been used on metal with as low as .250 silver content. Upon the invalidation of the hallmarks of Louis Napoleon’s kingdom of Holland and those of the French Empire in 1816, this mark has also been used as a tax free census mark.

J - The script letter "I", used 1906-1953 as a Dutch duty mark for all newly manufactured Dutch silver objects that tested below the legal standard of 833/1000 fineness, those with non-precious metal additions, or on new heavily gold or silver plated objects, as long as the average precious metal content after melting with the base metal was at least 250/1000. In that case of an object failing assay for .833 standard, the maker had to choose between either destruction or ‘non-guaranteed’ marking. As of 1927 this mark was also used on objects of old (Dutch) national origin.

K - The dolphin/fish mark, same as J excepting; used 1859-1893. This mark was sometimes mistakenly used on old and foreign objects.

L - The key mark, used 1853-1953, it is stamped intruding upon the Lion or Sword standard marks or the non-guaranteed tax mark, to indicate the object was designated for export.

From 1814 to 1931, each individual assayer was personally liable for the accuracy of their work and hallmarking. The date letter was considered the individual assayer’s identification mark. In 1931 the Assay office became responsible.

From 1953 onward; 1st standard silver became minimum .925 purity and the Arabic numeral {1} below lion passant replaced by a roman numeral {I}, 2nd standard silver became minimum .835 fineness and the Arabic numeral {2} below lion passant replaced by a roman numeral {II}.

The 1987 Hallmarking Act decreed that the assay offices would no longer be operated by the state but instead privately by ‘Waarborg Holland’ located in Gouda. In March 2002 a second private assay office opened in Joure.

In Memoriam - Alain van Acker (Doos)

Many thanks to Peter van Oel & Jeanne van Ammers-Douwes for their assistance with this page.
Related Pages at
World Hallmarks
British Hallmarks Explained
Austrian Hallmarks
German Hallmarks pre-1886
German Hallmarks post-1886
French Hallmarks
Swedish Hallmarks
Finnish Hallmarks
Norwegian Makers
David-Andersen Marks
Georg Jensen Marks

• • •

Looking to do further research? Have a mark you can't identify? Join the forum.

© 2000 - 2018
all rights reserved