Click on the letter you want to date or on a date letter cycle (column) in the table below to see a larger view (scroll down for earlier dates):
The Sheffield Assay Office was established by Act of Parliament in 1773 following Parliament by delegations from Sheffield and Birmingham. The initial area of responsibility of the assay office comprised the town of Sheffield and twenty miles around it. The town mark was chosen to be a crown, supposedly as a result of the delegations meeting at a public house in London called the Crown and Anchor.
Up to and including 1974 the date letter changed on the first Monday in July when the wardens for the following year were elected. For the first 2 cycles of date letters until 1824 the letters followed each other in an arbitrary order chosen by the guardians at their annual meeting. From 1780 until 1853 the Sheffield assay office used, on small items, a punch with date letter and crown combined.
The Hallmarking Act of 1973 brought the remaining 4 British Assay Offices (London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh) into line with each other with the date letter now changing (from 1975) on 1 January each year. The crown town mark was replaced by a rose at this time.