POSTED on February 7 BEFORE THE SALE on WORLD AUCTION network
, and modified on February 12 :
In my auction previews last year, I had seen and ignored a wrist watch of Longines brand. I was wrong: it was sold 600 K $ including expenses, more than 20 times its estimate, by Antiquorum in New York on October 16 and was one of the most spectacular results of the quarter. It was Albert Einstein's personal watch.
It is clear that this price is due to the personality of its owner, who revolutionized the idea that cosmographers had concerning time.
Perhaps, too, is this the beginning of a dramatic growth in the market for watches of celebrities?
The same auction house has collected for its next sale in New York on March 4 and 5 a lot of artefacts of Gandhi, including his sandals, his glasses, a bowl, a plate ... and of course his watch, otherwise there would be no reason to find this set at Antiquorum, the international auction group which is the leader of this specialty.
This silver pocket watch of Zenith brand was manufactured circa 1910-1915. Gandhi later gave it to his grand-niece, who was also his assistant. The full lot is estimated 20 K $.
Note (February 12): I corrected the estimate, I was given a higher figure on the day of my first identification of that lot.
POST SALE (just now)
$ 1.8 million before fees ($ 2.1 million charge included), this is not the price of a watch. This is the price of a very rare set of memories of Gandhi. The press in India, which became entranced by the appearance of that lot on the market, said that Gandhi was not interested in material goods and his personal effects are very rare.
The fact that this is an auction house specializing in watches which had conducted the auction to an end will remain as a curiosity in the history of sales.
Antiquorum is accustomed to very important results, and (as Christie's for Chinese bronzes from the imperial fountain) was not intimidated by political opponents to the sale. However, they reviewed their strategy at a given time.
I'm convinced (but I can not prove it now) than during my first visit to the press release on February 7, the package was proposed with a low estimate of 200 K $. That significant price made me decide to do an article on the Gandhi's watch rather than on Kennedy's. On February 12, when I came to see the catalog, all informations were consistent at 20 K $.
The information before the sale stating that it would be cancelled was the fact of Indian groups in direct negotiation with the seller. These negotiations did not succeed. This possibility of cancellation has been continuously denied by the auction house, but a seller always has the possibility to remove an item before the sale, even after the issuance of the catalog.
Kennedy's watch was sold $ 100 K before fees from a low estimate of 150 K $. Its relationship with the U.S. president was less intimate than the artefacts of Gandhi.
View my page on WORLD AUCTION (a free Portal for Art Auction)