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In the early United States, no national assaying system was adopted, although the city of Baltimore did maintain its own assay office between 18.
Prior to the general adoption of sterling silver as the standard of purity in 1868, silver was generally obtained from the melting of coins.
After the adoption of the sterling standard, pieces were marked with "STERLING", the number "925" or the notation "925/1000".
The same logic was also used to frame gold hallmarks.
In fact, the French standard for sterling silver is higher than that of other nations, requiring a silver content of 950 parts per thousand, or 95% silver.
Silver items with a slightly lower grade of silver, 800 parts per thousand, are marked with the head of Minerva, next to which is a "2".
French silver made for export carries an assay mark in the shape of the head of Mercury, along with a number to indicate the millesimal fineness: "1" for .920, "2" for .840 and "3" for .750.
French silver also is punched with the mark of the maker.