It might dismay them even more if they knew that the prominent illustration on the front page shows a sextant which itself is a reproduction.
As a former dealer specialising in scientific instruments, these are recognisable to me at once, and are usually known as ‘Bombay copies’.
The overall poor quality of the objects gives them away.
The scale is too crude, and the knurling on the eye-piece, the clamping screw and the fine adjustment screw are nothing like that on a late 19th or early 20th century original.
The word LONDON in modern capital letters is wrong, being never found on originals.
All this said, I wish you and the team at Antiques Trade Gazette a Happy New Year.
ATG responds: Choosing an image for thematic features is always an interesting exercise, not least because of our readership’s expertise.
For our annual Predictions feature, where the subject matter is wide ranging in scope, our strategy is to use visual metaphors as cover illustrations. In previous years we have used concept images such as a (non-antique) crystal ball or a clock face.
This year we decided on a navigational theme of charting the way ahead for the forthcoming year in the art and antiques market. We chose a concept photo from an image library, for the expediency of the image having pre-approved copyright.
Knowing the items depicted were not antiques (and the image library did not represent them as such), we speculated how many readers would inform us of this fact. The answer: more than we expected.
Thank you to everyone who wrote in. We should have made it clear that we were not presenting those images as genuine antique artefacts.
We have picked Mr Middleton’s letter for publication, as it highlights the erudite nature of our readers and provides the sort of additional information we know you enjoy.