Empty Your Change Purse For This Coin Auction

An impeccable collection of coins has been curated for this weekend’s first-ever coin and bullion auction on Jasper52. This diverse sale spans decades and continents, with specimens from Imperial Russia, Bourbon Spain, and ancient Rome, and includes many rare examples from throughout the history of the United States.

We’ve selected a few highlights from the collection to set your eyes (and wallets) on:

One of the standouts from this collection is an extremely rare 1895-S Morgan silver dollar estimated at $6,600-$13,200.

1895-S Morgan $1 PCGS AU53, rare. Estimate: $6,600-$13,200. Jasper52 image


One of the earliest and finest U.S. coins in the sale is a rare 1799 13-Star Bust dollar graded PCGS F12, which is expected to sell for $5,300-$10,600.

Rare 1799 Bust Dollar PCGS F12. Estimate: $5,300-$10,600. Jasper52 image


On the flip side (see what we did there?), well-circulated example of the same 1799 silver dollar is estimated at $2,900-$5,700.

1799 13 Star Draped Bust dollar. Estimate: $2,900-$5,700. Jasper52 image


A rare oddity in this collection is a 1955 Double Die Lincoln Cent, which is expected to sell for $3,500-$7,000. The die is the device that imprints an image on blank coins, and a double die coin is one that was struck by a die that was accidentally engraved with a double image.

1955 Double Die Lincoln Cent, rare. Estimate: $3,500-$7,000. Jasper52 image


Gold coins in this sale include a 1910-D $10 U.S. Indian Head gold piece, and an 1856 $3 U.S. Princess gold piece.

RIGHT: 1910-D $10 U.S. Indian Head gold coin. Estimate: $2,100-$4,100. Jasper52 image
LEFT: 1856-S $3 U.S. Princess gold coin. Estimate: $1,700-$3,300. Jasper52 image


The entire collection of coins consists of 125 lots. Click here to view the full collection and register to bid in this exciting auction.

Old World Christianity Depicted in Icons

Arising from the European Orthodox Church are icons that carry a rich history and intricate religious symbolism. The handcrafted images depict Gospel scenes and remain faithful to the stories of Virgin Mary and Christ. This week’s collection features more than 100 beautiful antique Russian icons. Here are a few standouts:

One of the earliest works in the collection is a 17th century icon of Christ Immanuel from northern Russia. The tempera painting on wooden board measures 13 by 10.4 inches.

Christ Immanuel icon, 17th century, northern Russia, tempera on wooden board. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000. Jasper52 image


Also from northern Russia is a large church icon of Moses, a rare subject. This full view of the prophet holding the Ten Commandments is over 29 inches by 14 inches.

Rare church icon of Moses, northern Russia, 17th century, tempera on wooden board. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000. Jasper52 image


Embossing and engraving enhances a brilliant 19th century icon titled The Old Trinity. The tempera on board icon measures over 20 inches by 17 inches.

‘The Old Trinity’ large Russian icon, 19th century, tempera on wooden board. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000. Jasper52 image


A 19th century Kovcheg-style icon from central Russia depicts the Resurrection of Christ. Done in egg tempera and gesso on wood, the icon is reinforced with two splints on the back.

Icon of the Resurrection, Kovcheg, central Russia, 19th century, egg tempera and gesso on wood. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000. Jasper52 image


An early 20th century icon consists of four parts on the wood board: Intercession of Mother of God, Our Lady of the Sign, St. Nickolas and Our Lady “Sooth My Sorrow.”

Russian icon in four parts: Intercession of Mother of God, Our Lady of the Sign, St. Nickolas, Our Lady ‘Sooth My Sorrow.’ Wood and egg tempera, early 20th century, 18in x 20in. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Jasper52 image


The Virgin Iverskaya and Child appear on a signed silver enamel oklad icon made in Moscow, circa 1908-1917.

