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Date Letter, Date Mark, Year Mark

Date Letter, Date Mark, Year Mark.  Hallmarking of three or more punches has one punch that represents the year the piece was made (or hallmarked). Silver objects made in London were date marked as early as 1478, using a cycle of 20 letters – A to U omitting J – other British cities used hallmark date letters of 25 and 26 letter sequences. The letters do not imply a calendar year (as new date punches were generally adopted May 29th or near this day of each year). American silversmiths used date letters sporadically in the 19th century. Reference books showing the style of typeface, upper or lower case, and the background panel shape of the punch are necessary for ascertaining the precise year, as well as for identifying the maker's mark.  See Bibliography, also hallmarks and hallmarking.

(161)02.10          Illus: Charts

excerpted with permission from

An Encyclopedia of Coin and Medal Technology

For Artists, Makers, Collectors and Curators


Roger W. Burdette, Editor

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