the first publication in a single work of all known Chester punch marks, and continues the tradition of the standard volumes of Jackson, Grimwade, Culme and Pickford. It is also the first time that the twentieth-century Chester marks have been published. It is produced in dictionary format, in alphabetical order from 1570, the date of the earliest known mark, to 1962 at which time the Chester assay office was closed. The authors, both members of the silver society, were given unlimited access to the Chester assay office records covering 1686 to 1962, and to the Chester Goldsmith’s Company records dating from the 16th century.
The compendium has four sections. The preface provides an historical background and details of all extant records and copper plates. Part 1 is devoted to assay office marks, with a full set of date letter tables to assist the reader in dating wares. Part 2 covers nearly 10,000 entries for makers’ marks, including pictograms and monograms. Finally, the appendices include items on assay volumes and charges, thimble makers, and Liverpool watchcase makers.
Since over 2,000 of the entries have Birmingham addresses, the new work will also enhance available information on jewellers and silversmiths working in this important trade center. The format of the marks’ tables and the extensive index will also allow future research into the relationships between companies and agents.