Unicode: U+1F914, UTF-8: F0 9F A4 94
A hallmark is a symbol or device struck at an assay office on gold or silver, indicating that the article conforms to legal standards of manufacture established by the monarch, local guilds, government etc. Literally, mark applied at Goldsmith’s Hall (London assay office since 1300) but extended to cover e.g. all five stamps found on Victorian silver until 1890: assay office mark specific to each assay office;
- date letter, letter of alphabet denoting year when the article was assayed;
- maker’s mark, usually initials of one or more partners of the firm, occasionally with an additional symbol;
- assay mark, indicating metal is up to the required standard;
- duty mark (tax levied on all English silver, 1784-1890 – sovereign’s head stamped on the article to show tax paid).
- For gold, carat content is also marked on the article.
The Randon House: Collector’s Encyclopedia Victoriana to Art Déco. (1974).