Friday - 31 October 2014

Lyon and Twinam case

06 October 2008Written by ATG Reporter

In 1898, the Goldsmiths' Company became aware that fake silverware was being traded by Reuben Lyon of Holborn. When police raided his premises, over 300 pieces were seized and Lyon was fined £3000.

On April 11 the following year at The Old Bailey, London, Charles Twinam, a silversmith of Latham Street, Holloway was found guilty of supplying the fakes and sentenced to five years' penal servitude.

Police had raided his house to find a large collection of punches with the initials of various 18th century silversmiths, including George Smith, John Manby and William Shaw amongst others, along with items of modern silver punched with these marks. Despite the evidence, Twinam pleaded not guilty and claimed that the parcel of punches had been left with him by a "Devonshire man" 14 years earlier.

Following the trial, the confiscated goods were melted down and the resulting bullion used to cover costs. However, some of these high-quality fakes may still be undiscovered today.

Antiques Trade Gazette is the weekly bible of the fine art and antiques industry. Read articles like this every week in the Antiques Trade Gazette or ATG app. Click here to subscribe today.

Written by

ATG Reporter

Back to top