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The company's Antique Plate Committee, which consists of auction house representatives, curators, silversmiths, manufacturers and dealers, sits quarterly to consider whether items sent in conform to the Hallmarking Act 1973 or not.

"The committee noted recently that although we receive items from the larger auction houses we would like to encourage regional auction houses to make use of this unique service," said a spokesman.

The first step has been to invite members of the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers (SOFAA), but the committee would also welcome others.

The seminars involve a morning of lectures followed by lunch and an afternoon of round-robin table sessions where experts host tables of fakes for delegates to handle, study and discuss.

The committee is offering a large discount to SOFAA members on the usual £85 cost but is keen to sign up delegates as soon as possible for the next seminar which will be held on Monday, November 17.

Contact Lyn Mills on 020 7367 9006 or at lyn.mills@assayofficelondon.co.uk to book or for more information.