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Maurice Dubiner (left), Jonathan Dubiner (middle) and Tony Armstrong of Paul Bennett Antiques.

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Paul Bennett Antiques

Vaults 21 & 23

Email: info@paulbennettonline.com

Maurice Dubiner bought his first piece of English silver as a 14-year-old at Bermondsey market in 1945. He opened a shop selling antique silver in London’s West End in the 1960s where the firm traded as Paul Bennett Antiques until moving to the very different environment of the Vaults in 2017.

“When we were in the West End we were very much on our own. We feel more visible here and can reach more members of the public,” says son Jonathan. Maurice and Jonathan now run the business ably supported by colleague Tony Armstrong, Jonathan’s wife Laura and Maurice’s brother-in-law Harvey Woolf.

Specialising in early and Georgian silver, a current highlight is a rare suite of salvers made by the renowned silversmith Paul de Lamerie. “They are perhaps the most exciting pieces we have ever owned and are of museum quality.”

The best thing about being in the Silver Vaults?
“Handling beautiful and fascinating antique silver and having the pleasure of selling it to people who really appreciate it. We are proud to be in the number one retail venue for antique silver.

 

Pawel Daniel

Vault 68

Email: paweldaniel@aol.com

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Pawel Daniel, who deals in Russian, Polish, Chinese and Indian silver as well as modern decorative statement pieces.

Pawel Daniel started trading at Bermondsey and Portobello and, by the early 80s, “had learnt enough about the industry to know that the only place to be if you wanted to be a serious silver dealer was at the London Silver Vaults”.

He has honed his knowledge to embrace ‘foreign’ material – finding historically significant pieces of Russian, Polish, Chinese and Indian silver as well as modern decorative statement pieces and the quirky gifts for the ‘person who has everything’. All are tailored to what he calls a changing client base, with more Middle and Far East, Russian and Asian clients visiting the London Silver Vaults.

The best thing about being in the Silver Vaults?

“The security of the building and the welcoming gentlemen on the door really gives customers a feeling that they are walking into a special place.”

 

I Franks

Vaults 9 and 11

Email: sales@ifranks.com

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Daniel (left), Eric (centre) and Jonathan (right) Franks of silver dealership I Franks.

I Franks is a fourth generation family business: Isaac and Jack Franks began trading here c.1958. Eric joined in 1985, Jonathan in 2005 and Daniel in 2001. Now owners of vault 1 and vaults 13-15 alongside vaults 9 and 11, the firm is today the biggest in the London Silver Vaults.

I Franks specialises in English table silver, especially cutlery. “The quality and price of antique flatware compared to new, makes it an obvious choice for anyone looking to purchase a set of cutlery,” says Daniel Franks.

The firm increasingly works with interior designers and younger clients looking for statement pieces for their home. However, it continues to find items for the connoisseur collector: a recent addition to an extensive stock of candlesticks is a pair by John Scofield bearing the Royal Coat of Arms.

The best thing about being in the Silver Vaults?

“This is the world centre for antique English silverware.”

 

Dori Gamliel

Vaults 39 & 51

Email: dori_g@hotmail.com

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Dori Gamliel, who deals chiefly in decorative Victorian silver.

Dori Gamliel, the son of an antiques dealer, is the youngest addition to the Vaults, taking on vaults 39 & 51 last year for his stock of chiefly decorative Victorian silver.

“As a kid, while my friends were playing, I was learning and looking for items to collect” he recalls. Most of his custom is with other dealers – “always try and leave room for clients to make a profit” is among his rules to live by – but that audience is evolving. “Overseas demand is booming,” says Gamliel.

“I’m seeing a lot of more business from younger dealers and collectors from China, Japan and India, and that’s very encouraging.”

The best thing about being in the Silver Vaults?

“It’s a friendly environment and as the youngest tenant down here, the chance to deal, chat with and learn from dealers who have been in the business for many years.”

 

Peter Gaunt

Vaults 35 & 37

Email: petergauntsilver@gmail.com

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Peter Gaunt (left) with son Joshua who deal primarily in small collectable silver.

Peter Gaunt started in the antiques business at the age of 16, guided by his mother who had been a dealer for many years. Sunday fairs were followed by the Bond Street Silver Galleries and then Kensington Church Street before moving to the Vaults where he was joined by son Joshua four years ago.

The firm has an impressive array of small collectable silver – including rare and early pieces and the modern designer pieces admired by Joshua.

However, the Gaunts continue to buy regularly – “at least 150 pieces a week” says Peter – and across the board in all areas. It guarantees an ever-changing stock and clients that visit weekly. 

 

The best thing about being in the Silver Vaults? 

“I am with an extremely friendly bunch of dealers holding the biggest stock of silver by far”

 

Langfords

Vaults 8 & 10

Email: enquiries@langfords.com

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Adam Langford who deals with his brother Joel selling antique and contemporary pieces at the London Silver Vaults.

