A group of symbols stamped on precious metals in Britain. The hallmark indicates that the object has been assayed, i.e. tested to verify purity not less than the legal standard indicated by the particular mark. For example, sterling silver is 92.5% silver. A hallmark usually consists of the sponsor's mark (usually the smith), the standard mark (denoting the metal content e.g. sterling), the assay office mark (or "town mark" - where the metal was assayed), and the date letter (what year the metal was assayed.) Below the town mark is Edinburgh (the castle), standard mark is the thistle, and the n is the date letter.
A mark found on gold and silver articles, frequently indicating the maker, country of origin, date, and fineness of the metal. The origin of the word hallmark dates to the later Middle Ages of England, when silversmiths were members of the Guildhall.