Presentation Pocket Watch & Fob, ca. 1860
My grandfather was the first mate on the Fredonia. They had left Fayal and were coming to Boston, and they were 900 miles out from Boston, and they came across the Gratitude of Liverpool. And she was taking on water, and she had, I think 315 passengers, so they jettisoned their cargo, which was thousands and thousands of crates of oranges, and they took on the passengers. The citizens of Boston raised the money to cover the cargo because the insurance wouldn't pay for it because the captain of the Fredonia, Edmund Burke, was very, very popular, and they came to bat for him. But the best part is Queen Victoria's government presented my grandfather, who was first mate, with this in commemoration.
What we have here is what they call a demihunter, or a half-hunter. They would cut this little circle in the watch so you could quickly pull out the watch and see the time without lifting the cover. They would put this little chapter ring with the Roman numerals there in enamel. It was very smart-looking. Now, when we take the watch and we push the button to open it, we turn it, we see a classic full size dial, white porcelain enamel, Roman numerals. What we really want to show everybody, though, is not so much the watch. We're excited about the watch, but we're going to close it, right, and we're going to flip it over, and we're going to open this.
And there's the inscription. It says, "Presented by Her Majesty's government to Jacob Best Davis, First Mate of the Fredonia of Gibraltar, for his humanity to upwards of 300 persons rescued from the Gratitude of Liverpool in January 1866." That's great stuff. Now, because it has this nautical connection, the pocket watch chain is a nautical link. It's what we call an anchor chain. So now we get to the value. Just in the chain, there's almost $2,500, $3,000.
Oh, my goodness.
Yeah. And there's that much value also in the watch.
Oh, my goodness.
So I think a fair auction estimate would be $4,000 to $6,000.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
Walt Disney | AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Coming to American Experience September 14 & 15 is the unprecedented look at the complex life and enduring legacy of one of America’s best-known storytellers – Walt Disney
Arthur & George
Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) stars as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in a three-part MASTERPIECE Mystery! adaptation of the novel by Julian Barnes. Airs Sundays, September 6-20