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October 2, 2007

Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office London presents educational programs at the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg

For the first time, the Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office London is presenting its education programs in the United States. On Thursday, Oct. 25, a “Fakes & Forgeries” seminar is coming to the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

Leading authorities from the Goldsmiths’ Company will present lectures and hands-on examination of antique gold and silver that will include:

  • Regulating the Silver Trade: The Application of the Hallmarking Act 1973, Dr. Robert Organ, deputy warden (The Assay Master), Assay Office London;
    The History of Hallmarking and the Goldsmiths’ Company, video hosted by Tim Wonnacott, daytime presenter of BBC’s “Bargain Hunt”;
  • The Final Word on Fakes: The Role of the Assay Office and the Antique Plate Committee, Christina Reti, marketing manager and antique silver specialist, Assay Office London; curator, Assay Office Black Museum; and editor, “The Black Museum: A Comprehensive Guide to Fakes and Forgeries in Silver” (forthcoming in 2008);
  • Test Methods: The Use of Scientific Technology in Authenticating Silver Plate, Tim Swan, senior assayer at the Assay Office London;
  • The Connoisseurship of Fakes and Forgeries, Tim Schroder, free-lance curator; former head of Christie’s Silver Department; curator of the Gilbert Collection at Somerset House; consultant curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum; member of the Court of Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths; and former member of the Antique Plate Committee. Publications include: “The National Trust Book of English Domestic Silver” (London 1988); “The Gilbert Collection of Gold and Silver” (Los Angeles 1988); and “Gold and Silver at the Ashmolean Museum” (forthcoming in 2008).
  • Instructive Handling Sessions. Five tables of fakes and forgeries with discussions led by experts.
  • A Gem of a Fake: Targeting Fake Renaissance Jewelry, Charles Truman, current member of the Antique Plate Committee; former silver specialist at Asprey’s of Bond Street; former head of Silver Department, Christie’s; former director of Christie’s Education; co-curator of the Faberge Exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum; general editor of “Sotheby’s Concise Encyclopedia of Silver”; and author of “The Gilbert Collection of Gold Boxes.”

    This seminar is aimed at collectors, silver specialists, auctioneers, independent dealers and insurance valuers.

    Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.

    Cost is $160 for general admission and $120 for students and seniors. Lunch is included. For more information, call Brenda Howard at (757) 220-7507 or e-mail her at

    Since its formation by Royal Charter in 1327, The Goldsmiths’ Company Assay Office London has played an integral part in the regulation of the trade of precious metals. As the birthplace of the term hallmarking, it continues to be one of the world’s most authoritative bodies for authenticating hallmarked antique silver and gold, in addition to its core hallmarking business.

    Assay Office London boasts one of the largest collections of fake antique silver, the most advanced silver dating technologies and access to leading specialists in this field. Its “Fakes and Forgeries” seminars have earned the reputation of being the most comprehensive hands-on programs on antique silver and gold that is available today.

    The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg include the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and are located at 325 W. Francis St. Admission is included in any Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or by separate museums ticket. For information call (757) 220-7724.

    Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic tradespeople research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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