Skinner Inc.

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.

Back to the Future: Skinner Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments Auction Features Mechanical Marvels, April 28

Charles Fasoldt’s Patent Inverted Dial Regulator, Albany, for H. Eckert, Troy, New York, c. 1865 (Lot 70, Estimate: $60,000-80,000)

Skinner, Inc. is pleased to present an auction of Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments on Friday, April 28 at 10AM in Marlborough, MA. Robert Cheney, Director of Clocks, comments that the nearly 400 lots in this auction are widely varied, and include great rarities for the specialist connoisseur, fine clocks from America and Europe, intriguing musical novelties, and affordable microscopes and telescopes.

Numerous highlights of this auction are from the Wing Collection, started in the 1920s by Henry Wing of Greenfield, Massachusetts and expanded by his son Donald. Wing family members were innovative specialty manufacturers with a passion for anything mechanical, collecting machinery both large (tractors and cars) and small (watches and chronometers).

Outstanding lots from the Wing Collection include two machines by Holtzapffel of London, which Cheney notes are likely the rarest pieces offered. These specialized lathes can perform turning operations on prized materials such as precious metals, ivory, and exotic woods. The resulting intricate patterns embellished luxury goods such as watch cases and a variety of objets de vertu.

♦ Holtzapffel Rose Engine, 1816 (Lot 52, Estimated between $60,000-80,000)

♦ Holtzapffel Ornamental Turning Lathe, 1868 (Lot 53, $20,000-30,000)

Holtzapffel & Company Ornamental Turning Lathe No. 2089 and Accessories, 64 Charing Cross, London, 1868 (Lot 53, Estimate: $20,000-30,000)

Henry Wing’s watch collecting brought him to the genius of Charles Fasoldt of Albany New York. By the mid 19th century, Fasoldt was producing watches, clocks and chronometers of exceptional quality and mechanical sophistication. The Wings acquired the largest known collection of Fasoldt timekeepers. Two important examples are offered in this auction:

♦ Observatory Time Fasoldt Patent Inverted Dial Regulator, utilizing his rare “dual escape wheel” design. (Lot 70, $60,000-80,000)

♦ Fasoldt regulator with a “single arm gravity escapement.” (Lot 71, $20,000-40,000)

On Time

From imposing tall clocks to American classic shelf clocks to Japanese shaku dokei (pillar clocks), timekeepers in dazzling, dizzying variety abound in this auction. Highlights include:

♦ J. J. Elliott Monumental Carved Mahogany Quarter-chiming Hall Clock, c. 1900. At 116 inches, this truly monumental timepiece originally purchased at Tiffany’s is said to have once been owned by John Jacob Astor IV. (Lot 89, $40,000-60,000)

♦ J. Gooding 8-day Mahogany Tall Clock, Massachusetts, circa 1795-1800. (Lot 94, $10,000-15,000)

J. Gooding Eight-day Mahogany Tall Clock, no. 20, Dighton, Massachusetts, c. 1795-1800 (Lot 94, Estimate: $10,000-15,000)

Miniature Porcelain Carriage Clock, Paris. The brass faux bamboo case and panels with Asian decorative motifs are highly decorative and unusually colorful. (Lot 209, $2,000-3,000)

The wearable timepieces in this auction range from men’s pocket watches and wrist chronographs to delicate ladies’ lapel watches. All testify to the elegant functionality and engineering skill that characterized time-keeping devices in the era before smart phones. Among the many distinctive—and very affordable—offerings are:

Platinum and Diamond Lady’s Pendant Watch, silver-tone arabic numeral dial with engine-turned center, stem-wind, stem-set movement, Leschot, France, J. Bloch, in an unmarked platinum case with diamonds, with a matching brooch, (Lot 190, $1,200-1,500)

Men’s 18kt Gold Chronograph Wristwatch, Switzerland, copper-tone dial marked Baume & Mercier, Geneve, 17-jewel manual-wind movement, gold case, with a Cobra leather strap, (Lot 197, $600-800)

Playful Indeed

Sheer ingenuity distinguishes a number of pieces in this auction. Musical mechanisms are well represented, with over two dozen musical boxes alone. The most elaborate is Lot 433, Grand Format Piano Forte Musical Box by Nicole Frères, circa 1854, playing four opera overtures ($15,000-20,000).

Other examples of 19th and 20th century inventiveness both serious and playful include such disparate lots as:

♦ J.F. Houdin Animated Conjuror Clock, France, c. 1840, ormolu and patinated bronze. The timepiece is topped by a magician performing a cup and ball trick activated by the clock on the hour or manually by a lever (Lot 291, $35,000-45,000).

Republic-47D Thunderbolt U-control Model Airplane by Ernest Berke, constructed 1956-65 (Lot 414, Estimate: $6,000-8,000)

♦ Republic-47D Thunderbolt U-control Model Airplane by Ernest Berke, constructed 1956-65, 1/12th scale model, 43-inch wingspan. Nine years in construction, the model was made to the original aircraft’s blueprints and won first prize in the national competition for model aircraft in 1964 (Lot 414, $6,000-8,000).

Curious collectors, whether their primary interest is in the tools of scientific inquiry of the 19th century, or examples of its technology, design and fine workmanship, will find much to admire and acquire in this auction.

