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FOR the past 25 years that the author has been collecting and dealing in Scottish provincial silver, he has also been creating his Little Blue Book of Scottish marks, listing all the marks he ever saw, read about or noted from the pieces that he bought.

Retiring last year from his day job as a datacommunications engineer, Mr Turner trawled through his records, catalogues, reference books and other sources to produce a directory of around 350 Scottish provincial silversmiths and more than 1400 of their marks over the past 350 years.

Its six-page introduction mentions some of the pitfalls to collectors of Scottish provincial pieces – Scottish fiddle pattern teaspoons, for example, which style of spoon also appears in Denmark, and that for correct identification of marks it is necessary to go down to microscopic levels on the type of punch and even the way it was hit by the hammerman. There is a section on the towns where Scottish silversmiths operated, a 65-page alphabetical marks’ listing and a listing of smiths by town. Rather more photographic examples would have been helpful but this is a useful reference.