About us and This Project

The history of hallmarking dates back to 1300 when a Statute of Edward I instituted the assaying (testing) and marking of precious metals. The original aim of the system remains unchanged; the protection of the public against fraud and of the trader against unfair competition. Indeed, hallmarking is one of the oldest forms of consumer protection.

Assay Office Birmingham was founded by an Act of Parliament in 1773. It had become clear by this time to the silversmiths of Birmingham, especially Matthew Boulton, that their trade would never truly prosper without an Office of their own. Boulton lobbied Parliament vigorously and was finally rewarded by the Hallmarking Act 1773, which founded Assay Office Birmingham.

Since 1773, records have been kept of every sponsorís mark registered with Assay Office Birmingham . This is an innovative project that, for the first time, makes the registers of sponsorsí marks at The Birmingham Assay Office accessible. This database will allow you to research Birmingham hallmarks, including sponsorsí marks and dates. The results of your search will also give you all the other information contained in our registers, such as, the date the mark was registered, the name of the sponsor, their trade, and their address.

At present, the database only contains sponsorsí marks registered with Assay Office Birmingham between 1773 and 1858. Many of these marks, however, continued in use for many years beyond 1858, so your search for marks used at later dates could still be successful. We hope that eventually all Birmingham hallmarks will be added.

This database also only contains information on Birmingham silver hallmarks, so before you begin your search, you need to decide whether your item is made of silver, gold or platinum. Gold and platinum are not yet covered by the database, but we hope to include them in the future.

Silver may be plated with gold
Gold may be white in colour

For more information on gold or platinum marks, please visit our main website For identification of later Birmingham hallmarks or Birmingham hallmarks on gold or platinum contact history@theassayoffice.co.uk


homepage about us using the website search the database reading your marks view the gallery