Petrosino NYPD Archive, ca. 1908

Value (2014) | $20,000 Auction
Watch  

APPRAISER:
When you came up to the booth and I saw that little box and it said "Tiffany and Company" and I could tell it was from the turn of the century, I was pretty intrigued to see what was inside. So tell me a little bit about the watch and the history of it.

GUEST:
The watch was presented to Giuseppe Petrosino by the Italian government for his service to their country in preventing crime or apprehending criminals.

APPRAISER:
And he was a New York...

GUEST:
He was a New York City lieutenant in the New York City police department, and he was, from what I understand, the only New York City police officer that was ever assassinated in a foreign country.

APPRAISER:
And how did you come about the watch and all the paperwork?

GUEST:
Mr. Petrosino's granddaughter is a very close friend of the family, and she passed it along to me when she saw that I had an interest in the family genealogy.

APPRAISER:
The watch is from Tiffany and Company. This is called a three-quarter plate movement. It's a large, 18-karat, mint-condition gentleman's Sunday-going- to-church-type watch.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
A great presentation watch. The presentation that's on the back of the watch, which you hadn't been able to get open...

GUEST:
No, I wasn't, and I was afraid, really, to open it.

APPRAISER:
The presentation is from the Department of the Interior of Italy to Giuseppe, and that was dated in 1908. Now, the locket was presented to his wife in 1909 after his assassination, and inside the locket is his picture. How did the locket get to his wife? Was that given by the Italian government?

GUEST:
See, I'm not sure. At the time, it could have been given by the police department in New York City.

APPRAISER:
Because it's written in Italian, so I would imagine it was given by...

GUEST:
Well, at the time, he was actually the head of what they call, like, the Italian Detective Squad. It might have had a different name to it, but it was something to that effect. There was eventually a movie made about him. Supposedly in his day, he wore many costumes so that people wouldn't see him. He was a regular Sherlock Holmes of the United States.

APPRAISER:
And what was the name of the movie?

GUEST:
I believe it was called The Black Hand.

APPRAISER:
Okay. It's an amazing piece of New York City history. The watch, the locket, the box, when you add all of it together, you've got Tiffany collectors, you've got pocket watch collectors, you've got just a monstrous amount of police and just any sort of collector of New York memorabilia. So the value of a watch with the locket and all the accompanying paperwork, at auction, probably of course in New York City, since it's such a New York piece of memorabilia, it probably could bring somewhere in the $20,000 or greater price range.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
The sky could be the limit if you had a few collectors that would want a piece of just unbelievable New York City history.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Radcliffe Jewelers
Towson, MD
Appraised value (2014)
$20,000 Auction
Event
New York, NY (August 09, 2014)
Category
Watches

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