Published: October 9, 2018
Review by W.A. Demers
MANCHESTER, N.H. – On September 23, Patty and George Jones, co-owners of Jones & Horan, conducted an auction with no reserves, no buyer’s premium and no sales tax. The auction took place in the Armory section of the Manchester Downtown Hotel, featuring part two of the Dean Olson “All Things Rockford” collection and part one of a portrait miniature collection from the estate of two US ambassadors to France. The portrait miniature collection came from a client who was so pleased with the way the auction firm handled his vintage watch collection that he decided to hire Jones & Horan again to sell his collection of portrait miniatures. Rounding out the sale were American and European pocket watches, men’s vintage and modern wristwatches, estate jewelry and watchmaker’s accessories.
About 40-45 people attended the live auction, according to George Jones, par for the course in these days of well-illustrated and detailed online catalogs, a double-edged sword that delivers a worldwide audience but can act as an inhibitor for in-house participation. Still, the auctioneers said they were pleased with the sale’s results, especially with the collective $27,000 achieved for the collection of about 36 European portrait miniatures, all of which found buyers. “We will be offering another 30 or so pieces in the spring,” said George.
A miniature enamel painting of a woman and soldier in a Greco-Roman setting led the miniatures with a $4,400 final price. In addition to the finely detailed painting on metal, the portrait’s overall presentation was a tour de force as it was in an ornate octagonal frame set with seed pearls and rubies and with engraved floral details on both the front and back.
Topping the overall sale was a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date “Red Letter Submariner,” for which bidders dove deep to see it surface at $26,500. It was among a lineup of vintage wristwatches that find keen interest at the firm’s sales, mostly because Jones & Horan charges no buyer’s premium, so the hammer price is the final price.
In addition to the Rolex, another notable watch stemmed from the sale’s American pocket watch section. It was a rare Waltham Crystal Plate serial no. 10, Model 1872, 16-17J, 16S movement only, which settled at $21,500.
An Aximum King Pro Launch Edition, Chronograph, automatic, heavy in 18K and with round brilliant cut diamonds weighing approximately 12 carat weight tipped the scales at $13,000, while three of the sale’s top ten lots finished at $10,500. They were – from the European pocket watch section – a Patek Philippe five-minute repeater with split-seconds chronograph in a heavy 18K rose gold hunting case with dark blue enamel case, and an unsigned, tourbillon with spring detent escapement, fusee – and from the vintage wristwatch selection – an Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph, Pre-Moon.
Fetching $8,200 was a Freeport Watch Co, Freeport, Ill, Serial #7, 15J, 18S, HC model movement in sidewinder orientation, an exceedingly rare make.
Aside from the complex, often beautiful movements of these antique and vintage timepieces, it is interesting to view some of the tools and specialized machinery that goes into their fabrication. This sale had just such a lot from the “All Things Rockford” consignment – a circa 1860 rose engine with factory stool, which crossed the block at $16,500. “The condition of this work station was impeccable,” said George Jones, “even though it came out of a basement in Illinois. It was used to put hundreds of decorations on a watch dial.” Catalog notes say that since the piece was located by the Olson family in a basement near the Rockford Watch Co. factory, it is believed that it may have originated there, although that cannot be documented.
Jewelry lots were led by a platinum and diamond tennis bracelet with a gross total diamond weight of approximately 13.50 carats, which rose to $8,000. Jones said the client referrals are contributing more and more jewelry to the firm’s sales.
The firm’s next online-only auction, titled “Make Every Second Count Horology,” will be conducted October 11-18. And the next live auction is set for January 2. For more information, 603-623-5314 or www.jones-horan.com.
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