My CartView CartCheckout

My Cart

Items:  items
Value: 

About

Summary

Summary

QUICKTEST has been manufacturing precious metal testers (all types of reagent) for testing gold and silver since 1986. In 2008 we acquired Troytest. Quicktest and Troytest are the industry-standard, used throughout the jewellery, antiques and scrap trades; they are used by nearly every chain of jewellers, cashing-shops, pawnbrokers and auction houses in the UK; these are the makes that everyone in the trade knows how to use; simple accurate results from gold testers, a silver tester, a platinum tester, and white metal testers.

We import diamond testers, gem testers, magnifiers and hand tools.

We publish The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook and Cassiobury Walks.

If you wish to drop by, you will need to make an appointment, so we can ensure that staff have time available to assist you. Please telephone 01923 220206. Directions.

We offer a Next Day Delivery mail order service (though we also offer a standard 3 to 6 Day Delivery service).

Anything we sell we also buy, new or secondhand.

POSTAGE & DELIVERY: we offer two UK services, 3 to 5 Day Delivery or Next Day Delivery.

OFFICE HOURS: we are open Monday to Friday, and most Sunday mornings. See this week's office hours for Quicktest . Or if you really want to know how our office hours vary throughout the year, see the contact us page.
Mail order.

Mail order.

We have been selling by mail since 1986. We are small enough to be able to follow every order and to know about every item in the warehouse, but large enough to actually stock the items listed on this web site (97% of items are in stock at any one time) - that means you do not have to wait while we send your order to the 'accounts department' for approval or to the 'dispatch department' for posting, it's all done here, in a unit on an Industrial Estate in Watford, Hertfordshire.

If you want to know about payment methods, and about how we send items (and how long they take to arrive) click here.

The Staff.

The Staff.

Here is a guide to the staff, and also a guide to who you might wish to speak to on the phone.

Raffi (that's me): founder of Quicktest, designer of this website, writer of articles and catalogues, I know most things about the products. Reluctantly answers the phone,

Sandra: administrator, good for general product enquiries, handles wholesale orders and returns, excellent on the telephone, good at troubleshooting.

Lesley: packing, assembly, warehouse work, processes orders, good on the telephone, good at general enquiries.

Jeff: warehouse manager, production and stock control, good at technical advice.

Chris: works in the lab, on Sundays, also provides holiday cover.


FREELANCERS:

- Karen (bookkeeping)
- Levi (marketing)
- Stephen (web and general computer support)
- Nigel (computer installations and major system fixes)


STUDENTS:

Oliver, Harry, Patrick, Dylan.

Timeline

Timeline

THE HISTORY OF QUICKTEST

My name is Raffi Katz, and this is the history of QUICKTEST.

1970s / early 1980s, I worked in a jobbing workshop for jewellery, then a retail jewellers, a watch company and a scrap/bullion company. All of this came in useful for my book, The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook. Over this period I frequented some of the early antiques fairs and markets.

Early 1980s, in my spare time I worked at antiques fairs, selling jewellers' loupes, weighing machines (in those days it was spring balances) and Troytest acid testers for gold and silver. These were also the early days of selling by mail, I placed an advert it Exchange & Mart, I had a mailing list that grew to several dozen, and I was sending out 2 or 3 parcels per week. I used an accommodation address near my full-time work, in Covent Garden, London.

1986. In addition to selling loupes and balances, I produced the first QUICKTEST acid tester, made in a portable fume cupboard set up in my mum's kitchen (presumably I thought it too dangerous to handle the chemicals in my flat). These were the days, long ago, when you could actually buy chemicals from a local chemist shop. I continued to sell the Troytest brand of precious metal acid testers.

However, my main project, at this time, was the development of the very first miniature digital weighing machine for gold. This was six years before the first mass-produced balance, made by the Japanese company TANITA. After a few months I ran out of money for research and development and the project folded - but I do still have the prototype and it still works well. The project left me with a detailed knowledge of how weighing and weighing machines work.

1986. The first edition of The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook

Late 1980s. I was still working from home, but the flat was too small to store the stock, so I borrowed space in a friend's storeroom in Hendon, North London (which I briefly used as an address for QUICKTEST). But I needed a local address for mail order customers, so I got myself a box number: QUICKTEST, PO BOX 180, WATFORD.

