Cape Silver Marks

The definitive online database for silver marks found on silver produced in South Africa from 1700 to the present day.

In South Africa from as early as 1654, we have had practising silversmiths, and most of the silver produced here – today known as Cape Silver, is marked and can be identified. Generally of the same standard as sterling silver in Europe (.925) many of these pieces were fashioned from the prevailing coinage of the day. There was no central government regulated control and many pieces were produced deep within the colony many kilometres from Cape Town. This resulted in much of this production being marked with the maker’s marks and various other devices only. From about 1810 onwards a large majority of the silversmiths adopted what we call pseudo hallmarks, which copied the European marks of that time. They were not trying to defraud their clients, but rather to reassure them that they were buying the same quality as that produced in Europe. The marks adopted often reflected the silversmiths own background and clientele and we find English style marks on pieces such as the double cup made by Thomas Stephenson in 1850 and Dutch style marks on the spoon made by Daniel Beets. Today we know of about seventy silversmiths and many of their marks are reproduced in Stephan Welz’s book “Cape Silver and Silversmiths”. Since this landmark book was published in 1976 many new marks and atributions have been made and they can be found in this database.

South African Silversmiths from 1750 - 1800

South African Silversmiths from 1800 - 1880

South African Silversmiths - Unattributed from 1750-1880

South African Silversmiths Post 1880