Protecting the Consumer and Servicing
the Trade with Independence and Integrity

The Birmingham Assay Office has just delivered an Exploring the Private Collection training course and the feedback from delegates was extremely positive. As well as commenting on the quality of the collection and the expertise of staff, one delegate said that a day was ‘‘not enough time with the collection – 3 + days please!’ This is a unique heritage course because not only do delegates see around our Silver Collection and Library, but they get the chance to handle the objects, ask questions and share their own expertise with Assay Office staff. The course also includes a visit to the Hallmarking floor and is suitable for collectors, antique dealers, auctioneers, valuers and museum professionals, which makes it a really interesting day. Delegates included Dick Hope from Costwold Collectables and Oliver Buckley, Curator Manager of Soho House and Museum of the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. Soho House was the home of Matthew Boulton, who was instrumental in the founding of the Birmingham Assay Office in 1773. The House has recently reopened following refurbishment this summer (see http://www.bmag.org.uk/soho-house for further details and opening times). Exploring the Private Collection is delivered by Sally Hoban, Heritage & Training Officer, and Craig O’Donnell, who curates the collection. Delegates can also earn seven hours Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activity from the course. Participants can choose which pieces of silver from the collection and library they would like to see, so reflecting their own areas of interest and expertise. Sally says: ‘This week we looked in detail at Matthew Boulton’s silver, the Boulton family bible and Birmingham ‘toys’ – small silver articles such as snuff boxes, vinaigrettes and card cases that helped give Birmingham its reputation as the ‘Toyshop of Europe’ in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. We also looked at some pieces of Scottish Provincial silver in our collection.’ The next Exploring The Private Collection takes place on Wednesday, 6th March 2013 with a further date on Wednesday, 12th June. For further information or to book a place visit http://www.theassayoffice.co.uk/training-and-education.html

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