Georgian Mahogany Petite Knife Boxes with Armorial Crest
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a pair of Georgian mahogany petite knife boxes with brass fittings, (some losses to brass pieces including: front latches and back hinge) worn stag's head armorial crest engraved on bail handle backplates each box, and missing fitted interiors and feet, well worn gold BADA sticker visible in prominent position on lid, England, 18th century
BADA gold label reads:
THE BRITISH ANTIQUE DEALERS ASSOCIATION
CERTIFIED FOR CUSTOMS PURPOSES ONLY OVER 100 YEARS OLD
Can you imagine living in a world where certain decorative items purchased for the home – came with a large sticker announcing – this person has TASTE and MONEY? From the 1950s until some time in the 1970s New Zealand operated just such a system. The New Zealand Customs department required antiques imported from Britain to be marked with a symbol to certify that said objects were over 100 years old. This indicated that no duty need be paid on the item but inferred so much more.
The British Antique Dealers Association (BADA) took up the task with gusto and antique shop juniors back in England were given the job of sticking little adhesive gold medallions onto endless pieces of Georgian and Early Victorian furniture, silver and china destined for New Zealand.
I’ve often been fascinated that BADA, who were supposed to know all about the preciousness and delicacy of the items they were selling, were often utterly insensitive in the placement of this mark. I realize now that a more careful placement would have risked missing the gaze of Custom’s officials who would then have been pounced on the item as contraband.
In their defense the gentlemen of BADA couldn’t have imagined that New Zealanders would adopt this little circular mark and leave the stickers on permanently.
Retaining the BADA sticker signaled to your visitors that you shopped in the best shops, bought the right things and that you had the money (overseas funds) required to buy British. While discussing this with a friend she told me that as a young girl visiting a smart Hawke’s Bay home for the first time, while waiting for the door to be answered, her older companion had whispered– ‘BADA stickers everywhere, you know.’