Birmingham was one of the provincial Assay Offices. It opened in 1773, along with Sheffield. Birmingham made sugar tongs of this period are quite rare and here we will only see a few pairs. The date letter was struck from when the Assay Office opened so we can be exact about dating Birmingham tongs. You do need to be a little careful as the date letters were not struck in alphabetical sequence, so you will need to check with a reputable hall-marking reference book, click here

If you are considering building a collection of sugar tongs hall-marked in Birmingham only, then beware, early sugar tongs are very rare and you will pay a premium for them. Once you venture into the mid to late Nineteenth century then Birmingham becomes one of the most commonly used Assay Offices, along with Sheffield.

If you want to find out more about the Birmingham Assay Office, it is still operating today and their web-site is:

ES - Edward Sawyer

ET - Edward Thomason

IT - Joseph Taylor

JA&S - Josiah Adams & sons

JJ - John Jesson?

JW - Joseph Willmore

RE- Richard Evans

SP - Samuel Pemberton

TP - Thomas Parsons