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Technique & Instrument Related to techniques, to the instrument, to the components, to maintenance.

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Old 09-01-2017, 01:40 PM   #1
Barry Shears
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Default Silver hallmarks and assay offices

Hello,
I recently had an inquiry about hall marks on a WWI set of Hendersons. The owner claims the mounts were added at Henderson 's shop in 1919, but the silver mounts were made in 1917. I thought this would be illegal but that is just a guess on my part. I was wondering if anyone can shed light on the practice of hallmarks etc. for bagpipe mounts? Can the mounts be made and held for a period of two years (or more), and then mounted, or does the hallmark reflect the year the transaction/ sale took place? Also is it a practice of pipe makers at the time to pre-make mounts and then add them as requests come in to save time?
Thanks
Barry
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Old 09-01-2017, 02:08 PM   #2
el gaitero
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Default Re: Silver hallmarks and assay offices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Shears View Post
Hello,
I recently had an inquiry about hall marks on a WWI set of Hendersons. The owner claims the mounts were added at Henderson 's shop in 1919, but the silver mounts were made in 1917. I thought this would be illegal but that is just a guess on my part. I was wondering if anyone can shed light on the practice of hallmarks etc. for bagpipe mounts? Can the mounts be made and held for a period of two years (or more), and then mounted, or does the hallmark reflect the year the transaction/ sale took place? Also is it a practice of pipe makers at the time to pre-make mounts and then add them as requests come in to save time?
Thanks
Barry
Not sure why you think this could be illegal. If Henderson bought the mount set in a 'down' silver market then sold them at market price on pipes 2 yrs later....who would care? Or maybe someone ordered silver pipes in '17...but didn't follow thru with the purchase. Btw.,. ..are they D&N silver work stamped P.H. ? I have a X for '75 marked full silver D&N set from Hardie I acquired about 15 years ago. The widow said they went off Bob's shoulder in the shop and onto her husbands after Bob played a few rounds of tunes. The full set is thistle pattern....but the mouthpiece tip on the ivory bulb is Runic....and the thistle sole is hallmarked A For '76. It's a whopping set. Big pipes.
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Old 09-01-2017, 08:55 PM   #3
Pip01
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Default Re: Silver hallmarks and assay offices



Barry,

I am shooting from the hip and in the dark here... but I can
easily think of several scenarios where such a "time lapse,"
or even longer... could easily... and legally... take place.

And all of them similar to "older" silver soles... being placed
on "newer" ABW chanters. Say a 1920 sole on a 1930 chanter.

And even within families... say an inherited set of mountings...
from a set that became inoperable from rough service...being
placed on a grandchild's set of pipes... way back when...

Just some thoughts...

Regards,

Pip01


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Old 09-01-2017, 10:24 PM   #4
Barry Shears
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Default Re: Silver hallmarks and assay offices

Thanks for the posts. I guess what I really want to know is how a silver smith gets to put hall marks on a specific item. Do they purchase a stamp from the local Assay office for particular year? or what? Yes I suppose they could speculate and make a bunch of mounts to save time and sit on them until a buyer surfaces. Perhaps also, the war may have slowed things up a bit. I guess I am just unsure who stamps the work and when and how.
barry
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Old 09-02-2017, 03:00 AM   #5
will103
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Default Re: Silver hallmarks and assay offices

Hi Barry, my understanding is that the silversmith registers their personal mark at an assay office. When they finish an item it must be assessed for silver content at an assay office and once the office has verified minimum silver content they apply the maker's mark, the assay office mark and the year mark for when it was assessed. This must all be completed before the item is put for sale. So the marks on your silver only record when it was assessed, and not when it was put up for sale - the two can differ quite considerably sometimes. There used to assay offices all over the Uk but there are not so many now. There is one in Edinburgh - see link below.

Once the item has been marked then my understanding is that it cannot be drastically altered.

https://www.edinburghassayoffice.co....ng-information

Thanks, Will103
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Old 09-02-2017, 05:39 AM   #6
farleyer
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Default Re: Silver hallmarks and assay offices

Back then Henderson and Lawrie had their own silversmiths so it is probable that they had a batch of fittings send off to the assay office in 1917 and did not get a sale for a silver set until 1919.
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Old 09-02-2017, 05:21 PM   #7
Ringo
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Default Re: Silver hallmarks and assay offices

Hallmarks are about the silver and the silver only. The marks (impressions stamped into the silver) indicate where the silver was tested for purity (the Assay Office), that the silver content is 92.5% pure silver, and the date that the silver was tested. The shape of the shield, the font, and the letter are all critical in determining the actual date.

When it gets mounted onto a bagpipe or any other object is irrelevant. The stamps are only about the silver.

Ringo
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:43 PM   #8
el gaitero
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Default Re: Silver hallmarks and assay offices

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Originally Posted by farleyer View Post
Back then Henderson and Lawrie had their own silversmiths so it is probable that they had a batch of fittings send off to the assay office in 1917 and did not get a sale for a silver set until 1919.

As did Hardie.....hence the P.H, RGL and RGH initials in their respective hallmarks. My long time understanding...right or wrong....that they each had a silversmith on premises and someway 'sanctioned' to carry out/ validate the hallmarking process.
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Old 09-02-2017, 10:22 PM   #9
LloydB
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Default Re: Silver hallmarks and assay offices

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringo View Post
Hallmarks are about the silver and the silver only. The marks (impressions stamped into the silver) indicate where the silver was tested for purity (the Assay Office), that the silver content is 92.5% pure silver, and the date that the silver was tested. The shape of the shield, the font, and the letter are all critical in determining the actual date.

When it gets mounted onto a bagpipe or any other object is irrelevant. The stamps are only about the silver.

Ringo

Just so...

My primary pipe was custom turned,
and I was pleased to accept it on the
31st of December, 1979.

Jack Ironside had been good enough
to look through his back room, and
shipped a never-used set of sterling
mounts to the pipe-maker. They're
fully hallmarked for the mid 1950's.

An extreme example, no doubt, and
a future puzzle for someone.
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Old 09-03-2017, 08:28 AM   #10
Barry Shears
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Default Re: Silver hallmarks and assay offices

all great info, thanks.
Barry
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