Anthony Bernbaum of The Peartree Collection.

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1 How did you get your start?

I was a collector, passionate about arts and craft silver, just as I am now. For me these pieces represent the birth of 20th and 21st modernity and are steeped in social history. They are typically designed by architects, artists and workers trying to find a better economic and social model than Victorian capitalism. Their work is as relevant and avant garde today as it was then.

I liked buying so much that I had to start selling. Voila, I was a dealer. I liked that so much I gave up my full time role in financial services and became a ‘real’ dealer.

2 What is one great discovery you have made?

There have been a few. Rather than identify a single piece I am still proud of rediscovering Oliver Baker’s archive. He was Liberty’s ‘other’ designer alongside Archibald Knox when the Cymric range was founded. Included in his archive diary was the following entry: “Did design for marking the silver wares, series of hazel nuts and took it to the mill to post”. Hazelnuts was a play on the translation of the German name Haseler and the design appears (largely unacknowledged even today) on many of the Liberty pewter (Solkets) pieces.


Another of Bernbaum’s recent auction buys is this John Paul Cooper goblet, which has been polished since it last appeared in ATG No 2570.

3 What is something you would love to get your hands on - a ‘holy grail’ in your area?

Funny you ask that. An Ashbee Guild of Handicraft silvermounted claret jug with original Powell glass springs to mind - and I might just have found one.

4 Something you secretly hope you will never sell?

I secretly hope I will never sell any of my items (otherwise known as my babies). I only buy what I love. But I now ruthlessly sell everything I buy and have learnt the hard way that your prices can’t have an emotional premium.

5 Who is someone you admire?

Too many to say. I cannot pass an opportunity to pay my respects and thank the late Jan van den Bosch. He taught me so much, including how to buy and sell with passion and commitment.

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