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Auctioneers and Appraisers

Antiques and Fine Art Auctions Blog

Skinner expert appraisers and auctioneers discuss antiques, fine art, and collectibles. Keep up on market trends and get collecting tips from antiques experts. Discover the stories behind the art and antiques Skinner offers at auction.

Ingenuity abounds: Skinner’s October 27 auction of Clocks, Watches and Scientific Instruments



Ingenuity abounds: Skinner’s October 27 auction of Clocks, Watches and Scientific Instruments starts with a classic 1934 Buick sedan. It ends with an antique treadle scroll saw.In between are 500 lots including timepieces of every description, myriad scopes and meters, and inventive devices for almost every scientific or technical pursuit.

One of the most anticipated watches is one of the most recent: a Tornek-Rayville TR-900 Dive Watch, mid 1960s (Lot 27, estimate $30,000-50,000). Jay Dowling, department director pro tem, notes that this timepiece, made for the U. S. Navy, is the rarest dive watch extant. Only about 1,000 were produced and most were ordered destroyed because of radium used in the dials.

More traditional are the over 80 Hamilton and Illinois watches and watch parts offered. They range from best-selling production models such as several examples of the 992B and 950, to the splendid (and long-lost) Illinois Springfield Watch Company No. 1 Open-face Watch (Lot 91, estimate $10,000-20,000). Inscribed with the date of December 23, 1871, this is a foliate-engraved regulator in an 18 karat gold 18 size case.

Another pocketwatch is notable for a different reason. This Hamilton 924 (Lot 60, estimate $200-400) is a scarred and blackened reminder of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. It had been returned for repair from the San Francisco store where it had been sold, and was retained by the company (presumably, according to Jay Dowling, being replaced by Hamilton with a new watch).

The survival of the Hamilton and Illinois Springfield material is largely due to the historical sensibility of John F. Gelson, the last president of Hamilton Watch Company of Lancaster PA. When the company disposed of its buildings in 1996, he purchased and meticulously documented the remaining inventory, including models and samples.

A wide range of clocks is featured in this auction. Particularly notable is the Simon Willard Patent Banjo Clock with Signed “Willard and Nolen” Lower Tablet (Lot 117, estimate $10,000-15,000). Nolen’s signature is often lacking. The side ornaments are also unusual; the balls are made of gilt wood, not the more customary brass.

The skills of a legendary New York clockmaker are displayed in the Charles Fasoldt Single-arm Gravity Escapement Regulator, 1873 (Lot 125, $60,000-70,000).The carved walnut and gilt iron case encloses the eight-day single-arm escapement with a 12-pound mercury weight.

Another ingenious timepiece is the E. Gubelin Inclined Plane Clock (Lot 192, estimate $2,000-3,000). This Swiss-made “mystery” clock tells the time, date and days of the week as the timekeeping mechanism progresses down a 33-inch-long steel ramp.

Other mechanical marvels include:

As well as serious and scientifically purposeful timekeepers and tools, the auction offers more than a dozen automatons, music boxes, and parlor amusements. They demonstrate the same ingenuity applied to light-hearted purposes. Monkey on a Bicycle Automaton Musical Box (Lot 476, estimate $600-800) is a charming example of skilled engineering “just for fun.”

 Previews, Catalogs, and Bidding

Auction previews are free and open to the public. They will be held in Skinner’s Marlborough gallery, 274 Cedar Hill Street, Tuesday, October 24th, 12PM-5PM, Wednesday October 25th, 12PM-7PM, and Friday, October 27, 8 to 9:30AM.

The print catalog is available for purchase from the Subscriptions Department at Prices realized will be available at during and after the sale. The Skinner website enables users to view all lots in the auction, leave bids, and bid live, in real-time through SkinnerLive!

About Skinner

Skinner auctions draw international interest from buyers and consignors alike, with material regularly achieving record prices. The company’s auction and appraisal services focus on fine art, jewelry, furniture, and decorative arts from around the globe, as well as wine, fine musical instruments, rare books, Asian art, clocks, Judaica, and more.

Monthly Skinner Discovery auctions feature a breadth of estate material. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the business, Skinner appraisers have appeared on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, since the show’s inception. Skinner has galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts, as well as in New York City and Miami, Florida, with bidders participating in person, by phone, and online.

