The Library & The Silver Collection

The Collection

In the early days of the Sheffield Assay Office, it was stipulated that any profits made by the Office had to be used solely for prosecuting those who broke the law on hallmarking. However, by the beginning of the twentieth century the local Sheffield silver industry was at its height and the Office was making a large profit. As a result, a new A...

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The Library

Sheffield Assay Office has a significant and comprehensive library with over 4000 books, including some highly specialised and rare volumes. Subjects covered range from detailed information on precious metals, including their mining, metallurgy, chemistry, manufacture and history. Highly specialised works include books on specific silver collectio...

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The Office Archives

In addition to the Library, Sheffield Assay Office has a fascinating collection of Office Archives dating back to 1773. The Day Books provide details of every item which has come to the Office to be assayed and marked, including the very first item ever assayed by Sheffield Assay Office. The Office Archives also include letters and documents whic...

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Mark Identification

Our registers of maker's marks (now called sponsor's marks) go back to 1773. If you have a piece of Sheffield-marked Silver, Gold, Platinum and Palladium, we can identify the sponsor, and usually the maker for you. It is important to remember, however, that the the sponsor's mark  will only tell you who registered the mark and submitted the item t...

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The Mary Parsons Charity

Almost 200 years ago, in 1817, a lady called Mary Parsons left a bequest in her will for the amount of £1,500 - in those days a considerable amount - to benefit forty eight old, infirm and poor Sheffield silversmiths. This generous gesture was made in memory of her brother John, who was one of the earliest Sheffield platers and silversmiths. Sheff...

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Enquiry and Research Service

How to use the Research Service For those unable to visit the library we can undertake research on your behalf based on records that we hold within the library and archives. Contact us, by phone, email, or by completing the enquiry form on the website outlining the information you need and when you need it.We will then contact you, usually by tel...

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