British and Irish Commemorative Hallmarks
There are five notable hallmarks struck on British silver, gold and platinum pieces to commemorate important, historical events in British history. The first of these hallmarks implemented was the Silver Jubilee mark of King George and Queen Mary struck in 1935 which depicted both the King’s and Queen’s crowned heads combined in profile and set within an oval punch.
Queen Elizabeth II
The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and later the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 saw the introduction of two more. The Coronation mark depicted Queen Elizabeth II crowned in profile facing right enclosed within an oval punch, and the later Silver Jubilee mark depicted Queen Elizabeth II crowned in profile facing left.
The next commemorative mark, issued around the turn of the 20th century, was the Millennium mark with a numeric ‘2000’ and dot to the centre applied within a Greek Christian cross punch. This mark was applied to precious metals between 1st January 1999 and 31st December 2000. However, not all silver objects produced within this timeframe were applied with the Millennium mark as this was considered an optional addition.
The most recent commemorative mark was issued in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. This mark depicted Queen Elizabeth II in profile facing right enclosed within a punch of arch shaped form.
Two other, lesser known but notable commemorative hallmarks issued in 1973 are the Bicentenary marks for the opening of the Birmingham and Sheffield Assay Offices. The Birmingham mark depicts an anchor in line with their standard city mark, flanked by two capital ‘C’ Roman numerals and the Sheffield mark depicts the date later ‘E’ in the identical gothic font previously used for pieces produced during 1773 in Birmingham.
If you have any silver you would like to have valued, please contact Robin Newcombe of Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.