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Irish Silver Marks


The vast majority of Irish silver originates from Dublin. The earliest examples date as far back as 1637 when a King Charles I charter was devised for both silver and gold warranting all pieces to be marked with a crowned harp together with the maker's mark.

Dublin silver marks

The vast majority of Irish silver originates from Dublin. The earliest examples date as far back as 1637 when a King Charles I charter was devised for both silver and gold warranting all pieces to be marked with a crowned harp together with the maker's mark.

Hibernia mark

A year after in 1638, a date letter was added. Silver was struck with these three marks up until 1730 after which a fourth mark known as the Hibernia mark was added. The additional Hibernia mark was applied to prove that the tax duty had been payed for. The Hibernia mark is very similar to the Britannia mark used to signify a new high standard rate of silver. It is good to remember the difference between the them and never confuse the two. Hibernia rests her arm on a harp and Britannia on an oval shield. In 1807, the Hibernia duty mark was replaced by the monarch's head as a result of the Act of Union. However, the Hibernia mark continued to be used to signify that a piece was produced in Dublin.

Provincial Irish silver marks

Provincial Irish silver is much more difficult to source. Most provincial examples come from Cork and very occasionally from Limerick. Any examples other than these are exceptionally rare.

Cork and Limerick marks

During the 17th and early 18th century, silver produced in Cork was usually applied with a town mark depicting a ship flanked by two castles taken from the Arms of Cork. During the same period, Limerick also had their own town mark depicting either a castle gate or a six/eight pointed star. However, later marks for both Cork and Limerick are often very similar, struck with variations of the word 'Sterling' sometimes written 'Stirling' or 'Starling' or abbreviated to 'Ster' together with a maker's mark. The only way to differentiate between both Cork and Limerick is by deciphering the makers marks and knowing where they were established. It also important to remember that many provincial Irish marks are very similar to an abundance of American silver marks also struck 'Sterling'. Below is a list of notable Irish silversmiths.

Dublin silversmiths

Thomas Bolton, John Hamilton, James England, John Craig, Robert Calderwood, James Moore, Matthew West, J. Wakely & F.C. Wheeler, James Le Bas, John Lloyd, Peter Walsh, James le Bass, Michael Walsh, Thomas Hunt and John Letablere

Cork silversmiths

Joseph Gibson, John Humphreys, John Hillery, John Nicholson, Carden Terry, Jane Williams, Michael McDermott, Isaac Solomon, Richard Garde, James Conway, James Warner, Samuel Reily, Thomas Bull, William Clarke, William Newenham, William Egan and Robert Goble and Robert Armstrong.

Limerick silversmiths

Joseph Johns, Thomas Burke, Jonathan Buck and Maurice Fitzgerald, George Moore, Henry Downes, Robert Smith, Samuel Purdon, William Ward, Philip and Matthew Walsh

Belfast silversmiths

John Ross Neill, Henry Gardner, S.D Neill and Weir & Sons.

Galway silversmiths

Mark Fallon

Youghal silversmiths

Hercules Beere

If you have any Irish silver that you would like to sell, please contact Robin Newcombe, silver specialist at Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent for further details.

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