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The Birmingham Assay Office is delighted to announced a new, one-day training course that will give delegates a unique experience handling items of silver from the Assay Office’s outstanding collection, which contains pieces dating from the 18th century to the present day. The course also includes a rare opportunity to visit the Hallmarking floor (which is not usually open to the public) to see how Hallmarks are applied to precious metals and jewellery and a visit to the Assay Office’s historic library, which contains many rare books including a William Morris Kelmscott Chaucer published in 1896.The course is aimed at auctioneers and valuers working in auction houses, antique dealers, collectors, independent valuers and museum curators. The Birmingham Assay Office’s silver collection contains over 1,400 pieces by some of the most important designers and manufacturers in the history of silver and silver plate manufacturing including Matthew Boulton, Elkington & Co, A. E.Jones, Nathaniel Mills and Liberty & Co. The Behind the Scenes course will be delivered by Craig O’Donnell, Assay Office Curator and Sally Hoban, Heritage and Training Officer. Michael Allchin, Chief Executive and Assay Master, said: ‘We have developed this new course to extend our current education programmes and to continue to open up our collection to new audiences. There is no better way to learn about the history of styles and materials in the decorative arts than by actually handling and examining pieces, and we are happy to tailor the course to meet the requirements of individual delegates depending on which pieces they would like to see and which periods in the history of silver they would like to learn about. ‘For further information, course dates and to book places telephone: 0871 871 6020, email gem@theassayoffice.co.uk or visit www.theassayoffice.co.uk.

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