Our correspondent questions the notion that 'pinging' is a suitable way to assess antique drinking glasses.

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I am reminded of a letter to the editor years ago published in ATG headed, from memory, ‘Ban the pingers and scrapers’, as such people, it argued, can inflict more damage on items in an auction viewing than they have previously sustained over many years.

It would have been dramatic had the most valuable glass shattered on national television, and I am reminded that a friend’s fine Georgian rummer shattered in his hand on washing without any provocation, and it would not have been owing to the water being too hot.

In my humble opinion, I would say we should assess glass by looking at the texture, the shape and style consistent with a particular period, and look for wear on the base, aware that it can be scraped on to make a glass look older than it actually is, and also look for the wear an older or antique glass is likely to have on the top rim. The feel of a glass is also important for quality.

I wonder whether there will now be an increase in the number of pings heard at auction viewings, and whether ATG will receive reports of resulting damage?

James Shaw

Proprietor, Appleton Antiques (retired)