On May 16, 1986 in Knightsbridge Crown Court, a 38-year-old
Peter Ashley-Russell was sentenced to 21 months in jail after
pleading guilty to six counts of false hallmarking and of obtaining
money by deception.
Police found a secret panel in Ashley-Russell's Bethnal Green
workshop containing forgeries, tools and hallmark punches following
the discovery that he had made a fake 17th century gold spoon and
fork sold at Christie's.
On July 11, 1985, a gold rat-tailed trefid spoon and
three-pronged fork with the marks of William Mathew 1689, had sold
to Spink & Son, bidding on behalf of an overseas client, for
£48,000. They were submitted to Goldsmiths' Hall and found to be
modern fakes made from melted gold coins. Not all fakes were traced
and it took many years for the market to recover.