English silver dating marks
A treasonable offence in times when treason was punished by death.
Learning how to define the origin of a piece of silver, the year made and the silversmith is great fun and also a way of perhaps finding a rare item that was made in a particular year or city.
There was a simple reason for this seemingly Draconian behaviour in that the manufacture of silver and gold was allied to the minting of currency.
Therefore, by debasing silver or gold, the offender was undermining the coin of the realm.
Both pieces also have a Duty Mark (Queen Victoria).
The French assay mark for sterling silver is the head of the goddess Minerva.