Antique Plate Committee
The Antique Plate Committee (APC) examines spurious silver articles. It advises the Assay Office on the authenticity of the piece - this includes and whether the piece has been illegaly altered or addition.
Since 1478, the hallmark has included a distinctive date letter indicating the year of hallmarking. The temptation to make an article appear older than it is by using counterfeit punches, or by transferring a genuine hallmark from an antique into a modern article has proved too great for some.
This is an offence under the Hallmarking Act (1973). It is also an offence to alter a hallmarked article without the written permission of any assay office. Articles altered legitimately bear an 'additions' mark, indicating the year of alteration.
The APC comprises 10 expert members, including dealers, academics and collectors who serve for a fixed term. The Committee is supported by an extended panel of volunteers who report and inspect potential problems in the trade.
Other non-destructive scientific methods, and comparison with genuine hallmarks of the period may be used in order to assist the Committee in reaching its decision. The Committee's decision is final.
Treatment of Unauthorised marks
Section 7 of the Hallmarking Act (1973) specifies how an assay office must deal with unauthorised marks and unauthorised alterations and additions. Depending upon the age of the article, the unauthorised marks will either be cancelled, or obliterated. The owner then has the option of submitting it for hallmarking as a new article, and being charged accordingly, or having it marked with LAO and the case number.
The owner, or person appearing to have control of the article, is informed by a letter from the Assay Office of the decision of the Committee. This may be a simple statement that the article complies with the Hallmarking Act (1973). For articles which do not comply with the Act, the treatment of the marks, and the subsequent options are specified.
Submitting Articles to the Antique Plate Committee
The Antique Plate Committee meet on a quarterly basis. Goods need to be submitted for inclusion at least 2 week prior to the meeting but preferably a month before.
You will need to complete a submission form for each item and deposit together with the item at our Goldsmiths’ Hall office.
For further information please contact us.Article: Assay Office Crackdown On Illegal Silver