World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Britannia silver

Article Id: WHEBN0001988354
Reproduction Date:

Title: Britannia silver  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Silver, Jewellery, Silversmithing, Silver (disambiguation), Household silver
Collection: 1697 Establishments, 1697 in England, Precious Metal Alloys, Silver, Silversmithing
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Britannia silver

Britannia silver is an alloy of silver containing 11 ounces and 10 pennyweight silver in the pound troy, equivalent to 95.83% by weight silver, the balance being usually copper.

This standard was introduced in England by Act of Parliament in 1697 to replace sterling silver (92.5% silver) as the obligatory standard for items of "wrought plate". The lion passant gardant hallmark denoting sterling was replaced with "the figure of a woman commonly called Britannia", and the leopard's head mark of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths replaced with a "lion's head erased".[1]

Britannia standard silver was introduced as part of the great recoinage scheme of William III from 1696, when attempts were made to limit the clipping and melting of sterling silver coinage. A higher standard for wrought plate meant that sterling silver coins could not easily be used as a source of raw material because additional fine silver, which was in short supply at the time, would have to be added to bring the purity of the alloy up to the higher standard.[2]

Waiter of 1732, with Britannia gauge mark

Britannia silver is considerably softer than sterling, and after complaints from the trade sterling silver was authorised again for use by silversmiths from 1 June 1720, and thereafter Britannia silver has remained an optional standard for hallmarking in the United Kingdom and Ireland.[3]

Since the hallmarking changes of 1 January 1999, Britannia silver has been denoted by the millesimal fineness hallmark 958, with the symbol of Britannia being applied optionally.

The silver bullion coins of the Royal Mint issued since 1997, known as "Britannias" for their reverse image, were minted in Britannia standard silver until 2012.

Britannia silver should be distinguished from Britannia metal, a pewter-like alloy containing no silver.

See also

References

  1. ^ Forbes 1999, p. 161
  2. ^ Forbes 1999, p. 162
  3. ^ Forbes 1999, p. 185

Bibliography

  • Forbes, John (1999). Hallmark: A History of the London Assay Office. London: Unicorn Press Ltd.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.