History of hallmarking in Slovakia

The beginnings of hallmarking on Slovak territory dates back to the reign of the first Hungarian king St. Stephen, who tried to attract as many craftsmen as possible, who brought various customs and expertise to the country.

During the reign of Arpads and Anju (1300-1342), goldsmiths from Italy, France and later goldsmiths of German origin came to our territory.

Since the 15th century, various stamped marks appeared on precious metal products. These marks declared manufacturer name, time and place of manufacture. More often, however, the marks confirmed only the stated purity of the precious metal article.

The oldest written reference of the marking of goldsmith's products on the territory the whole Hungarian monarchy(then including also Slovak territory), can be found in the book of rights of the Spiš Saxons dating back to 1370. The oldest regulation for the provision of placing a guild license mark(signum commune cehae) next to a producer identification mark on the product, was published by King Vladislav II of Hungary in 1504.

Since the 16th century, goldsmith's products have been generally marked in guilds. The obligation of guild masters to test the products and mark them with master marks was unified.

In the 18th century, gold and silver goods began to be marked with official hallmarks. The marking was carried out by guilds and mints. In 1783 the Hallmarking office was established in Vienna, but it was abolished in 1790.

At the beginning of the 19th century, measures were taken against the unfair handling of precious metals and official hallmarking was introduced. In 1806, Francis II published a manifesto, which established the Main hallmarking office in Vienna and hallmarking offices in Prague and Brno. The Hallmarking Act of 1866 amended existing regulations and introduced new hallmarks.

After the Austro-Hungarian settlement in 1867, the Hallmarking office in Budapest was promoted to the Main Assay Office for Hungary. Testing and marking on Slovak territory was performed by Office branches in Bratislava, Kosice, Levoca, Nova Bana, Presov and Banska Stiavnica, using Austrian marks introduced in 1866.

After the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, hallmarks and the hallmarking legislation remained in force until 1920. The new official marks for gold and silver articles made of precious metals were introduced by the decree of the Ministry of Finance no. 596/1920. According to the legislation from year 1919, the branch offices in Bratislava and Kosice were subordinated to the Assay Office in Prague.

Since 1932, silverware testing has been entrusted to Sandrik Company in Dolne Hamre and to branch office in Banska Stiavnica. This branch office operated under the State Mining Directorate until its liquidation in 1940.

After the demise of the Czechoslovak Republic, the entire activity of the hallmarking service was concentrated to the Assay Office in Bratislava. According to Act no. 115/1940 Coll., the Calibration and Hallmarking Directorate is established in Bratislava to which the Assay Office was subordinate. The Ministry of Transport and Public Works had supreme supervision. After the liberation of Czechoslovakia, the organizational structure remained unchanged. The change became in 1955 by the Decree of the Ministry of Finance no. 123/1955 Coll. introducing the State Service for Precious Metals.

At that time, the Assay Office in Bratislava is the only authority in Slovakia and is subordinated to the Assay Office in Prague. Decree no. 93/1962 introduced official marks for precious metals and the testing laboratory identification marks were determined. The activity and scope of the State Service for Precious Metals is adjusted, also. The Resolution of the Government of the Slovak Republic no. 347/1969 Coll., the State Testing Laboratory for Precious Metals in Bratislava was established as an independent body with territorial competence for the Slovak Republic. In 1970, a branch office in Trencin is established , and in 1972 a branch office in Kosice.

After the disintegration of the Czechoslovak Federation by Act no. 125/1993, the Assay Office of the Slovak Republic with seat in Bratislava is established. The activities of the Assay Office are regulated by the Hallmarking Act no. 539/1992 Coll., which was the last Federal Act before the disintegration of the Czechoslovak Federation. There are three branches subordinate to the Assay Office, one in Trencin and one in Kosice and the one in Levice, which was established on September 1, 1992.

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