Virgin Iverskaya icon, silver enamel oklad, maker’s mark ‘GD’ in Cyrillic, Moscow 1908-1917. Estimate: $5,000-$7,000. Jasper52 image


Also included in this week’s Religious Icons auction are bronze and iron crosses depicting the Crucifixion as well as books and printed auction catalogs devoted to Russian religious icons. View the full catalog and bid right here.

Handcrafted Advertising Signs Now Attracting Collectors

Look carefully at any real-photo postcard of Main Street in an American town of the early 20th century and chances are you will see a number of hand-painted signs. These signs were hand-lettered by sign painters, now a near-obsolete occupation in an age of computerized graphics.

Collectors are drawn to the folky look of signs made with brush and paint, which stand out amid modern cookie-cutter signage of today. There has been a renewed interest in recent years in the visually captivating craft of sign painting.

A high illiteracy rate was the main reason early trade signs were formed as figural representations of the product or service the vendor provided. A butcher might display the carved-wood head of a bull. A dentist would hang a larger-than-life molar, complete with roots. A giant pocket watch represented a jeweler or clockmaker. Of all the figural trade signs of the 19th century, the most valuable is the iconic cigar store Indian, which stood at the entrance to the town tobacconist’s establishment.

Primitive boot maker’s sign, circa 1870s, wood with metal trim reinforcement, 36 x x 23in, stenciled name ‘J.E. Breeze.’ Brian Lebel’s Old West Events image


By the turn of the 20th century, most Americans could read, so accordingly, commercial signs incorporated text in eye-catching lettering. Sign painters were in high demand, whether to create a sign for display in a store window or a large advertisement to be painted, and viewed, high on the side of a building.

While the latter has often been covered up by development or faded into what some call a “ghost sign,” smaller hand-painted signs advertising goods and services do appear on the secondary market and are appreciated for their folk-art qualities.

The simplest are single boards, usually having an attached wooden frame, that have painted text on a contrasting background color. The expression “to hang out your shingle,” in the sense of starting your own business, may have originated with such a sign.

Nineteenth-century wooden trade sign, ‘O.B. Richards, M. D., Office,’ artist-signed ‘ALLEN,’ 12 x 23in. Copake Auction Inc. image


Signs to be placed out and over a store’s entrance or posted on a roadside were double-sided so they could be seen by passersby from two directions. It’s common to find that such signs are more weathered and faded on one side than the other, due to greater exposure to the sun and prevailing elements.

‘Tourists’ sign, probably intended for travelers seeking lodging, painted on both sides with red wood frame, early 20th century, 28 x 14 in. MB Abram Galleries


Signs posted in rural locales often have arrows directing motorists off the highway onto a side road to the desired location.

‘Sunset Farm Milk,’ painted wood, 1930s, 15.5in x 40.5in. Jasper52 image


Figural signs did not disappear entirely as the literacy rate increased; instead, they transitioned to include hand-painted lettering. Like weather vanes of the late 1800s, many signs simply became flat rather than three dimensional.

Folk art hollow body trade sign, double-sided fish with painted lettering ‘Fishing Tackle and Ammunition,’ 44-1/2in long. Conestoga Auction Co.


For added visual appeal, many sign painters depicted the product being sold by the vendor, such as fruits and vegetables.

Double-sided farm stand sign, on plywood, 24 inches square, circa 1930. Jasper52 image


Reverse-painting on glass gave a sign a formal look and preserved the lettering from wear, since it was often protected by a frame.

Early 1900s reverse-painted sign, 18 x 37 1/2in. Copake Auction Inc. image


Expect to find usual wear, weathering and fading on signs that were used outdoors. Avoid the temptation to repaint or even touch-up old paint. It is better to leave a vintage sign in “as found” condition, which speaks to its character.

Vintage painted wooden antiques trade sign having applied carved letters on long rectangular reserve, old painted surface, now weathered, mid-20th century. 20 1/4 x 89in. Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates image

For a fascinating look into the world of antique signs and advertising turn to the Picker’s Pocket Guide: Signs by Eric Bradley (2014: Krause Publications, 800-258-0929).

