Birmingham Assay Office
hallmarkof the Birmingham Assay Office is the Anchor, and that of the Sheffield Assay Officewas the Crown. A story about the origins of this hallmark go that meetings prior to the inauguration of both Birmingham and Sheffield Assay Offices in 1773 were held at a public house called the Crown and Anchor Tavern on the Strand, London. It is rumoured that the choice of symbol was made on the toss of a coin which resulted in Birmingham winning the Anchor and Sheffield with the Crown (which has now been changed to a rose).
The Birmingham Assay Office moved from the pub in 1815 to its own offices at Little Cannon Street and then moved to its current home on
Newhall Streetin the Jewellery Quarterin 1877, and is now the largest Assay Office in Europe, hallmarking 13 million articles in 2003. It also claims to be the largest in the world.
Services provided by the office include nickel testing, metal analysis, plating thickness determination, bullion certification, consultancy and gem certification. Platinum was brought within hallmarking regulations in 1975.
* "All About Antique Silver with International Hallmarks", 2nd printing (2007), Diana Sanders Cinamon, AAA Publishing, San Bernardino, CA.
* [http://www.madeinbirmingham.org Birmingham's Industrial History Website]
* [http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/GenerateContent?CONTENT_ITEM_ID=765&CONTENT_ITEM_TYPE=0&MENU_ID=48 Birmingham.gov.uk page]
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