Presentation Pocket Watch & Fob, ca. 1860

Value (2013) | $4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction

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.


Appraisal Details

Doyle New York
New York, NY
Appraised value (2013)
$4,000 Auction$6,000 Auction
Boston, MA (June 09, 2012)

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