A History of the London Assay Office

The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths have tested articles made of precious metals and stamped them with hallmarks for seven centuries. Hallmark brings together the fascinating detail from the minute books of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and colours the history of the London Assay Office with prominent figures like Isaac Newton, Charles II, Paul de Lamerie, the Vyners and the Garrards.

At the beginning of the 14th century Edward I initiated the first, rudimentary hallmarking system, and by 1327 the Goldsmiths' Guild had been granted its first royal charter. The ensuing history of the London Assay Office encompasses royal greed, forgery and counterfeiting, interlopers from abroad, plague, war and fluctuating fortunes, and continuing worries over the intrinsic value of the metal. Even today the Assay Office participates in the ancient tradition of the trial of the pyx, testing the coin of the realm.

Published 5 Mar 2002
Author John Forbes
ISBN 9780906290262
Showcase Edition