Page 11 - October 2017
P. 11

|  More collecting (printing) adventures  | |  Pat Swadling  (10453)  |


            he collector’s world often contains   must have been used as a hand stamp by
            surprises. Sometimes new items just   Dhanamall Co. Ltd in Singapore, and it
       T‘turn up’, but the surprise is often in   certainly warranted purchasing, not only
       the story they have to tell, particularly in   as a display item, but also as a research
       the case of military medals . . . but that, as   project.
       they say, is another story.             So home to the trusty computer and
         The internet now makes the collector’s   enter ‘Dhanamall Co. Ltd., Singapore’.
       life much easier, irrespective of what is   Sadly, the only real information seemed
       collected; no more spending hours in the   to be that the company closed many years
       library looking through stacks of reference   ago and there was very little else of any
                                                   note.
                                                     Next I tried the maker’s
                                                   name impressed on the side of
                                                   the block, Smith & Howarth,
                                                   Manchester. This company may
                                                   be well-known to some readers,
                                                   but not to me, so I was amazed at
                                                   the amount information available,
                                                   certainly compared to the
                                                   Singapore company.
       books. You just go on the computer and     It seems that Smith & Howarth of
       look everything up.                   Manchester specialised in producing these
         To be fair, it doesn’t always work the   printing blocks. They were apparently
       fi rst time, even if you put in the obvious   used for marking textiles and cloth at
       details: sometimes you have to try the   diff erent fi nishing works. The wording
       not-so-obvious route to look for the
       information you want. Strangely,
       my computer doesn’t always seem to
       think the same way as I do.
         This was the case with my latest
       printing block fi nd in an antiques
       market. It was on the shelf of one
       of the stands (dealers don’t like you
       calling them stalls) waiting for me to
       spot it amongst the cups and saucers
       and assorted bric-a-brac (sorry, other
       antique items).
         Like many others, I have seen
       hundreds of blocks over the years, but this   is set in brass or copper strips and each
       one caught my eye because of its size; and   block has been individually hand-made,
       it also stood out because it looked slightly   so presumably it would have been quite
       diff erent to the usual run-of-the-mill   expensive at the time.
       blocks, laughingly classed as ‘rare’ by the     Apparently a museum in Scotland has a
       dealers.                              small collection of these blocks, but one is
         The block measured 10in x 2in, so   enough for my museum, oops, print shop.
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