Thanks Ivo, it is just down to experience I guess, once you have handled the good stuff, you are not easily taken in by the later, less delicate items. My problem is, of course, that I don't see enough of the very good stuff in the general auctions I buy at. I need to get to the high class auctions and antique shops in town and get my eye in I think.
I buy to sell, so it is quite important that I get it at least ROUGHLY right in terms of age, I hate to advertise something as old that is not, and then have to remedy the situation when I am found to be wrong. This piece I put on to ebay last night (to take advantage of the 10p listings...) so I will now revise the listing so that it reflects the correct age of this piece.
As you say, it is still lovely, so I will not be unhappy if I end up keeping it anyway!