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There was nothing especially rare about it; it had a standard rat-tail and normal ears, dated from the middle of the trefid period (1691) and was London rather than provincial. But those crisp hallmarks alerted Mr Davies to the fact that the smith was someone special – the name Anthony Nelme has gone down in history alongside the finest smiths in England. Drawing on Huguenot influences, he was responsible for such splendid work as the Macclesfield silver – a cistern,
fountain and cooler commissioned by Lord Chancellor Thomas Parker in 1719 and apparently the only complete set of wine serving silver extant.

While only a humble and early example of Nelme’s work, the spoon still made £740 (plus 12.5
per cent buyer’s premium) at the Birmingham salerooms on July 27.