Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers' Marks
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York Hallmarks ~ Date Letters & Makers' Marks

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Year 1815, Leopard Head, Reign of George III, Sterling, Maker - Barber & Whitwell

York Date Letter Chart
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Notes on York Hallmarks
by Trevor Downes
The origins of official hallmarking on silver at York date to the Act of 1423 whereby York was appointed one of the seven provincial assay towns of England, however there is some evidence of local control going as far back as the year 1190. The York assay office carried on until the early eighteenth century when a serious decline in the local silver trade caused the office to be closed in 1716. During the sixty year closure, sterling silver was still manufactured in York and the remaining silversmiths were granted admittance to the Goldsmiths Company at Newcastle and had their work hallmarked there. In the latter eighteenth century there was an upturn in the fortunes of York silversmithing, the assay office reopened in 1776 and remained active until its final closure in 1858.

The first town mark for York was a circular device, the left side a halved Fleur-de-Lys and the right side a halved Leopard's Head. In 1701, the town mark was changed to a cross device containing five lions passant. York hallmarks contain a few anomalies; the Town mark is seldom seen on smaller items and, in the early years of the nineteenth century, the Lion Passant is sometimes to be found facing to the right, the reverse of its usual position. Like Exeter, Chester and Newcastle, York also opted to use the Crowned Leopard's Head mark. This, in conjunction with the frequent non-use of the town mark, has York sterling often mistaken for London made.

There were only a small number silversmiths that worked in York and those are found in varying combinations of partnerships. Silversmiths not illustrated below include: Ambrose Beckwith, Richard Clark, William Astley, John Bell, & Charles Union.

Barber, Cattle & North
York - c.1825 • c.1830

William Busfield
York - c.1700

Edward Jackson
York - c.1815 • c.1830

John Hampston & John Prince
York - c.1786

Hampston, Prince & Cattles
York - c.1801 • 1804

Hampston, Prince & Co.
York - c.1798 • c.1800

John Hampston & John Prince
York - c.1780 • c.1785

John Hampston & John Prince
York - c.1787 • c.1794

John Hampston & John Prince
York - c.1795 • c.1797

James Barber
York - c.1847 • c.1857

James Barber & Co.
York - c.1820s

James Barber, George Cattle & William North
York - c.1825 • c.1835

James Barber & William North
York - c.1835 • c.1845

James Barber & William Whitwell
York - c.1810 • c.1830

John Langwith
York - c.1700

Thomas Mangy
York - c.1700

Marmaduke Best
York - c.1670

John Prince, Robert Cattle
& George Cattle
York - c.1805

Robert Cattle
York - c.1807

Robert Cattle & James Barber
York - c.1806 • c.1812

Charles Rhoades
York - c.1700

William Williamson
York - c.1700

William Vincent
York - 4th q. 18th C.

Related Pages at
British Hallmarks Explained
London Date Letters • 1696 - 1935 & Maker's Marks
Birmingham Date Letters • 1773 - 1924 & Maker's Marks
Chester Date Letters • 1701 - 1925 & Maker's Marks
Exeter Date Letters • 1701 - 1883 & Maker's Marks
Newcastle Date Letters • 1702 - 1884 & Maker's Marks
Sheffield Date Letters • 1773 - 1916 & Maker's Marks
Dublin Date Letters • 1700 - 1920 & Maker's Marks
Edinburgh Date Letters • 1681 - 1931 & Maker's Marks
Table of Glasgow Date Letters • 1819 - 1896
Examples of British Import Marks

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