Published: June 10, 2008
Jones and Horan Auction Team’s sale of April 26 and 27 contained more than 650 lots, and the highest prices were achieved by two scarce American pocket watches. A George Reed pivoted detent chronometer in 18K gold hunting case serial no. 13, circa 1865, and an Albert Potter pocket watch serial no. 20 provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for advanced and serious collectors to own fine examples from the hands of two of America’s watchmaking geniuses.
Patty Jones, head auctioneer, prefaced selling the George Reed by saying, “I sure hope I can sell this one,” indicating that the Reed was one of the few pieces in the auction to carry a reserve. Jones calmly called out, looking for an opening bid of $55,000. She kept her cool as she echoed four or five more times the same figure; finally, a bidder on the phone met that call and the pocket watch sold for $55,000, thereby establishing a world record for the auction house.
With no time for anticlimax, the Albert Potter was next to cross the auction block. Carrying no reserve, fierce floor bidding quickly drove the piece from an opening bid of $9,000 to the selling price of $18,500.
The famous Red Skelton’s (1913‱997) personal watch collection was up next. Known as “America’s Clown,” Skelton was one of the most beloved comedians of all time. His collection included a number of endearingly personalized pieces and they garnered lots of attention. His 18K Swiss minute repeating, chronograph, triple calendar and moon-phase brought $5,600.
A French automaton, with three striking figures in multicolor gold, more than tripled its modest $2,000 estimate and sold at $6,300; and his Swiss four-hammer three-gong Carillion slide minute repeater in 18K gold brought $11,000. Each of the items were sold with a certificate of authenticity signed by Skelton’s widow.
A fine collection of wristwatches followed next and included a man’s Cartier Panther in 18K gold, circa 1986, which sold at $5,600; a Cartier lady’s Vendome quartz in 18K gold, circa 1989, sold at $4,400; a Vacheron & Constantin caliber V453 in 18K rose gold case with horned lugs sold at $3,900; and a Patek Philippe ref. no. 3730 in 18K gold, including original box and instructions, sold at $4,700.
The auction culminated with about 320 more lots of very fine pocket watches, including many high-grade European and American pieces that sold within or above estimates, in most cases.
Prices given are hammer prices, as Jones and Horan does not charge a buyer’s premium.
Jones and Horan will continue its banner year with three more auctions to be held June 22, September 28 and November 22 and 23 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in downtown Manchester, N.H.
Jones & Horan Auction Team is at 453 Mast Road. For more information, 603-626-5974 or www.jones-horan.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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