Club Social Activities/ Antique Silver

Mon 3rd October 2011 at 12.00 am - 2.00 am

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Antique Silver

Rotarian Stuart Dancer was the guest speaker this week, 3 October when he gave an illustrated talk on Antique Silver. His interest is not about silver objects per se, rather the history and marking systems that have tracked the development of silver as household utensils and objets d'art.

The modern history of silver really begins in the 16th century. Across the world today there are only about 400 pieces of silver that predate 1525.

Stuart's presentation was the story of a silver industry beset by fraud, deception and exploitation with the authorities forever trying to catch up. The various English silver centres, London and beyond including York and Newcastle, developed their own marking or assays to declare the authenticity and probity of their products. Eventually the regional systems operated within a national system of public protection and Stuart explained the various developments.

The word 'hallmark' derives from 1478 when craftsmen were required to take their produce to Goldsmith's Hall in London to have them assayed or marked.