Antique Identification Marks
Watching the antique roadshows I love the way the professionals identify rare antiques or forgeries in the space of only a few seconds.
The truth is, they do get a little help from some friends, namely antique identification marks, signatures or hallmarks.
Look on, in or below most authentic antiques and you should find some markings that have been impressed into, or stamped on, the surface.
With a little luck these antique marks will still be legible and may be able to tell you a good deal of information about the itemů It sure beats paying thousands of dollars for carbon dating
With these marks you can find out the name of the manufacturer/craftsman and the approximate manufacture date.
Of course if the name of the company (or country of manufacture) is present too then you are off to a great start. (For more antique identification marks visit antique pottery and china marks.)
Tips to identify antique jewelry marks
A hallmark is often confused with a makers' marks. A hallmark however only refers to the metal content (the caratage, fineness or purity) which will be indicated by numbers, like "585?.
The makers' mark will usually be the initials of the manufacturing company, engraved or stamped into the item, however letters and pictures (especially in French jewelry) are often used in European jewelry.
For a comprehensive list of antique jewelry marks I suggest you visit www.925-1000.com where you can find comprehensive listings of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Maker's Marks found on antique sterling, vintage silver, coin silver and silverplate.
How to identify antique jewelry marks from different countries
Due to the sheer extent of the different hallmarks, makers' marks and products, the task of identifying antique jewelry marks is not an easy one. The best way to start is to perform an internet search on the signature and numbers that you find. However here are some pointers to keep in mind:
Antique jewelry identification with Arthur Kaplan. Towards the middle-end of the video Arthur talks about Antique identifications marks and how to identify authentic jewelry.
Antique Identification Marks: Antique Doll Marks
Most of the popular antique dolls in the market were either made by a handful of manufacturers in France or Germany between 1840 and 1930 or copied from their designs.
Most antique doll marks are located on the back of the head, on the torso, and at times underneath the feet. With this number it's best to perform an internet search.
If there is no manufacturer or antique doll mark then you should look for a mold number. Many antique dolls also had a mold number and this is usually enough to identify the doll manufacturer.
What to do if there are no antique doll marks, molding numbers or manufacturer's name? Measure the size of the doll, and record the colors and materials of the doll's hair, body, eyes and clothing. With this info you can visit dollreference.com to research more about the origin.
You can find more antique identification marks at our page about antique pottery and china marks.
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