Hallmarking and the Work of Birmingham Assay Office

1773 - 1790 (c.)

Image: Hallmark from Boulton and Fothergill fork for year 1774.

Image from: Birmingham Assay Office

The hallmark on the Boulton and Fothergill’s fork represents all information specified by the Act of 1773: “MB” and “IF” stand for Matthew Boulton and John Fothergill, the Anchor represents the Birmingham Assay Office, the Lion means sterling silver marked in England, and the “B” stands for the year 1774.

The Assay Office was not controlled by the trade but by a Board of thirty-six Guardians of the Standards of Wrought Plate who were elected for life. They were appointed for their position in the region, or for their knowledge of wrought plate. Matthew Boulton himself was among the first Trade Guardians.


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4459-0Matthew Boulton and Birmingham Silverware in the late 18th and early 19th centuries 4218-0Matthew Boulton and the Formation of Birmingham Assay Office 4603-0Hallmarking and the Work of Birmingham Assay Office 4604-0Hallmarking and the Work of Birmingham Assay Office 4605-0Matthew Boulton and Silver Making 4606-0One of a pair of candlesticks, Boulton & Fothergill, 1768 4607-0Mazarin, or Fish Strainer, Boulton & Fothergill, 1769 3963-0Pair of salts, Boulton & Fothergill, 1773 3991-0Two of a set of four salts, Boulton & Fothergill, 1776 3948-0One of a pair Sauce Tureens, Boulton & Fothergill, 1776 4608-0Sweetmeat Basket, Boulton & Fothergill, 1774 4610-0Dish and Cover, Boulton & Fothergill, 1777 4611-0Cup and Cover, Boulton & Fothergill, 1777 4612-0One of a pair of candlesticks, Matthew Boulton, 1789 4613-0Warwick Vase and Cover, M. Boulton & Plate Co. 1827