When the assay offices at Birmingham and Sheffield were founded in 1773 town marks had to be found for them. However, the crown and the anchor would not seem to be the obvious choices - Sheffield has few Royal connections and Birmingham is about as far from the sea as one can get in England. The story is an interesting one.
Initially the Goldsmiths’ Company of London was opposed to the establishment of new assay offices but, following a campaign in Parliament, their new status was granted. The campaign was orchestrated from a pub in The Strand, London. That pub was called The Crown and Anchor and, so the story goes, when faced with the need to choose a town-mark, the representatives of the two new assay offices looked at the pub-sign and tossed a coin to decide who got which emblem.
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