Preface and literature survey This book has been written for connoisseurs of old brass alms dishes who want to know more
about these artifacts than the diversity of their motifs. For example full particulars of their manufacture, the origin of the motifs, the various bands of script and their meaning, the bands of ornaments and the punches decorating the rim.
How revealing is the analysis of the alloy components, and can it help to detect forgeries? How
can Dutch alms dishes be differentiated from those made in Nuremberg, and is Nuremberg fully acknowleged as place of origin for all alms dishes decorated on female dies? Specific literature on alms dishes is either obsolete,
out of print, or hard to access. The publication by Hermann P. Lockner: Messing (Klinkhard & Biermann 1982, München) set the standard for almost 30 years. Parts and further articles can be found on the Internet under http://www.lockner.
de A modern book by Tamás Egyeki-Szabó: Beckenschlägerschüsseln (Budapest 2008) displays almost
all motifs of this largest private collection in full colour. Some of the published information on the Internet
(e. g. Wikipedia, but even of high ranking museums) is insufficient or wrong. Many items offered for sale are later imitations. The author has studied several hundred alms dishes. As a collector with a background in natural science he
has attempted to combine microscopic and radiologic methods with aspects of art history. In addition,
he suggests a standardised terminology ofthe constituent parts and the condition of alms
dishes. He is indebted to his mentor Tamás Egyeki- Szabó for the many photos he was able to use of his collection and has labelled them Sammlung Szabó in the German captions. George Wigley, B. A., and Roger Rosewell, FSA, both from England, did their best to correct the clumsy translation to make it easier to understand.