I was working at two or three antiques fairs per week, from Devon to Kent to Staffordshire to Southern Scotland. With the collapse of the Soviet Union I started dealing in night vision equipment and other military optics, first as it came out of the Russian military bases in Eastern Europe, then directly from a factory in Russia.

1988. Second edition of The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook, with a third edition in 1993.

I also took to writing for the antiques press, with two regular columns for the Antiques Dealer newspaper (a humorous column, and a serious column about the antiques fairs) - this lasted for six years and greatly subsidised the small antiques business and the small mail order business. I employed a part-time packer.

1990s. I moved the business out of home and into an industrial unit in West Watford. I decided, for the sake of continuity, to keep the P.O. box number as the address. Several part-timers worked for Quicktest, both in the office and at the fairs. Then the antiques fairs went into decline, and I lost my job as a columnist (apparently, six years is a good run for a columnist!)

We had now become a 'proper' mail order company, sending the parcels out on contract with Royal Mail (I think the minimum quantity at that time was 3000 per year).

Early 2000s. We moved three times, each time into slightly larger premises, my dad worked for me part time; then he died suddenly; Chris took his place, and soon became full-time. It was hard work with just two of us processing and packing orders, writing and producing mail order catalogues, maintaining a website, and I was still working at some antiques fairs and writing some newspaper articles. Chris left and a succession of part-timers helped out.

2006.Chris came back to work on Sundays, helping mix and bottle the acids in the laboratory.

2007. Mac takes control of the warehouse and dispatch.

2008. We bought our competitor Troytest (the founder, L T W Hansen invented the tester in 1949), and we supplied Troytest and Quicktest precious metal testers to most jewellery wholesalers in the U.K.

2010. We took over the warehouse next door.

2016. We are still a relatively small company, just five of us plus some part-timers and freelancers. This is good. This means that we are all at one location (unlike large mail order companies which are split into several companies scattered throughout the country) - so that we always know what is in stock, and all about the products, and a lot about our customers.


THE HISTORY OF THE GOLD & SILVER BUYER'S HANDBOOK

To see its contents and also some rather good reviews click here.

In the 1970s I worked in a jewellers shop just off London's Leicester Square, the main business being scrap and bullion, medals and coins. From my very first days I started gathering 'data' on gold, coins and medallions, and by about 1979 this had, in my mind, transformed itself from pages of charts to a book.

I have an un-dated copy of my 'original idea', called Is it Gold? Is it Silver? and dates from about 1981. It's a hand-folded 36-page booklet, photocopied from originals, typed (by me) on a manual typewriter, and illustrated by cartoonist Phil Philmar. If you have one of these, it's rare, I could only have produced a few dozen.

It seemed, to me, that this could be developed into a proper book, and I set about finding myself an agent to sell it. Literary agents (in the days before the internet) were nearly impossible to find, they hid themselves from the many would-be writers who were liable to walk into their office un-announced - but I found one, Serafina. Now, thirty years later, I notice that not much has changed, Serafina's website states that they are"not currently accepting unsolicited submissions" and that anyone emailing a submission will probably not receive a reply.

Serafina said the book looked interesting enough for her to research, but warned me that there were probably many similar books, in which case she would not be interested.

A few months later (these things take time!) she reported back. My book was, indeed, unique, and she was happy to take it on. A few months later she found a publisher, my book was to be the third on the list (a new 'imprint'). A few months later the publisher was bought out by a larger company...who 'dropped' the entire imprint, thus 'killing' my book and the others on the list.

I decided to publish it myself.

I know, from the ISBN number, that the first edition was in 1986. I've found my own archive copy, and to my amazement it is home-made, photocopied from my own typing, probably on an electric typewriter, with a plain card cover. It has 64 pages. A similar copy has an introduction dated Decembeer 1986 and a glossy cover, I take this to be a reprint of the original, with some amendments.

The second edition is dated 1987 and, again, there are two versions with two different covers and slightly different page formats, it looks as if I progressed from a typewriter to a computer printer, they still look 'home made' but at least they are properly trimmed.

The third edition is dated 1988, professionally printed and bound, 96 pages.

There was then a slight pause, probably because I had printed a couple of thousand books and wanted to sell them before upating the book.

We are now on the fourth edition, 2011, 184 pages.

The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook is a proper book, not (as you will see on the internet) a booklet telling you how to 'get rich quick' by buying and selling gold, To see its contents and also some rather good reviews click here.