Dating silver plate

In this communication, I am proposing a new scheme of four-group division of these "unofficial" marks.The marks of the first group (used in 1880-1886) contain the word "WMF", formed of three letters, "W", "M", and "F", with dots in between or without and made with a "sans serif" font.The two-letter inscription "The second group of WMF marks contains the marks with four-letter letterings, with dots or without, which are the combinations of the word "WMF" with the following letters: "M", "N" (rarely) or "B".Such a way of marking allows the designation of the base metal used for silvering, i.e., brass, in German "Messing" ("M"), nickel silver, in German "Neusilber" ("N"), or tin-containing alloy, in German "Britannia metall" ("B"), respectively. The two-letter inscription "OX" ("oxydiert" in German, "oxidized" in English) means artificial darkening of the silver surface to a grey colour.It consists of the one-word inscription "GEISLINGEN" of 6.6-6.7 mm length, made by a "sans serif" font and put in a rectangular frame. A full mark for this pattern includes a comma in the volume designation (cf. Besides, there is a rectangle with digits, which correspond to the amount of silver (in grams) used for plating.The rectangle with 4-digit "1901" inscription corresponds to the year of issue.Interestingly, sometimes the letters "M" and "F" are joined together.Such a "merged" style of writing was borrowed from the early marks of Berndorfer Metallwarenfabrik (Berndorf Metalware Factory) or BMF in Austro-Hungary, which were in use in 1870-1880 [7].

A widespread mark, though it is rather difficult to find one in perfect condition.

The size of the "EP" box varies between 1.5 mm x 2.9 mm and 2.1 mm x 3.9 mm.

The size of the "NS" box varies between 1.7 mm x 3.2 mm and 2.2 mm x 3.8 mm.

The full mark uses numerous secondary markings, all are applied in a rectangular frame.

The fraction "I/O" means the normal thickness of silver deposited on the surface of the base metal.

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All the inscriptions are made both with "serif" (rarely) or "sans serif" fonts and sometimes are put in a cartouche. The "O" letter put in a rhombus means an increased (by 1.5 times) thickness of plated silver layer.

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