Confederate Colonel's Watches, ca. 1860

Value (2016) | $25,000 Auction

The closest watch is a commemorative watch that Henry K. Burgwyn's mother had commissioned after the war. She was devoted to her son, and heartbroken when he was killed.

He fought in the Civil War, then.

He did. He was commissioned in the Confederate Army, and rose to the rank of full colonel at the age of 21. He's affectionately known as the Boy Colonel of the Confederacy. He commanded the 26th Regiment that went to battle in Gettysburg. The 26th suffered great, great casualties, including the Boy Colonel. And he fell leading his men, holding the flag. I will add, his men absolutely loved him. As they laid the colonel down and opened his vest, the watch, this watch, was exposed.

And I know there's an inscription on the other side. We should take a look at that. And that commemorates his bravery at the Battle of Gettysburg.

That's true.

These two watches are the sorts of watches that you would see carried during the Civil War. And there is much interest among people to find a watch that was actually used during the Civil War. The first one is English, and it's made by a London maker by the name of Frodsham, who was one of the best makers of watches in England at the time. So it was a very fine watch when it was new. The second watch is not English, but because it has the enamel portrait on it, we know it's Swiss. The Swiss were very, very good at doing enamel painting. It's one of the earliest watches that you would find that you could actually wind without a key. So these watches were state-of-the-art, they were expensive watches when they were new. As an auctioneer, I would estimate the first gold watch as worth perhaps $2,500. The other Swiss watch, it's a beautiful enamel, as an auction presale estimate, it's possibly worth about $3,500. It is a real dilemma to decide how much the story increases the value of the watch. To a person who is interested in the period, the regiment, the Battle of Gettysburg, I would say perhaps it would multiply the value. We might value the first watch at about $10,000, and the other watch at about $15,000.

Wow, that's good.

Appraisal Details

Bonhams, NY
New York, NY
Update (2016)
$25,000 Auction
Appraised value (2013)
$25,000 Auction
Richmond, VA (August 17, 2013)
Enamel , Gold

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