Czech hallmarks on Czech Mint products
A hallmark on a product is an official denotation of the fineness of precious metal from which it was made; it documents the result of an assay.
In the Czech Republic, the assays and hallmark inspection are carried out by the Assay Office governed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The purity of precious metals is denoted by parts per thousand of pure metal in the alloy (1/1000), so that fine metal theoretically has 1000/1000 fineness. In reality, the highest attainable fineness, for example in case of gold, is 999.9/1000.
The following hallmarks are currently used on gold, silver and platinum products manufactured in Czech Mint:
Separate branches of the Czech Assay Office are distinguished by a miniature capital letter which is usually placed on the specific hallmark near the numeral indicating the fineness of metal. The following capital letters were allocated to the Assay Office branches in Czech Republic:
B – Brno P – Praha (Prague)
O – Ostrava J – Jablonec nad Nisou
K – Červený Kostelec R – Tábor
Z – Plzeň (Pilsen) L – Olomouc
H – Hradec Králové T – Turnov
Fig.: Hallmark for 999/1000 silver struck by the Assay Office branch in Jablonec nad Nisou
Hallmarks on coins
Pursuant to the Assay Law No. 539/1992 Coll., neither Czech nor foreign coins made of precious metals are denoted by hallmarks. Nevertheless, the Assay Office supervises the manufacture of Czech commemorative coins and Czech Mint has a duty to submit samples of mintage to the office for verfication of the fineness of the used precious metal.
Hallmarks used to denote the 999/1000 fineness before 2004Before 2004, a hallmark with numeral 1 was used to denote the highest fineness – 999/1000. You can find it on Czech Mint’s older mintage, as well. It is therefore neither a mistake, nor a rare collector specimen.
With effect from 1 January 2004, Decree No. 363/2003 Coll. newly introduced denotation of the highest fineness, i.e. 999/1000, on articles made of gold, silver and platinum with a 0 (zero) in the hallmarks. The original hallmarks used in the Czech Republic before 2004 can be found in Decree No. 540/1992 Coll.