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This month’s topics include antiques as a marker of time and some very personal memories of the bombing of Hiroshima

Star letter

Our star letter receives a copy of British Designer Silver by John Andrew and Derek Styles worth £75. Write to us at Antique Collecting, Sandy Lane, Old Martlesham, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP12 4SD or email magazine@

While the poet TS Eliot famously marked the passage of time in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock with coffee spoons, I have another method: antiques. When I first subscribed to the magazine in the late ‘60s (perhaps making me one of the longest-serving subscribers?) art deco was not a historic event, it was within my memory. Modernist furniture was just that – modern. Now of course they are all antiques. And I can’t help thinking I am the same. But, like all the best antiques, my patina and signs of use have only added value! K. Forrester, by email

Left For some, art deco is just about within living memory

Above right Aerial images by US Air Force of Hiroshima showing fires still burning, part of a collection recently sold at Hansons, credit Hansons Auctioneers

Below Does anyone have details on the pin and retractable needle?

Like many readers during buying trips, I pick up unusual or interesting items that I know little or anything about. Please see attached photos of a small pin with a retractable needle I bought at auction with some medals and buttons. It’s approximately 85mm long, with a retractable, barbed needle that extends 40mm from the end. It is brass and steel and stamped ‘Perfect’. There are no makers marks or any indication to its use or age. Can anybody help? Thank you in anticipation. John Kane, Nottingham, by email

I very much enjoyed a recent article on the bombing of Hiroshima (Saleroom Spotlight, December issue Antique Collecting). I had the honour of meeting and interviewing Colonel Paul Tibbets, the pilot who flew the Enola Gay on August 6, 1945, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama when I was an oral historian assigned to the Historical Research Center there in February 1985. It was my pleasure to thank him for his heroic efforts. Why was I so pleased?

At that time, my father, who, having survived the Normandy invasion of 1944, was a member of the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards and ordered to prepare for ocean shipment to Japan for another invasion, expected to be even more horrific than Normandy. So if the atomic bomb hadn’t been dropped, heralding Japan’s surrender and saving many, many UK and US lives, I might never have existed. Therefore on a personal level, I was very pleased to shake General Tibbets’ hand. A lovely issue, and very meaningful to me. Barry Anderson, Las Vegas, by email

The answers to the quiz on page 38 Q1 (a) In fact, it was 131, including, for spoons alone, 17 for serving and 19 just for getting food to the mouth. Q2 (c) They are all blacksmith’s tools. Q3 (A) = (ii), (B) = (iv), (C) = (i), (D) = (iii). Q4 (c) An overskirt of plain material, for warmth and gown protection. Q5 (b) A loxodromic curve, or rhumb line, is the course held to a fixed compass direction. On a sphere such a line is a curve. Q6 (b). Q7 (d) Issued in 1864 (the accepted 300th-anniversary of his birth), depicting the Bard and a fundraiser for a proposed theatre. Q8 (a) Opaque, brown glass sometimes, but wrongly, called caramel slag. Q9 (c) Although no doubt (b) was a factor as many footballers joined the forces as fitness instructors. Q10 (d) Guinness advertising products.

The answers to the anagrams: cash aunt can be rearranged to form acanthus; chest defiler can be rearranged to form Chesterfield; vegan grin can be rearranged to form engraving and peeled flatfish can be rearranged to form Sheffield plate.


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