For more handcrafted antique signs, take a look at our weekly Americana and Folk Art auctions.


7 Man Ray Images That Dazzle

Seven works by American artist Man Ray highlight this week’s photogravure auction, which boasts some of the most revered names in photography alongside Man Ray. (Want a quick briefer on photogravure? Check this post out about the intaglio printmaking process and influential artists.) 

Man Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky; Aug. 27, 1890 – Nov. 18, 1976) was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements. His photogravure titled Multiple Exposure, 1934, demonstrates his ties to the latter movement.

Man Ray, ‘Multiple Exposure,’ 1934 sheet-fed gravure printed by Neogravure Co., France. Estimate: $350-$450. Jasper52 image


Ray spend most of his life in France and all but one of his photogravures in the auction were printed by the Neogravure Co., France.

Man Ray, ‘Interior With Painting,’ 1934, sheet-fed gravure printed by Neogravure Co., France. Estimate: $350-$450. Jasper52 image


One of the Man Ray gravures features solarization, a photographic technique he reinvented. Solarization is a phenomenon in photography in which the image recorded on a negative or on a photographic print is wholly or partially reversed in tone.

Man Ray, ‘Solarized Woman,’ cropped, small vintage gravure printed by editions Mana – Paris in 1937. Estimate: $240-$280. Jasper52 image


Some other Ray images in this collection feature an uncommon exterior composition. See below for two such examples where we step into the outdoors.

Man Ray, ‘Trees,’ 1934 sheet-fed gravure printed by Neogravure Co., France. Estimate: $350-$450. Jasper52 image


Man Ray, ‘Rock Formation,’ 1934 sheet-fed gravure printed by Neogravure Co., France. Estimate: $350-$450. Jasper52 image


The final two of the collection of Man Ray images show off the beauty of the human figure.

Man Ray, ‘Neck,’ 1934 sheet-fed gravure printed by Neogravure Co., France. Estimate: $350-$450. Jasper52 image


Man Ray, ‘Shadow Nude,’ 1934 sheet-fed gravure printed by Neogravure Co., France. Estimate: $350-$450. Jasper52 image


Want to see more of this fantastic collection? Click here to view and bid on more works from artists like Margaret Bourke-White and Laure Albin Guillot.

A Book Collection Spanning 500 Years

Great books from the early era of moveable type up to the 20th century are featured in this week’s Book & Ephemera auction ending on Sunday, February 19th. Topics in this eclectic collection range from the history of Queen Elizabeth’s England to mid-century modern furniture.

Perhaps the most colorful volume in the collection is titled Documenti d’arte d’oggi, an experimental magazine of M.A.C. (Concrete Art Movement). Offered in the auction is the last of four issues, published in Milan, Italy in 1958. The 152-page volume contains multiple serigraphs, lithographs, woodcuts, collages of several artists linked to the Concrete Art Movement, as well as an intact pop-up sculpture by Bruno Munari (1907-1998). The original hardcover is a color lithograph by Gianni Monnet (1912-1958). This scarce publication is estimated to generate international interest and sell for $4,000-$5,000.

‘Documenti d’arte d’oggi,’ magazine, first and only edition, published by MAC 1958, New York, George Wittenborn, 152pp. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000. Jasper52 image


Fans of mid-century modern furniture will delight in a near fine copy of Knoll Design by Eric Larrabee & Massimo Vignelli (1981: Harry N. Abrams). The large square quarto volume retains its dust jacket, which is also rated near fine. The book’s 307 pages are profusely illustrated in color and black and white. It carries a $300-$400 estimate.

