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A letter of the alphabet is used to illustrate a given year, thus representing the date. At the end of the 17th century, when Protestants were being persecuted anew in France, the cream of French silversmiths (Huguenots), fled to England seeking the religious freedom they knew could be obtained there.Since many cycles of alphabets can be written in different ways (A, a, A, etc.), many years can be covered. Since many of those craftsmen were equal to England’s finest, their influence in design has lasted to the present day.Some Hostess items from the Sheffield factory are now produced in the EPSS version.The major practical difference between EPNS and EPSS is that EPNS is much more readily re-plateable in the future when the silver has worn down.

For over six centuries no article has been allowed to be sold in England as sterling unless it has been first tested at the “Hall” to determine that its quality is up to the required standard of nine hundred and twenty-five parts of a thousand pure silver.About 100 years later, also in England, electroplating was introduced.It required even less silver, which meant silverplate tea sets and the like could be marketed to the country’s emerging middle class.Despite its name, nickel silver contains no silver at all, but is an alloy of Nickel, Zinc & Copper.A layer of pure silver is deposited electrolytically on the base metal to give a silver finish.Therefore, hallmarking is generally done before the piece goes for its final polishing.

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