Join auctions live with SkinnerLive! and Bidsquare. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.




Mt. Kearsarge Annual Fundraiser | November 3 & 4

The Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum will be hosting their Annual Fundraiser with  Antiques Appraisal Events on Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4, 2017.

On Friday, November 3rd, participants will enjoy a Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers event called “What’s It Worth?”  This event is both entertaining and educational for those interested in the history and the value of antiques. You may bring 3 treasures to the museum for evaluation and verbal appraisal! … Read More

Fine Art Consignment Day | New York City

Thursday, October 26 | New York City

By appointment only.


Skinner’s Fine Art department is inviting consignments for the January 26th, 2018 auction. Experts from Skinner will be available to evaluate items in the New York office on October 26th by appointment.


Skinner New York 415 Madison Ave, New York

Contact Us: 508.970.3206… Read More

The Sputnik Years: Lecture By Kelly Beatty | November 1

The Sputnik Years

A Lecture by Kelly Beatty



When a Russian rocket lofted Sputnik 1 into orbit on October 4, 1957, the worldwide reaction was a mixture of awe and apprehension. The Space Age—and the Space Race—had begun.

Kelly Beatty has been explaining the science and wonder of astronomy to the public since 1974. An award-winning writer and communicator, he specializes in planetary science and space exploration as Senior Contributing Editor for Sky & Telescope magazine.… Read More

Collector Spotlight: The Joel and Sharon Schwartz Collection

Pair of Marbled Polychrome Pottery Jardinieres, France, 20th century (Lot 1804, Estimate $50-100)

Joel and Sharon Schwartz began collecting together just prior to their marriage. Having purchased a Georgian brick home in Newton, MA, they felt the need to fill it with wonderful objects that were both fun and consistent with the character of the house. A wicker cart with “more panache than utility” as Joel puts it, was their very first purchase.… Read More

The Worcester County Fowler | Lecture by Richard Colton | October 24

The Worcester County Fowler: Hunting Longarms Turned to War, 1750 to 1825

A Lecture by Richard Colton



By the mid-18th century, something remarkable occurred among a small network of artisans and gunsmiths in Worcester County, Massachusetts Bay Colony. Setting aside traditional British forms and decorative styles, they adopted distinctly French patterns of flintlock long smoothbore hunting guns.… Read More

Martial Artistry: Skinner Offers Noteworthy Historic Arms & Militaria Auction, October 26

Captain James Sewall Reed’s Presentation Revolver, Holster, and Sword, c. 1856-62 (Lot 168, Estimate $30,000-50,000)

Skinner Inc. will hold an auction of Historic Arms & Militaria on Thursday, October 26 at 10 AM in Marlborough. Previews will be held on Tuesday, October 24, 12 to 5PM; Wednesday, October 25, 12 to 7PM; and Thursday, October 26, 9 to 10AM

The product of conflict is a large and varied quantity of artifacts, truly the stuff of history.… Read More

Fine Jewelry Consignment Day | New York City

Thursday, October 12 | New York City

By appointment only.

Skinner’s Fine Jewelry department is inviting consignments for the December 5th Fine Jewelry auction. Experts from Skinner will be available to evaluate items in the New York office on October 12th.


Skinner New York 415 Madison Ave, New York

Contact Us: 617.874.4305… Read More

Aubusson Tapestries: Weaving a Story at Skinner’s October European Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction

Aubusson Tapestry of The Fisherman’s Surprise (Lot 663, Estimate $3,000-4,000)

There was a time when courtly life unfolded ceremoniously in rooms adorned with vibrant, grand and lavish tapestries, displayed as large woven murals often depicting scenes conjured from dramatic paintings, particularly mythological and battle scenes. Such tapestries served both as a function to help insulate a room, but most importantly, provided a very powerful political statement of the noble classes.… Read More

Appraisal Day | Historic New England | Eustis Estate

Appraisal Day | Tuesday, October 10 1-5PM

Request Appointment

Historic New England Eustis Estate | 1424 Canton Ave, Milton MA

Do you have a family heirloom or flea market find that you suspect is a real treasure? Come to the Eustis Estate to find out with a verbal auction evaluation and possible consignment of your antiques, fine jewelry, silver and art with Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers. Their team of professional appraisers will help you understand what your items are worth.… Read More

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