Skinner Science, Technology and Clocks Auction Grosses $1.9M

Rare Holtzapffel & Company rose engine lathe and prominent antique watch collection spurred heated bidding

Dec 11, 2012, 10:48 ET from Skinner, Inc.

MARLBOROUGH, Mass., Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Skinner, Inc. today announced strong results for its recent auction of Science, Technology, and Clocks on Saturday, December 1st in its Marlborough gallery. The highly successful sale grossed $1,918,721.55 including buyer's premium, with many lots far exceeding pre-sale estimates.

Ornamental Turning Lathes & Turning Tools
The auction's top lot was a rare and important Holtzapffel & Company rose engine lathe, No. 1636, which sold for $228,000, well above its pre-sale estimate high of $90,000.  

Two years in the making, this lathe was originally sold for a price reportedly "in excess of 1,500 pounds sterling" on December 20, 1838 to a London civil engineer, John Taylor Esquire (1779-1863). It is the most complex and fully featured rose engine lathe that Holtzapffel ever made. Of this particular lathe, John Jacob Holtzapffel II wrote in 1886: it is ". . . one of three, the last and best we have made."

Exceptional Holtzapffel turning tools with ivory handles brought $43,200. The ivory-handled tools, displayed in a large, double-door mahogany cabinet, amply demonstrate the excellence of Holtzapffel tools. It is likely that these were exhibition tools, shown by Holtzapffel in 1851 at the London Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations.

Theodore R. Crom Collection of Early Watches and Clocks
Items from the Theodore R. Crom watch collection were the subject of highly competitive bidding. "Ted" Crom was an internationally recognized expert on horological tools, watches and clocks. Skinner sold Crom's tool collection in May 2010: the largest public offering of horological tools ever presented and the sale generated international attention. Similarly, the Crom collection of early watches represented one of the most important offerings of rare timepieces in recent times. An international audience of buyers participating by phone, online and in the salesroom bid the price on many of these items to outstanding levels.

The collection's top seller, a Barrauds enamel and pearl-set open face gold watch circa 1813, smashed its pre-sale estimate high of $5,000, bringing $67,650. A Samuel Ruel enameled pair case watch circa 1715 with decorative enamel elements, snakeskin outer case, and faux pendulum sold strongly for $58,425. A Jean Rousseau tulip-form gilt-brass and rock crystal watch circa 1640 also produced an excellent result, selling for $34,440.

Notable clock sales include an E. Howard & Company No. 23 ninety-day astronomical regulator from Boston circa 1870, which sold for $150,000. A dent ebonized quarter-chiming table clock circa 1870 brought an impressive $61,500. This item set a Skinner record for most phone bids on a single item.

In response to the high-volume of bidding, Robert Cheney, Director of Science, Technology & Clocks at Skinner, remarked, "If you bring truly unique and rare objects to the marketplace, the bidders respond."

Cheney has been a nationally recognized authority in horology for 35 years. A third generation clockmaker, restorer, dealer and consultant in antique clocks, Robert has provided services to over thirty-five museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The American Antiquarian Society, Historic Deerfield, Peabody-Essex Museum, The Concord Museum and Old Sturbridge Village where he served as consulting Conservator of Clocks since 1977.

Skinner hosts two Science, Technology & Clocks sales annually. 

About Skinner
Skinner, Inc. is one of the world's leading auction houses for antiques and fine art. With expertise in over 20 specialty collecting areas, Skinner draws the interest of buyers from all over the world and its auctions regularly achieve world record prices. Skinner provides a broad range of auction and appraisal services, and it is widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the auction business. Skinner's appraisal experts regularly appear on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, and its specialty departments include American Furniture & Decorative Arts, American & European Works of Art, European Furniture & Decorative Arts, 20th Century Design, Fine Ceramics, Fine Silver, Fine Jewelry, Couture, Fine Musical Instruments, Asian Works of Art, Fine Wines, Rare Books & Manuscripts, Oriental Rugs & Carpets, American Indian & Ethnographic Art, Fine Judaica, Antique Motor Vehicles, Toys, Dolls & Collectibles, Discovery and Science, Technology & Clocks.  Skinner galleries are located in Boston and Marlborough, Mass. For more information on upcoming auctions and events, visit Skinner's web site

SOURCE Skinner, Inc.