‘Knoll Design’ by Eric Larrabee and Massimo Vignelli, first printing, Harry N. Abrams, New York 1981, large square qurto, 3078pp, profusely illustrated in color and black & white. Estimate: $300-$500. Jasper52 image


Elbert Hubbard, an influential exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement, signed and numbered the book titled The Deserted Village, which was published by his Roycrofters in East Aurora, NY in 1989. The book offered in the auction is number 16 of 470 signed by Hubbard; only the first 40 copies of this limited edition were illuminated with extra original watercolor drawings by artist Minnie Gardner. No one knows how many of the original 40 yet exist, but they are considered scarce. This 56-page book is estimated at $400-$500.

‘The Deserted Village,’ by Oliver Goldsmith and illustrated by Minnie Gardner, No. 16 of 470, signed by Elbert Hubbard and Gardner, Roycroft, East Aurora, New York, 1898, 56pp. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image


From the same era and equally scarce is a first edition of George Bird Grinnell’s The Indians of Today (1900: Herbert S. Stone & Co. Chicago and New York). The 185-page book contains portraits of notable Native americans by photographer F.A. Rinehart. This important work is estimated at $900-$1,000.

‘The Indians of Today’ by George Bird Grinnell, photographs by F.A. Rinehart, first edition, Herbert S. Stone & Co., Chicago & New York, 1900. Estimate: $900-$1,000. Jasper52 image


Jurists will be interested in the first edition of Reports of Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Courts of Pennsylvania, Before and Since the Revolution by A.J. Dallas, published in 1790 by T. Bradford in Philadelphia. The 494-page volume, which shows wear, has a $400-$500 estimate.

‘Reports of Cases Ruled and Adjudged in the Courts of Pennsylvania, Before and since the Revolution.’ By A.J. Dallas, first edition, T. Bradford, Philadelphia, 1790, 494pp. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image


In amazing condition for its age is a book published in London in 1569 on the history of England up to the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Like most surviving copies, this extremely scarce book is not perfect; missing the title page through page 12 (estimated at $4,000-$5,000).

‘A Chronicle at Large, and Meere History of the Affayres of Englande … ’ by Richard Grafton, London, 1569, full leather cover. Estimate: $4,000-$5,000. Jasper52 image


Also worthy of note is a first edition (second state) of The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson by James Boswell, published in London in 1785. Bound in full calf – quite possibly the original binding – it is in overall good condition and expected to sell for $500-$600.

There’s something for everyone in this collection – view the fully illustrated catalog of book and ephemera here.

How Youth Literature Became Big Business

The Many Pens Behind Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and Other Youth Fiction Heroes

Juvenile literature is big business. Of the top 10 most successful authors of all time – both in terms of books sold and total revenue generated – three wrote for young audiences. Those titans of youth fiction include Britain’s Enid Blyton, illustrator/cartoonist-turned-writer Dr. Seuss, and, of course, Harry Potter mastermind J.K. Rowling, whose book sales surpass all but those of William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and a few other long-established authors, including Barbara Cartland, Danielle Steele and Harold Robbins.

Today, the names of successful writers of youth-oriented literature – Stephenie Meyer, Veronica Roth, etc. – are virtual “brands” of their own and known the world over. But there was a time when book publishers owned the authors’ invented names and used salaried, in-house ghostwriters to pen the riveting tales of young but confident characters like Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and the earliest protagonists of the late-19th/early 20th-century adolescent-fiction genre: the Rover Boys. The writers were interchangeable, but the tone of each series remained remarkably consistent throughout.

1903 photo portrait of Edward Stratemeyer from the Stratemeyer Syndicate records, Manuscripts and Archives Division. Public domain image

The first book packager to aim its books at children rather than adults was the Stratemeyer Syndicate, founded by New Jersey publisher Edward Stratemeyer. A national survey conducted in 1922 revealed that, by far, most books read at leisure by American children were titles produced by Stratemeyer.

What made Stratemeyer’s books different was their focus on entertainment, as opposed to moral instruction. Children could tap into their imaginations and mentally immerse themselves into the adventures of sci-fi savant Tom Swift or boarding school sleuths the Dana Girls, or for the very young, the Bobbsey Twins.



