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Recently I saw a very very nice figural vesta case a friend had bought off ebay for about $100. This piece was a sterling silver Pig vesta and while it was a great looking piece it was a modern copy . There were no hallmarks only an unreadable makers mark which had been scratched out so as you could only read 2 out of what looked like 7 letters . He returned the piece and was given a full refund as it was sold as an original old English piece which it certainly was not . All English silver should carry a set of hallmarks Showing Town of Assay , Sterling Lion , Date letter , and usually a makers mark . The english do allow silver items not to be marked if they are too small or would damage the decoration too much but this is rare as even today you can find old silver fob chains where every link is stamped with a tiny lion ( sterling mark ) . There are other pieces of silver that carry false english hallmarks  but these stamps are usually very roughly made and its usually not hard to spot . I once sold a silver spoon which had very badly made hallmarks only to find out after some time that it was actually made by a famous Australian silver smith who used home made punches .. So its a hard field to study some times , but very interesting . Always ask for a description of any hallmarks when buying silver or gold ..justin
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