Georgian silver sugar tong makers are remarkably consistent with where they mark their tongs. They will usually be marked on the inside of the arms, in the top one third. The hallmarks will be one side and the makerís mark the other.

Older sugar tongs will often be marked in the inside of the bowls. This is a good sign that they are of that age. Up to 1784 with the makerís mark in one bowl and the lion passant in the other, thereafter with the duty mark added. Interestingly I cannot say I have seen a pair of tongs marked in the bowls with a date letter although I have seen one pair with the makerís mark in one bowl and the hallmarks on the inside of the arms. It is by no means unusual to find the hallmarks in different places, either nearer the bottom of the arms or right underneath the bow. Occasionally you will see a journeymanís mark placed next to the hallmark. These are interesting. They were marked thus to show that the piece had been made by a journeyman but the maker is happy to sell them under his own mark.

Although the standard London hallmark includes the Leopardís head or Britannia, (depending on the date), you will not find these marks on sugar tongs of this period. Sugar tongs will therefore be marked as follows:

Up to 1784 makerís mark and lion passant
1785 to 1786 makerís mark, lion passant and incuse duty mark
1786 to 1790 makerís mark, lion passant and cameo duty mark
1791 onwards makerís mark, lion passant, duty mark and date letter

There were 10 main Assay offices. 7 in England, 2 in Scotland and 1 in Ireland.


Birmingham               1773                           Anchor.

Chester                      1701 Ė 1962              3 wheat-sheafs and upturned sword.

Exeter                         1701 Ė 1883             castle.

London                       1462

Newcastle                  1721 Ė 1883              3 castles.

Sheffield                     1773                           crown.

York                            1559 Ė 1886              cross and 5 lions rampant.


In Scotland there were two main Assay Offices. There were also many provincial towns where silver was made.

Glasgow                     1819 - 1964               fish, tree and bell. 

Edinburgh                  1681                           Triple towered castle and thistle.

Scottish Provincial Towns


Dublin                         1720                           Harp and Hibernia

Cork                                                                Maker's mark & "STERLING".

Limerick                                                         Maker's mark & STERLING & Fleur-de-lys.

Channel Islands

Sugar tongs were also made in the Channel Islands, although they was no Assay Office there. These tongs will often be marked only with the maker's mark. Later, they also sent tongs to London for assay so Channel Islands work can be marked with the maker's mark only or may also have London hallmarks.

Channel Islands