Scan of the cover of the original 1910 book Tom Swift and His Motorcycle, 1910, from a series ghostwritten by numerous Stratemeyer Syndicate in-house writers using the pen name Victor Appleton. Public domain image

No fewer than 15 ghostwriters produced the hugely successful Nancy Drew books under the pen name “Carolyn Keene,” although Mildred Wirt (later Mildred Wirt Benson) is credited as having been the principal writer. The writers initially were paid $125 for each book and were required by their contract to relinquish all rights to their work and to maintain confidentiality. That’s a far cry from, say, J.K. Rowling’s lucrative deals, which have led to her astounding net worth of an estimated $750 million.

15 Nancy Drew titles actually used in the filming of the opening sequence of the movie ‘Nancy Drew: Mystery in the Hollywood Hills.’ Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and PBA Galleries

The Stratemeyer series of books about teenage detective Nancy Drew began in 1930 with The Secret of the Old Clock. It was followed with a new book release every year for the next 26 years. A joint publishing venture between Stratemeyer and Grosset & Dunlap added 21 more titles from 1959 through 1979, followed by the last 22 books of the series, which were issued as a Stratemeyer/Simon & Schuster collaboration, from 1979 through 1985.

‘The Secret of the Old Clock,’ Nancy Drew mystery originally published in 1930. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Gray’s Auctioneers

A cultural icon, Nancy Drew is cited as a formative influence by a number of successful women, from Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Sonia Sotomayor to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush. Feminist literary critics have analyzed the character’s enduring appeal, arguing variously that Nancy Drew is a mythic hero, an expression of wish fulfillment, or an embodiment of contradictory ideas about femininity.

‘The Secret of the Golden Pavilion,’ Nancy Drew mystery originally published in 1959. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and PBA Galleries

Where Nancy Drew appealed mostly to girls, amateur detectives Frank and Joe Hardy – the Hardy Boys – attracted a mostly male readership. Like the Nancy Drew books, which all carried the Carolyn Keene byline, the Hardy Boys titles were created by a number of different ghostwriters who used the pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon. Nineteen of the first 25 Hardy Boys books were the work of Canadian journalist Leslie McFarlane. The series enjoyed a long original-print run lasting from 1927 through 2005. Worldwide, more than 70 million copies of Hardy Boys books have been sold, and the first title of the series, The Tower Treasure, still sells over 100,000 copies per year worldwide.

‘The Disappearing Floor,’ first edition Hardy Boys mystery published in 1940. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Heritage Auctions

Both Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys have reappeared in other forms of entertainment, including feature films, TV shows, board games, and video games. But to collectors, the most imaginative way to experience their teen heroes’ adventures is still through a book from the original series, especially with the colorful dust jacket still intact.

7 Luxury Watches To Dazzle Your Wrist

This week’s collection of luxury watches and timepieces is absolutely stunning. From Patek Philippe to TAG Heuer to Rolex, the major watch brands are all featured in this auction. Here are seven of the standout stunners.

The auction begins with a rare Patek Philippe Calatrava stainless steel wristwatch. The Calatrava line, launched in 1932, is considered the flagship model of Patek Philippe.

Rare Patek Philippe Calatrava stainless steel watch, hand-wind mechanical movement. Estimate: $30,000-$40,000. Jasper52 image


The sale concludes with lot 120, a newly serviced Rolex men’s Submariner in excellent condition. This stunning watch features a Perpetual Date, self-winding movement and a brilliant blue insert bezel. Great news: this is only one of nearly two dozen Rolex watches included in the auction.

Rolex men’s Submariner, perpetual self-winding movement, excellent condition. Estimate: $14,000-$16,000. Jasper52 image


Equally as bold is a TAG Heuer Formula 1 automatic chronograph, Model CAU2011.BA0873, having a quartz movement. TAG Heuer watches were the first tailored for professional race car drivers.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 Automatic Chronograph. Estimate: $3,000-$4,000. Jasper52 image


With elegant diamond markers, this Hamilton 14K yellow gold and diamond watch is one to be bookmarked.

