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A familiar face at their London auction rooms (and to many others through his appearances on the Antiques Roadshow), he joined Sotheby’s in 1966 as a trainee porter, moving into the silver department two years later as a trainee cataloguer.

Thousands of items of silver worth millions of pounds have passed under his gavel since he took his first auction in 1973, many of which have made their way into major public and private collections. They include The Shield of Achilles, which set a record for any item of silver when it sold for £440,000 in 1984; the set of six Dunham-Massey wall sconces sold for £1,050,000 in 1990 and the landmark £4.6m auction of the Rosebery/Rothschild silver collection held in 1999. Having studied British heraldry since 1970, he was also responsible for the identification of all British armorials on silver and other works of art at Sotheby’s.

Outside the saleroom, Peter Waldron is a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, and for the past nine years his expertise in the field has been used on the Company’s Antique Plate Committee. He also wrote the The Price Guide to Antique Silver for the Antique Collector’s Club which has been one of its best-selling titles since first published in 1982.

Retiring to his home in Berkshire, Peter will now have more time for his other interests: gardening, swimming, walking, cricket, rugby and racing, although he assured the Gazette last week that he would not be absent from the silver world.