First of all stop attacking me. Didn't we agree on that? Secondly, don't put Postnikov's words in my mouth. I know exactly what Postnikov meant. You see I know him in person. Postnikov is a specialist in Russian cigarette and cigar cases and has also written a book about them. Thirdly, you have no idea of what books I have in my library or have read or not. When you realize what I stated above we can have fruitful discussions in the future.
The best book for beginners is and has been for many years Postnikova irrepective of some flaws and faults in it. Yes, it is out of print, expensive and hard to find, but so are most of these books containing valuable information as you also stated. Watts' book doesn't belong to this category.
I don't know if you know it or not, but here you have Postnikova for free: http://helprf.com/Uvlikbez/Proba/LocPoct/1.htm
Much better than Watts.
A minor problem is the Russian language, but if a person is eager to learn about imperial Russian silver marks, it is not so difficult to learn the Cyrillic alphabet. It helps you a lot. Another excellent book is Leonard Bäcksbacka's book "St Petersburgs juvelerare, guld och silversmeder 1714-1870"
but this book is really difficult to find and in addition in Swedish and indeed expencive. The easiest to find book is "Russian Silver late 10th -early 20th century"
. It is in English, printed 2010, and also relatively cheap. Ivanov's books are too complicated and expensive for beginners. There are other good books too....
And yes again, Russian silver is a developing area and not an absolute science. Therefore it is of utmost importance not to draw conclusions based on unverified information sometimes picked from the sky. Somebody might take a careless statement made here for the truth (Kubarev/Kangin), but is it? That is what I have wanted to point out all the time.
Adam Herttuainen was born 2.5.1853 in the county of Sulkava in Finland and died 3.7.1927 in the town of Terijoki on the Carelian isthmus. He had his big workshop on Rozhdestvenskaya uliza 6 in St Petersburg. The rest was told by piette eariler.