Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

I purchased an almost identical item in Tripoli, a coastal town north of Beirut. The dealer I bought it from described it as a ‘Bedou’ coffee bean roaster (everything offered to Europeans is Bedouin, Saracen or Crusader). Lending weight to this description was the large wooden pestle and mortar offered with the spoon, that the dealer said was used to pound the cooked beans.

Sadly, I was running short of money so I did not buy the mortar.

My example retains its little wheels on the end of the downward prongs that would facilitate pushing the pan out over a camp fire. Much as I would like to defer to the late Tony North’s explanation in ATG No 2270, I prefer the one given to me by the chap who sold it to me in Lebanon.

On another trip I bought two handsome brass candlesticks in Jerusalem. The stems are not seamed, but they screw off with a hand-cut screw, like petal-based sticks. I like to tease my friends in the trade by asking, deadpan, if they can help give me some idea of their origin. Nobody so far has identified the Middle East.

Spain is again the preferred origin.

Michael Bull

Formerly of Michael Bull antiques, Witney, Oxfordshire (now called WR Harvey Antiques)