Before writing a guide and commenting on Charles Horner marks, please read the Tom Lawson book 'Charles Horner of Halifax'.
There is a guide on here (eBay) which states 'If you see a Charles Horner piece with the CH makers mark but no hallmark then it's a copy.' - this is complete rubbish. The factory made batch commission work which was 'cheap' but high quality, the pieces were not hallmarked to keep the costs down. Any collector should be able to tell an early Charles Horner piece from a fake by just looking at the quality of the metal work and enamelling.
After 1919, that factory made many pieces with the intertwined CH logo marked sterling silver, but not hallmarked.
During the later years of the factory (50s onwards), quality control was poor and cheap unskilled labour was employed (disabled people and elderly exploited). There was a high turnover of staff during these final years and pieces from the factory at this time in no way compare with the quality of the late 1800s to 1940 - they are not fakes, they are just badly made.
Charles Horner had quite a few different maker's stamps including the intertwined CH logo. As the Charles Horner factory became established, other silversmiths changed their CH marks so as not to be confused with Charles Horner.
In the same 'guide' as the statement above it is stated that Charles Horner only used the Chester assay office, factory stamps were registered at Birmingham and Sheffield also, see Tom Lawson. Please note that silversmiths use stamps appropriate to the item. If the item is made of thin gold (cufflinks) then the silversmith is unlikely to use a heavy block stamp that will leave an impression on the detailed side of the piece. In this case, light letter stamps would be used.
In essence - prior to 1940, check the quality of the work and enamelling. Many pieces were not hallmarked and the factory used different stamps from different assay offices.
Later pieces (50s onwards) will be of much poorer quality, the enamel may have flaked off etc......
Hope this helps and dispels any myths.
Charles Horner, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Fake Jewellery
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15 February 2008
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