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The mark is a Lion Passant-the image of a lion walking, facing left.You may be sure that an object bearing this mark is English sterling silver made after 1719.There may be some variations in backgrounds during the late 19th century, especially on watch cases.
The same letters were used for Gold, which has been marked in Birmingham since 1824, but with a background of a square with cut corners.
Scouring online resources offers a wealth of information on sterling silver and silver plated wares to assist you in your research tasks.
But, to be honest, some are much better than others.
The different hallmarks have been used during different period of time, and combined with our knowledge of silver content and the years of which the designers were active all combines to help us determine the age of an item.
Some of the documents we have included to the side and below.