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.
The Birmingham Assay Office 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 The Birmingham Assay
Since 1773, records have been kept of every sponsorís mark registered with The Birmingham Assay Office.
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 The Birmingham Assay
Office 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