Previews, Catalogs, and Bidding

Auction previews are free and open to the public and held in Skinner’s Marlborough gallery, April 26, 12PM-7PM, April 27, 12PM-7PM, and April 28, 8AM-9:30AM.

Illustrated catalog 3003M is available from the Subscriptions Department at or from the Gallery. Prices realized will be available online at during and after the sale. The Skinner website also enables users to view all lots in the auction, leave bids, order catalogs 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 and to read our blog, visit the website at, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.


Woven Wonders: On April 25 Skinner Offers Notable Collections of Persian Rugs, Shawls, and Silk Embroideries

Moon Shawl, Kashmir, c. 1800 (Lot 80, Estimate: $6,000-8,000)

BOSTON, MA – Skinner, Inc. presents splendid rugs, carpets and textiles from the Caucasus region, Persia, Anatolia, India, Central Asia, and China at auction on Tuesday, April 25 at 12PM. Public previews will be held on Sunday, April 23, 12 to 5PM; Monday, April 24, 12 to 7PM; and Tuesday, 9 to 10:30AM.

Lawrence Kearney, Director of Fine Oriental Rugs & Carpets, notes that this auction includes three special collections with a preponderance of fresh-to-market examples of woven and embroidered artistry.… Read More

A Formidable Eye for Design: Objects from the Collection of Carol Ferranti

Carol Ferranti

Skinner is proud to offer a diverse group of silver and decorative objects in our April 7 European Furniture & Decorative Arts auction from the collection of Carol Ferranti, a passionate collector, and our long-time friend and colleague. From her early days as an artist and colorist for fabric companies supplying designs for women’s wear, her keen eye and talents followed her throughout her life and touched everything she did.… Read More

Significant Collection of Antique Automobiles to Cross the Block at Skinner, April 28

MARLBOROUGH, MA – March 10, 2017 – An outstanding group of antique automobiles opens Skinner’s spring Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments auction on April 28 at 10AM in Marlborough, MA. The twelve automobiles on offer, produced between 1909 and 1963, will appeal to a broad range of discerning antique and special interest car collectors and enthusiasts.

1937 Cord 812 Phaeton

Headlining the automobile offerings is a 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton (Estimated between $110,000-120,000).… Read More

Lecture | Flower/Power: The Legacy of Persian Carpets


Flower/Power: The Legacy of Persian Carpets

A Lecture by Julia Bailey



Most Persian rugs made before the sixteenth century are now lost; our best idea of what they looked like comes from manuscript paintings. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, according to these paintings, rugs generally exhibited small-scale, abstract, geometric designs. But during the sixteenth century, under Safavid rule, carpets gained a new, more naturalistic vocabulary, representing both courtly life on earth and a hoped-for afterlife in a tree- and flower-filled garden paradise.… Read More

Asian Art Appraisal Day | Florida

Thursday, April 20 | Coral Gables

Skinner’s Asian Art department is inviting consignments for the September 15  auction. Meet with expert appraisers in Skinner’s Coral Gables office for a complimentary verbal auction evaluation and possible consignment of your Asian art and antiques.

To make an appointment please call: 305.503.4423

 … Read More

Gilded Age Showpieces: Herter Brothers Furniture in April 7th European Furniture & Decorative Arts Auction


Photograph of Victoria Mansion parlor, 1895. Collection, Victoria Mansion.

On a recent snow-globe March day in Portland, Maine, I was delighted to have Curator Arlene Palmer Schwind take me through the Morse-Libby owned Victoria Mansion, designed with handsome Herter Brothers furniture and decorative arts collections. The whole tour experience was happily teetering on the realm of gustatory – a confectionary concoction of forms, finishes, and textures that you could almost taste.… Read More

The 28th MASSART Auction | April 8

Massachusetts College of Art and Design will celebrate the 28th MassArt Auction on Saturday, April 8, 2017 featuring Karen Keane, CEO of Skinner, Inc. as auctioneer. The proceeds of this spectacular night, featuring a live and silent auction, cocktails, and more, will provide vital scholarship aid and academic program support for our deserving students. MassArt is the nation’s only independent public college of art and design and is dedicated to providing an exceptional and affordable education for the next generation of artists and designers.… Read More

Kentucky Consignment Days | April 20-22


Meet with Skinner experts  for a verbal evaluation and possible consignment of your fine art & antiques at Liberty Hall in Frankfort, KY. The cost for verbal appraisal is $10 for one item or three items for $25. All proceeds will go towards the Liberty Hall Historic Site. Walk-ins welcome, reservations recommended.


House calls are available in Frankfort and surrounding cities on a limited basis on April 20, 21 and 22.… Read More

April First Tuesday | Marlborough

Join us for First Tuesday in Marlborough

Tuesday, April 4 | 1:30PM – 4PM

Skinner experts will provide complimentary verbal auction evaluations during our monthly consignment event on the first Tuesday of each month.

Experts Available in April:

Christopher Fox, Americana ♦ Michelle Lamuniere, Fine Photographs ♦ Robin S.R. Starr, American & European Works of Art ♦ John Colasacco, Fine Jewelry

Skinner Marlborough Gallery 274 Cedar Hill Street Marlborough, MA

First come, first served.… Read More

1 2 3 4 103