Pictures from the exhibition, or How to buy masterpieces?
Once we had an art day - we went to the sale of paintings in the House of Bessarabian Jews (there is such a building in Tel Aviv). This is…

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FAMOUS AMERICAN RAILWAY POCKET WATCHES
It was the end of the nineteenth century in America. The car has not yet been invented. The Kodak camera has not yet been launched on the market. Women wore…

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Antiques and time!
Since ancient times, the attention of peoples has been turned to antiques. This was carried out for such reasons, among the first of which was the presence of love for…

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HISTORY OF THE CLEARING OF STERLING SILVER

Since silver is a soft metal, it is practically not used in its pure form. Most often it is an alloy of silver and copper. The ratio of the quantities of one and the other metal was constantly changing, until Edward I introduced the branding system in 1300, according to the standard, now the share of silver in the finished product should be at least 92.5 percent. Only in this case could silver be called “sterling” and wear a stamp with a leopard head.
After 63 years, that is, in 1363, the brand of the master was introduced, which made it impossible to falsify the products with the stamp of the head of a leopard. In 1478, a letter appears, which means the year of branding of the product. And in 1544, the image of a walking lion put the final confirmation of the royal control over branding.
The assay marks indicated the city in which the metal was checked for how clean it was. In 1478, the craftsmen who tested silver and stigmatized this procedure exclusively in the Guild of Goldsmiths. This was a measure to prevent the stigmatization of products of unsatisfactory quality. The first hallmark of the London assay office was the image of the head of a leopard (the stigma of sterling silver). It happened in 1544. At the end of the seventeenth century, several assay chambers still appeared, which had their own brands: Chester branded a sword and three wheat sheaves; Newcastle – three castles; Exter – a three-tower castle; Birmingham – Anchors and Sheffield stamped the crown.
The stamp of the master was a symbol, since most at that time could not read. At the end of the 17th century, the initials of the master were placed next to the symbol. Over the next century, symbols ceased to be used, only the initials remained. From 1697 to 1720, the masters had to register updated designations, which were the first two letters of the surname.
The letter indicating the date that appeared in 1478 and is still in use today indicates the year the product was tested. Each year, the letter changed, due to the fact that assay masters changed. In all assay chambers, the letters are different. The shape of the visor into which the letter fits also changes annually.
Silver, which met all the declared standards, was called sterling in England and was branded with the head of a leopard. Since this image is related to the coat of arms, this stigma was called royal. When in 1544 sterling silver was branded with a walking lion, the image of the head of a leopard was made the hallmark of the London assay chamber. Later, the stigma of the “walking lion” was changed to the stigma of the British standard.
During the years of the Civil English War, a lot of sterling silver was melted into coins, which paid soldiers. After the war ended, the demand for silverware began to grow so much that the coins were re-smelted in order to make the necessary household utensils. This happened naturally illegally. And in order to prevent this action in 1697, a single British standard was adopted: there should be 95.8% pure silver. In order to control the system, brands were introduced depicting a woman who was supposed to personify Britain. The head of a lion was replaced by the head of a leopard (at that time the stigma of the assay chamber of London). The sterling standard returned only in 1720. Therefore, the period from 1697 to 1720 is called the British standard.
Then, in 1720, the silver tax was first introduced. In the eight years that the American War of Independence lasted, England began to feel the need for additional financial resources, so the amount of tax was constantly growing. The fact that the tax was paid was indicated by the stigma with the profile of the monarch. So it was until 1890, in which the masters of silver work achieved that the tax was abolished.
Jubilee hallmarks were legalized solely at the request of the masters and were timed to coincide with an important anniversary or event. Such stamps were not obligatory. The main anniversary marks in England are the “Golden Anniversary” of Queen Mary and George V, the coronation of Elizabeth II and the “Silver Anniversary” of Elizabeth.

ANNUAL SPOONS ROBBE & BERKING
An old German manufactory called Robbe & Berking has now turned over 130 years old. It was founded in 1874 in the vicinity of a German city called Flensburg. During…

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Antiques of strategic importance
The materials feature more than 800 antiquities brought from Europe by truck. The scheme would not stand without the evaluators of the Ministry of Culture, but it worked for eight…

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The secrets of the antique dealer Agathon Faberge
Everyone knows the famous antiquarian Agafon Faberge, the eldest son of the famous Russian jeweler Karl Faberge. Many secrets and omissions are associated with his name. Where did the collection…

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Antiques of strategic importance
The materials feature more than 800 antiquities brought from Europe by truck. The scheme would not stand without the evaluators of the Ministry of Culture, but it worked for eight…

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