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Dr Ivan Bonchev of Pax Romana.

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1 How did you get interested in collecting?

When I was six, I inherited a collection of Russian imperial roubles from my grandfather. This was the beginning of my coin collection and sparked an interest in history and collecting.

2 What objects do you offer at your premises?

A great variety of artefacts from the Neolithic to the post-medieval periods, including Chinese, Gandharan, Near Eastern Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Viking Crusade era and others.

3 What is one great discovery you have made?

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Viking pendant found at a London antiques market by Dr Ivan Bonchev.

While visiting one of London’s vibrant antiques markets, I came across an interesting gilded silver pendant. The seller had mostly bric-a-brac items of little interest, mostly modern. The pendant (above), however, was a beautiful example of Viking jewellery. It has depiction of God Odin gripping the two ravens, Hugin and Munin, which is very symbolic for the culture and would once have been on the chest of a Viking warrior.

4 What is the main challenge facing the trade?

The authenticity of objects. This is an issue for dealers, auctioneers and collectors. Hopefully with the advance of technology, new methods are developed to determine authenticity. At our company, we use a combination of experience, knowledge and science to examine every piece for sale. We are partners with Ralf Kotalla Laboratory in Germany and we do extensive analysis to assure our customers of the quality.

5 What is the best exhibition you have visited recently?

Two amazing museums in Japan – the Tokyo National Museum, home of fantastic collections of ancient Japanese and south-east Asian treasures, and the Miho Museum, Kyoto, a must-see place with amazing architecture and spectacular artefacts from the Middle East.

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