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The Beautiful Books of Birmingham’s Assay Office and other delights

  • Assay Office Icknield Street Birmingham, England, B18 United Kingdom (map)

If you are a bibliophile or just interested in nice books and historic silver, then this visit to Assay Office Birmingham is definitely for you.

Tickets £16.31 per person and can be booked here
Includes a wine reception sponsored by Henwood Court.

About the evening
This one-off, private visit to the Assay Office Library collection will take place in the ‘Silver Room’. Visitors will not only have a chance to view the books but will also have the opportunity to peruse the wonderful and historic collection of silver in the Assay Office. The main focus of the evening, however, will be a hands-on session with some of the bibliographical gems in the Library, which includes some particularly rare examples of Baskerville’s books: the curious and little known Vocabulary, or pocket dictionary (1765); the hard-to-come-by Freeth’s Political Songster (1771); and a splendid copy of the Boulton family Baskerville Holy Bible (1760) printed in Cambridge and adorned with Boulton signatures and marginalia. These Baskerville books, plus a selection of other eighteenth-century gems, will be on view and available for handling.

Visitors will have the rare opportunity to choose those volumes from the Assay Library collection they would like view on the night (conservation allowing). The volumes will be presented by the collection co-ordinator. Upon registration you will be sent a list of available books, but in the meantime you also can visit our online database at:

About the Assay Office
Assay Office Birmingham holds a substantial heritage collection reflecting its long history in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. The collection was begun in the mid-1890s, with the purchase of silver items, originally to provide a record of early Birmingham date letters and town marks. The scope of the collection has since been expanded and now comprises over 1,700 silver items and coins and a library of 5,500 books relating to metal trades, the history of Birmingham and of the Assay Office. The Silver Collection represents the Birmingham silver trade from the late-eighteenth century onward. It contains one of the largest collections of items produced by Matthew Boulton at his Soho Manufactory and a substantial collection of pieces by toy manufacturing families in Birmingham, such as the Willmores, Pembertons and Mills. As an excellent example of Birmingham’s industrial heritage, the Birmingham Assay Office Collection can be considered one of national and international significance.

For further enquiries email Alexandre Parré:

Map and directions Assay Office Birmingham can be found here.

Earlier Event: November 22
Type Talks: Rick Poynor
Later Event: January 24
Type Talks: Sarah Boris