From the Late Middle Ages, hallmarking was administered by local governments through authorized assayers. These assayers examined precious metal objects, under the auspices of the state, before the object could be offered for public sale. By the age of the Craft Guilds, the authorized examiner's mark was the "master's mark", which consisted frequently of his initials and/or the coat of arms of the goldsmith or silversmith. At one time, there was no distinction between silversmiths and goldsmiths, who were all referred to as orfèvres, the French word for goldsmith. The Master Craftsman was responsible for the quality of the work that left his atelier or workshop, regardless of who made the item. Hence the responsibility mark is still known today in French as le poinçon de maître literally "the maker's punch". In this period, fineness was more or less standardized in the major European nations (writ:[clarification France and England) at 20 karats for gold and 12 to 13 lots[clarification (75% to 81%) for silver, but the standards could only be partly enforced, owing to the lack of precise analytical tools and techniques.