America Baltimore Silver Assay
Baltimore of Maryland Silver Assay Hallmark
View of Baltimore by William Henry Bartlett (1809-1854)
The United States does not have assay offices. The only legal requirement for Silver hallmark was in the state of Maryland from 1814 till 1830. This is commonly known as the Baltimore Silver Assay Mark / period.
Baltimore of Maryland is one of the major port of entry and settlement center for early immigrants (mostly from Europe and Germany) in the 17th century. Early immigrants brought with them the skills and art of silversmith. By 18th century, it is already one of the most important centers for silversmith in America. Many notable silversmith or silver manufacturing companies were founded in Baltimore (Examples: Samuel Kirk, Stieff Co, William all, Ohn Houlton).
In August 1814, The State Legislature of Maryland passed an unprecedented law requiring the assaying of all silver manufactured in Baltimore. It was the first official silver assay law in America at that time. It requires that all silver objects need to contain at least 11 ounces of pure silver in every 12 troy ounce, or simply having a silver fineness of 91.7% (11/12 = 91.66%) silver content. The object would then be assayed and marked by the Assayer. The guarantee mark adopted is the shield of the Arms of the State, shape of an sider tapered oval shape, and the dominical letter of the year. The quality mark was in the shape of a clip cornered rectangle during the years 1814 to 1823, then an oval shape was used 1824 to 1830. There were only 3 appointed assayer during this period. The first assayer was Thomas Warner (1814-1823); LeRoy Atkinson (1824-1829) and lastly Samuel Steele (1830-1843).
Although the new law set the quality and fineness guarantee for silver objects made in Baltimore, the new law were not well received by silversmith at that time. Basically silversmith need to pay an additional 5 cents for each item assayed.
In February, 1830, the assay act was amended and silversmith are no longer required to submit their articles or pieces to the Assay office for assay. The replaced the Assay office hallmarks, silversmiths or makers were required to mark their own articles with their own individual guarantee hallmarks
Baltimore City Assay office lasted until 1853. It is documented that it continues to appoint assayer (Joseph P. Warner in 1844 and 1851-1852, Samuel Steele again in 1845-1850, and Thomas Hynes in 1853) , however there are no evidence that silver manufactured continued to be assay by the office. Instead silversmith employed that their individual own guarantee mark stating the silver fineness of each object they manufactured.
The year 1814 (Marking of Thomas Warner)
The year 1815 (Marking of Thomas Warner)
The year 1816 (Marking of Thomas Warner)
The year 1817 (Marking of Thomas Warner)
The year 1818 (Marking of Thomas Warner)
The year 1819 (Marking of Thomas Warner)
The year 1820 (Marking of Thomas Warner)
The year 1821 (Marking of Thomas Warner)
The year 1822 (Marking of Thomas Warner)
The year 1823 (Marking of Thomas Warner)
The year 1824 - 1829 (Marking of LeRoy Atkinson)
The year 1830 -1832 (Marking of Samuel Steele)
The year 1833 - 1834 (Marking of Samuel Steele)
The year 1835 - 1836 (Marking of Samuel Steele)
The year 1837 - 1838 (Marking of Samuel Steele)
The year 1839 - 1841 (Marking of Samuel Steele)
The year 1842 - 1843 (Marking of Samuel Steele)
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