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I would definitely agree with Yankee, Paul and Enzo that Austrian hallmarks are a very complex topic. To clerify some issues about famous ''tax free'' hallmark and Rothe's hallmark (one of the most eminent producers of Austrain decoratios) , I would like to add some points which I've come across when doing research about Austrian producers and hallmarks. I'm presenting here some text parts and pictures from my book Serbian and Yugoslav Orders and Decorations 1858 – 1941. Namely, until 1914, all Serbian decorations were manufactured in Vienna. (there are 30 pages of producers & hallmarks in the book) ''Between 1872 and 1922 the Viennese Assay Office registered about 2,400 (!!) master craftsmen and their workshops manufacturing small artifacts of precious metals. Many of them were producers of decorations.'' I was lucky to be able to study this famous Register of workshops of the Viennese Assay Office (Amtspunzierung Wien), where each and every craftsman has his own hallmark shown; some of them even two or three. In addition, every producer has a detail specification what kind of products or jewelry can produce. Allowance for production of orders is specified as well. ''Until 1922 the products of Rothe & Neffe were hallmarked with 'FR' placed in a rhombus (Amtspunzierung registration number 711; II/158). Over the same period Christian Rothe also used the hallmark which was entered under his personal name in the register of workshops of the Viennese Assay Office (Amtspunzierung Wien). His personal hallmark was in the form of the letters 'FR' placed in a rectangle, with a dot between the letters (Amtspunzierung registration number 722; II/158). This hallmark appeared on decorations made in the early period of workshop production. The marking 'C. F. ROTHE - WIEN' is stamped on the pins. ……. ''The workshop of Rothe & Neffe was famous for producing replicas of Austro-Hungarian and other world orders of the highest quality. The first replicas were made in the early 1930s, usually for recipients who had sold their gold decorations from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in the postwar crisis and replaced them by decorations manufactured later. Most of these decorations were made of bronze, but some of silver. They were automatically hallmarked 'CFR', the mark used by the firm of Rothe & Neffe after 1922. After the Second World War Emil Rothe started producing new replicas, most of which he manufactured himself. To begin with, these decorations were ordered by museums and a few collectors, but when the workshop became linked to the auction house of Graf & Klenau in Munich, mass production started for the needs of collectors. All order badges manufactured at this time were made of silver and are usually hallmarked 'CFR'. As regards order stars, they are only marked with the workshop marking, which is placed on the pin. Otherwise they have no markings. After Emil Rothe's death in 1972, the company was taken over by his daughters Susanne and Elisabeth Rothe. Albeit trained goldsmiths, the sisters had never produced decorations themselves so this work was entrusted to a craftsman and employee of the workshop. Production lasted until the end of the 1980s and was discontinued when the craftsman went to retirement. The Rothe sisters retired in 2004 and 'Hollauerhaus' at Kohlmarkt 7 in Vienna closed its doors for good.'' '' Other secondary hallmarks, such as stock marks, inventory numbers, museum markings, etc. On Serbian decorations from the early period the mark 'Frei' can often be found, or exempt from customs duty, and a hallmark in the shape of the Latin capital letter 'A' in a circle, which collectors often misinterpret as the hallmark of the Viennese Assay office. This hallmark can usually be found on medals and it merely states that the object is made of precious metal. This hallmark was used by the State Mint, where most medals were manufactured. '' As you can see from pictures bellow, hallmark ''FREI'' is quite different from Rothe's hallmark FR, and this one is very very often mistaken. Practically, ''FREI'' hallmark can't be found on Austrian orders and medals, as it was placed only on product which was exported from Austria (and nobody was exporting Austrian orders, naturally). However, even on exported items this hallmark is very rarely seen. I was inspecting many thousands of Serbian orders made in Vienna (and exported to Serbia) but I haven't seen not a single one ''FREI'' hallmark. Bellow: FR hallmark of Rothe and Neffe in rhombus and personal hallmark of Christian Rothe, FR in rectangle, with dott between letter