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Temporary Closure Message from the Assay Master in response to COVID-19 (Updated 24/03/2020)

Published: 24th March 2020

Message from the Assay Master in response to Covid-19

24th March 2020

Temporary Closure Notice

We have tried to keep our office open for as long as we possibly could because of the vital role we play in supporting you, our customers, as well as the wider trade, and consumers. However, to ensure the welfare of our staff we’ve had to take the difficult, but necessary, decision to close the Sheffield Assay Office operations for the foreseeable future from 5pm on Tuesday 24 March. This also applies to Analytical Services.

What does this mean?

  • Customer Reception: No work will be accepted at the counter with immediate effect
  • Collecting work: We would ask all our customers to collect their work by 4pm today
  • Posting items: We can post items completed this evening
  • Storing items: We will store items for customers:
    • Who cannot come to the Assay Office to collect work by 4pm today
    • In the event that we are unable to complete your work 

Further information

If you have a registration with us that is reaching its expiry date, we will leave it open at no extra cost until the Office reopens.
We fully understand that the coming weeks will be worrying and uncertain for everyone and we want to help support you as best we can. Please continue to check our website for the latest information.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the Sheffield Assay Office and thank you for your understanding and co-operation at this unprecedented time. 

Best Wishes

Ashley Carson
Assay Master and Chief Executive

19th March 2020

In order to further ensure the safety of our staff and visitors during the Coronavirus outbreak, we have taken the decision to cancel all events and venue hire at Sheffield Assay Office, with immediate effect, until the end of May 2020 or as further advised by the Government and Public Health England.

All customers with existing bookings have been advised of the situation and alternative dates will be offered.

Please be assured that the Assay Office is otherwise fully operational and we will be actively accepting bookings for both Tours & Talks and venue hire as soon as it is appropriate for us to do so.

18th March 2020

The Sheffield Assay Office is mindful of the current outbreak of Covid-19 and the strain it is placing on our customers. We will do our utmost to remain open and are following Government advice regarding the situation.
At the moment we can envisage two contingencies that may result in a full shut down of the Sheffield Assay Office. These are:

  • Assay Office staff contract the virus
  • Full nationwide lockdown & travel restrictions

We ask that customers do not send work into Assay if the items have come into contact with anyone who has, or is showing symptoms of, Covid-19. Government guidelines state that the virus can live up to around 72 hours when it is felt the risk from any contaminated surface would significantly decrease. Therefore please wait for this period to lapse before sending items that could potentially be contaminated.
Staff members are at high risk with numerous packets transferred to us every day.
We are taking measures to prevent staff from contracting the virus, including self-isolation, hand washing, continuously cleansing the workplace and following regular governmental advice.

At the time of issuing this news, we have a full staff in both Hallmarking and Analytical Services and services are continuing as normal.

Our dedicated carriage services are currently operating normally.

In the eventuality of a nationwide lockdown, all Assay Office services will be suspended. We understand the strain this may place on your business and we will do all we can to return to work when it is deemed safe.

Please consider that response times may soon be affected, and delays will most likely go into effect.  This is an ever-changing situation and service levels may be impacted in coming days. 

We thank you for your consideration and will continue to inform you of any change in developments.

Ashley Carson
Assay Master & Chief Executive

The Sheffield Assay Office was established in 1773, under an Act of Parliament and today the company assays and hallmarks the precious metals - silver, gold, platinum and palladium. Sheffield Assay Office is one of only four UK assay offices who all work to uphold the Hallmarking Act of 1973 and continue to ensure consumer protection for customers purchasing precious metals.

To find out more about the whole range of services offered by Sheffield Assay Office, such as our hallmarking and analytical services, please email us at or complete the contact form on our website at,

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