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Obituary: Gloria Hoffman

Popular and knowledgeable antique dealer with expertise in hallmarks

    An antique silver dealer for 31 years, Gloria Hoffman, who has died aged 89, was recognised as an expert in English silver. She had a stall at the Antique Supermarket. 

    Drawn into the business through her attraction to the beauty and craftsmanship of antique silver, she was regularly called by auction houses, notably Sotheby’s and Christies, for her appraisal and opinion. She had a particular expertise in hallmarks, and had memorised many of the English assay marks – (warranty issued by the office responsible for regulating hallmarking).

    Her charm and social nature turned the business into a network of friends who stayed in touch with her over time and across the world. It took her years to retire as her customers always wanted one more piece of silver.

    The only child of Henry and Lillian Solomons, she graduated from Claire Park School in Farnham but did not attend college. Her long-held wish to be an aunt was granted in December, 1951 when she married Laurence Hoffman and instantly became an aunt to his many nieces and nephews. She also had a son of her own, Andrew. Gloria and Laurence were married for 52 years until his death in 2003.

    She was a very social person, always thinking of others. Once she discovered the internet she never forgot a personal event and email was a connection to her many friends. On the day she was taken to hospital, days before her death, she emailed her great grandson on his birthday. Hundreds of people who came to her funeral described her kindness and care for others. Her neighbors from Eastern Europe had only moved in a couple of years before she died and were devastated by the news. She was, they said, one of the few people in London who had made them feel like family.

    Friends described her as “elegant, graceful and sharp”. She was always meticulous in her appearance. She loved golf and was a member of Finchley Golf Club for over 30 years. She also enjoyed bridge and was an enthusiastic gardener, visiting gardens and becoming a member of “Friends of Kenwood” for many years.

    When Andrew married Helene Volker and moved to New Orleans, Gloria visited them regularly and enjoyed a special relationship with her daughter-in law. Her last visit to New Orleans was for her 80th birthday where she was surrounded by family and friends.

    Gloria is survived by Andrew, three grandchildren Keith, Adam and Katherine and four great grandchildren, Grady, Reece, Kyle and Audrey. 

    Andrew Hoffman  

    Gloria Hoffman: born October 1, 1929. Died April 2, 2019