Joel Langford and brother Adam (pictured above) followed their parents and grandparents into the silver trade. Langfords sells both antique and contemporary pieces to customers from all over the world. “I love great design whenever it was made,” says Adam.

A recent commission was to provide a massive quantity of gilded silverware for an Arab head of state. “It involved designing and creating everything for the table from flatware to condiments, from sauce boats to enormous centrepieces.”

If there is one rule Adam lives by as a dealer it is this: “Always tell the customer the truth about the object they are interested in buying. This message was drummed into me when I joined the family firm.”

And the piece he would most like to find? For sentimental reasons it would be the silver miniatures made by his grandfather in the late 1930s.

The best thing about being in the Silver Vaults?
“Everyone who visits us has a curiosity or wants to look at or acquire silverware. Our customers, whether British or from overseas, are nearly always in a good mood because they are about to treat themselves or treat someone else.”

 

Linden & Co

Vault 7

Email: lindenandco@aol.com

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Brothers Howard and Steven Linden of Linden & Co who specialise in silver and gold collectables.

Trading from New Bond Street in the 1930s, the firm of Linden & Co has been in the Vaults for over 40 years. Brothers Howard and Steven Linden, who joined their father and uncles in 1968 and 1970 and are now running the business.

Linden specialises in silver and gold collectables – with the firm’s website offering an array of pin cushions, vesta boxes, caddy spoons, card cases and wine labels. “Keeping up with technology is an important challenge to meet. The internet is taking a larger chunk of the market every year and we all have to be part of it,” say the brothers.

Linden has also built a clientele for antique silver plated tableware. An eight-light Old Sheffield plated candelabrum by Matthew Boulton is a much admired piece of current stock. 

The best thing about being in the Silver Vaults?

“A friendly atmosphere and a place which attracts over 35,000 visitors every year from all over the world.”

 

Michael Sedler Antiques

Vaults 25 & 26

Email: info@sedlerantiques.com

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Sam Sedler and Carol Leijenaar of Michael Sedler Antiques which deals in antique and modern silver.

In the Vaults since 2004, Michael Sedler Antiques – run by Michael and son Sam Sedler (pictured here with colleague Carol Leijenaar) – deal in a wide range of pieces from the 16th century right through to post-war design.

Larger statement pieces are a trademark with a tea set by John Figg (1874), chased and applied with figures and scenes in the style of the Dutch artist David Teniers, among the favoured items of current stock.

Despite the challenges posed to the antiques industry in recent years, there are, says Sam Sedler, good reasons to be cheerful in 2018. “We feel like silver is having a resurgence as people turn away from the disposable lifestyle. Antique silver is unique as an investment – it is opulent and decorative, with each item imbued with a rich history, but it is robust enough to be used in everyday home life.”

The best thing about being in the Silver Vaults?
“To be part of a community where everyone has a shared passion that we are able to indulge every day. The Silver Vaults is utterly unique – a place with museum quality pieces you can touch”.

John Surtees

Vault 16

Email: sales@johnsurtees.co.uk

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Simon Surtees of dealership John Surtees which has traded in the London Silver Vaults since 1985.

Simon Surtees, whose father John opened in the Vaults in 1985, began his tenure at the age of 16. His apprenticeship at Chancery Lane began with the meticulous work of cleaning and cataloging silver cutlery; a role he considers a great introduction to the trade and its history.

“I learnt then the importance of fine craftsmanship; it inspired me to always aim for the best quality available.”

Silver, says Surtees, is a material that continues to evolve with the marketplace and with fashion. 

“Our business has changed and incorporated different themes to meet the demands of the market. We’ve a strong reputation for trophies and interesting curiosities made in silver – supplying the trophy for one of my favourite sporting events was a career highlight – but recently we’ve become established as a good source for silver animals and tableware for fine dining. You have to adapt to your customer’s needs.”

The best thing about being in the Silver Vaults?

“British silver continues to be a huge draw – it has unparalleled quality and heritage. The competition and camaraderie down here is great. Our unique environment has everything to offer all under one roof”

 

William Walter Antiques Ltd

Vaults 3 & 5

Email: vault@williamwalter.co.uk

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John Walter and Elizabeth Simpson of William Walter Antiques, a specialist dealership in historic silver.

Like so many firms in the Vaults, William Walter Antiques is a family business. Founder William Walter was one of the first silver dealers to set up showrooms here in the post-war era.

His son Raymond joined him in the early 50s, gaining the wealth of knowledge and experience he passed on to son John, who began his tenure with the company in the early 80s. 

Early silver from the 16th and 17th centuries is John Walter’s true passion – the high point in his career the purchase of the Swaythling apostle spoons and a favourite item of current stock, an Elizabethan beaker dated 1589. 

The best thing about being in the Silver Vaults?

“As we have been established for many years, the customer can buy with confidence.”