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As a member of the Antique Plate Committee I was asked by the Goldsmiths’ Company to look at the original sale at Baldwin’s, as two dealers had made comments that a large proportion of them had been altered or had transposed marks, thereby contravening the 1973 Hallmarking Act.

All the suspect whistles were withdrawn and subsequently sent to the Antique Plate Committee at the Goldsmiths’ Hall. The committee condemned a substantial number and under the present law, those pieces were re-hallmarked, making them perfectly legal.

A number of them came up for auction, quite legally, at Dreweatts on June 8, 2016. These were correctly catalogued and not ascribed as Victorian or Georgian as seems to be the case in your report.

Also very misleading are the attempts to describe them as duty dodgers, as your report outlines.

Duty dodgers are only found between 1720 and 1756 when the punitive levy of 6d per ounce was in force and, as bosun’s calls are light objects, the duty would have been negligible anyway.

Such are the dangers of buying from unknown sources.

Baldwin’s and Dreweatts did the right thing as they are responsible auctioneers. I would like to think reputable dealers would also act responsibly too, since reputations, as they say, are earned over a long period of time but quickly lost.

Alastair Dickenson

Godalming, Surrey