Hallmarks are applied with a hammer and punch, a process that leaves sharp edges and spurs of metal.Therefore, hallmarking is generally done before the piece goes for its final polishing.
This helped to protect the consumer, for if it was determined that the silver object was not actually pure enough to be marked as silver, the culprit could be found and punishment could be meted out.
As silver objects made before 1700 are quite rare, I shall restrict my comments to those made after that date.
Marks indicate it is Britannia gauge silver made by (or for) Paul de Lamerie (taken to or) in London and dated 1732 (it could have been made a year or two earlier than 1732).
The French assay mark for sterling silver is the head of the goddess Minerva.
Some of the oldest American silver is coin, which contains an amount of the precious metal that was set by the U. Mint for coinage after the American Revolution: Coin made from 1792 to 1837 is composed of at least 89.2 percent silver and, thereafter, 90 percent.
Sterling, in contrast, must be at least 92.5 percent silver.
In England silver has been marked in some manner since the 12th century when it was first regulated by Parliament.
The marks made it possible to trace the maker and the place of manufacture.
It has always been difficult to determine the purity of silver in an object by visual means and many countries have tried to establish a system of ensuring that certain standards are kept to protect customers who buy silver objects.