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Confusing Hallmarks On Silver/Leather Wallet. Help Required!


Firstly, the wallet has different hallmarks; one set to each of the silver corners, and an entirely different set to the centre crest. I am having difficulty with both.

My issue with the central crest is that the hallmark suggests Birmingham, however I can’t find a ‘b’ hallmark similar in the date rotation (at a stretch it may possibly be 1901?). I also have a problem with the maker. ‘GHJ’ should be George Henry James & Co, but they were a London maker not a Birmingham one!

With regards to the corner hallmarks - I cannot for the life of me figure out the location hallmark. Is it possibly a thistle for Edinburgh?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much in advance!

No big mystery really. The wallet would have been assembled, possibly in G H James’s workshop from its component parts, the corner mounts being produced in another workshop by a maker whose mark I cannot make out in your picture. The hallmark on the corner mounts is a Chester mark and I believe that I can see the date letter “Q” for 1899. Many Birmingham silversmiths sent silver to Chester for assay for a more speedy turnaround and, I believe, a cheaper service than at the Birmingham Assay Office.

G H James, although, as you note, a London company, also used the Birmingham Assay Office, possibly because of a Birmingham workshop.

The Birmingham hallmark seems to have the date letter “v” for 1895 so it is clear that the wallet was assembled from “off-the-shelf” pieces.

Thank you very much for your help.