Help in identifying silver marks?
November 20, 2005 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Silver marks? I have a three silver spoons collected at various times when my family lived in England. While I've been able to identify the marks on them, I'm not quite sure whether I'm interpreting them correctly.

The most pressing question: is the order of the marks important? I have one that matches Standard Sterling, Exeter, 1868, but the Lion passant comes before the towers (Exeter city) mark, and all the guides I have show the reverse order.

Does it matter whether the marks are on the handle or on the neck, close to the bowl?

Also, online guides to English Makers Marks would be helpful . The marks in question:

1) "WW" with a small dot between the letters, and the right "serif" (I don't know the right term) of the left-hand "W" joined to the left "serif" of the right-hand "W".

2) "TM" in Roman, in a rectangle. (The other marks indicate London, 1774, so it could be Thomas Mercer if not for the fact that it's a rectangle as opposed to an oval.)

Thanks for any assistance!
posted by aberrant to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Google for Hallmarks
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:55 AM on November 20, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks, WGP. I'm using 925-1000 extensively, as well as a book called Miller's Silver and Sheffield Plate Marks by John Bily. Both show the order of the marks reversed from the ones on the spoon, and neither reference has definitive answers to the makers marks.
posted by aberrant at 11:58 AM on November 20, 2005

Response by poster: ...but that other site ( is a real find! Thanks again.
posted by aberrant at 12:02 PM on November 20, 2005

Fire & wings' advice may be useful in identifying antiques.
posted by Rothko at 1:04 PM on November 20, 2005

My father knows all about spoons/hallmarks and will probably be able to answer this if you can hang on...
posted by fire&wings at 5:19 PM on November 20, 2005

Response by poster: F&W, if your father prefers to correspond via email, let me know. Thanks!
posted by aberrant at 7:15 PM on November 20, 2005

Hi there. According to him:

The order of the marks are rarely significant. It is most likely an error by the assayist, but any importance or additional value is down to the individual item in question. Only in rare cases should it make any difference.

It doesn't matter where the marks are positioned. The positioning of the marks regularly changed with different fads and fashions in the way pieces were made and sold. and are good online guides. He has this book, which also comes in a cheaper pocket edition. I used it for the questions below.

1) Is this W W Exeter? There are a few "WW" but none I can find with a dot.

2) The only London Roman "TM" in a rectangle I could find indicated Thomas Merry who is recorded as working between 1731-2. This makes him a longshot for 1774, so you either have your date wrong or this needs more research.

He also recommends this this site. Hope that helps. If you want to post more about the WW below I can look it up, although the sites above may be just as much use.
posted by fire&wings at 3:36 AM on November 23, 2005

Response by poster: F&W, thanks for the followup!

1) WW is the makers mark and it's from Exeter.
2) Will do some more research. Thanks again.
posted by aberrant at 9:08 AM on November 25, 2005

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