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GORHAM MATCH SAFES BOOK REVIEW
Used with permission of Silver Magazine


Authors: Neil Shapiro and photography by George Sparacio
Publisher: International Match Safe Association (IMSA), 2009
Hard cover, 227 pages, 1,300 illustrations
ISBN: 978-0982233313
To order: 436-9522 or email nshapir1@nycap.rr.com, $120.00 plus shipping

The attractive and comprehensive book Gorham Match Safes is an essential addition for collectors of match safes, as well as Gorham and antique silver buffs in general. The Gorham records at Brown University continue to enhance our knowledge of the famed company. Shapiro and Sparacio provide context and guidance in the "Author's Note," then proceed to neatly and successfully categorize any and all known Gorham match safes.

Clean in appearance with a slant towards nostalgia, the book is well-designed, detailed in approach, and includes a bonus CD with a user guide included in the text. The authors maintain a well-organized method of classification that allows for over seventy pages of match safe images along with their production numbers-many are shot in color along with black and white catalogue images. These are followed by a section entitled "Database" that provides the Production #, Type, Motif, Origina Date, Decoration, and Material. Although you could argue that this supporting information should accompany the images themselves, this format works as to not disturb the "Image" pages which are a pleasure to flip through. The authors provide more in-depth classification by including pages of specific Designor attributions, Service Records, a Date Mark Guide, and a glossary of Technical Terms such as niello and engine-turned. The book concludes with more charts and graphs dissecting the metal types, production dates, and more.

Overall an enjoyable and useful test that centers on classification but contributes a style that broadens its appeal to anyone with an appreciation of silver or American design.