We are proud to have run The Antique Plate Committee (APC) since 1939, which is the internationally renowned body for adjudicating spurious silver articles. It is the only body in the world to do so. It advises the Assay Office on the authenticity of an article's provenance - decisions on which are usually based on three vital elements:
- The hallmark
- Connoisseurship of the experts
- Analytical testing process
The Committee also advises on whether there has been an illegal alteration or an addition to the piece, whether it could be an electrotyping, or if the hallmarks have been transposed or cast.
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 an assay office. Articles altered legitimately bear an 'additions' mark, or are issued a certificate which approves change of use.
The APC comprises of a dozen expert members, including dealers, restorers, 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.
Submitting Articles to the Antique Plate Committee
The Antique Plate Committee meet on a quarterly basis. For the September 2020 meeting, goods need to be submitted for inclusion by August 19th.
You will need to complete a form for each item on its submission to our Goldsmiths’ Hall office.
Submission form and more details can be found here.