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The late Lawrence Block.

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He was a fifth-generation antique dealer starting out with his family in the porcelain business. He then went to work in Hatton Garden for JC Lowes wholesalers where he learnt about the silver trade. He did well there, earning a good commission and after a few years the boss said “Laurie, you are earning more than me!” so he decided to branch out on his own.

He would go to the auctions, Portobello Road market, Bermondsey etc as well as shops when they called him up. He would buy the whole lot on offer, therefore setting up regular calls as there weren’t many doing that. He took a small safe deposit in Pall Mall until they pulled it down and then moved to the London Silver vaults.

Country sources

Once Laurie got a car in the ‘60s he started going to country auctions where he would do very well. His mother-in-law would phone up from Yorkshire with news of local auctions where there might be silver. His speciality was flatware, making up complete canteens of one maker and close dates.

Laurie collected and dealt in York silver as he had married ‘a Yorkshire lass’. He had a good business and in the ‘80s decided to move to a bigger vault and open up to the public when his son Paul joined him.

After a couple of years they opened another when I, his daughter Rachel, left Christie’s South Ken to run this one, introducing jewellery into the business.

It was a real family business with his wife Ruth and the spouses also working there until jointly the decision was made to sell up in 2000.

Laurie was a wonderful and kind man who was passionate about his job, loving the thrill of finding a bargain. He was a great character and always looked very dapper in his bow-ties.

In later years he took up art and enjoyed painting and going to exhibitions. He was a great bridge player, wine connoisseur and loved holidays. Most of all he loved being with his adoring wife and family and is sorely missed by us all.

From family