I wonder if Hester Bateman did have a thriving trade with the Channel Islands, or did she possibly discover a tax loop-hole?
As I understand it, items for export were taken to Customs House at the port of departure and here an officer called a Searcher would weigh the items and call for an official from Goldsmiths Hall who would then stamp the items with the Duty Drawback mark. At this point the Duty would be repaid, but a new tax was then applied for the export at I believe 4% (presumably 4% of the official bullion price) for all countries, but with one exception, the Channel Islands where only 1 1/2% was applied, so with the Duty repaid and just a small tax paid the goods were then loaded and shipped, but what happens if they were just brought back to Great Britain? I am not aware of how much import tax was, if anything. Foreign plate was required to be assayed, but this would not be the case here as it had already been assayed and marked.
This of course is only speculation on my part, I am not fully conversant with the facts, but if this was the case, the dropping of the Duty Drawback mark must have been a godsend, so was this the real reason that some silversmiths complained so bitterly about the stamping of this mark, using the excuse of damage to the finished product to vent their anger? I have only seen a couple of examples of this mark and have not noticed any resulting damage, but that is not enough to give a fair opinion.
Does anyone know something more concrete?