Hamilton 14K Yellow Gold Diamond Watch. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000


A classic dress wristwatch is the vintage 14K yellow gold Movado watch. It features day, date and month and hand-wind mechanical movement.

Vintage Movado 14K gold Triple Date series, hand-wind mechanical movement, 34mm case size. Estimate: $3,000-$4,000. Jasper52 image


Not to be forgotten are the women’s watches! This 1930s Hamilton platinum model adorned with diamonds is absolutely beautiful.

Hamilton platinum and diamond women’s watch, 1930s, invisibly channel set baguette and round brilliant diamonds.4.25 ctw. Estimate: $7,500-$10,000. Jasper52 image


Less ostentations but no less stylish is the Corum Gr. 5 Ingot series gold watch. Montes Corum Sarl, commonly referred to as Corum, is a Swiss watchmaker based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Canton of Neuchatel. Founded in 1955, it makes high-quality and high-price watches, many of which are limited editions.

Women’s Corum Gr. 5 Ingot series 18K gold watch with diamond crown. Estimate: $2,500-$3,000. Jasper52 image


How to Care for Your Fine Watches and Timepieces

As Mick Jagger emoted in a 1964 Rolling Stones tune, “Time is on my side, yes it is.” Anyone with even a passing interest in fine watches can attest not only to the importance of time, but also the instruments that keep track of the minutes and hours with unfailing precision.

As with most things that are functional, especially scientific or technological items, careful use and proper maintenance are often at the center of longevity and quality of service.

The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWCI) offers these basic guidelines to follow in caring for timepieces, which Jordan shared with us:

  • Wind completely once a day, making sure the winding action does not result in the crown reaching the point of being taut.
  • Wear the watch regularly, not only because it gives you the opportunity to enjoy a timepiece in which you have invested, but also because a constant temperature is conducive to accurate timekeeping.

Consistency of temperature leads to one of the first things the AWCI warns watch owners about:

  • Avoid exposing watches to extreme temperatures. This kind of shift in temperatures can compromise the timekeeping device.
  • Make sure watches are not placed within close proximity to perfumes, powders, or chemicals.
  • Don’t let more than five years pass before taking watches to a certified watchmaker (many of whom can be found through the AWCI directory) for maintenance. Just like with an automobile, maintenance is a mainstay in preventing costly negative impact.

Men’s stainless steel, quick set, diamond dial with a diamond and sapphire bezel. Entered in Jasper 52 auction Feb. 12, 2017. Estimate: $9,000-$11,000. Jasper52 image

To learn more about the care of wristwatches, we reached out to Jordan Ficklin, who serves as executive director of the AWCI.

Jasper52: The AWCI recommends tune-ups for timepieces. What is involved in a tune-up of a watch and what is the cost someone could expect to pay for a tune-up?

Jordan Ficklin: Fine timepieces are machines. They have components that can wear out. They require a clean, dry environment with proper lubrication. In order to ensure proper functioning, they need periodic maintenance. For modern mechanical wristwatches, the recommended service interval varies by manufacturer; but typically ranges between three and seven years. During a routine service, the watch is completely disassembled. The case is refurbished, and the gaskets are replaced to ensure continued protection of the movement. The movement (works) of the watch is also disassembled. Each component is checked for damage, cleaned, and reinstalled with fresh lubrication. It is a very delicate and time-consuming process. Prices can vary greatly based on many factors. For a Rolex, you could expect to pay between $500 and $1,000 for a service.

What advice would you offer regarding replacement of batteries?

Replacing batteries is not difficult, but even inexpensive quartz watches are quite fragile. Simply touching the wrong part of the watch can cause permanent damage. It is best to have a trained professional replace the battery in your watch. At the same time they change the battery they should also check and/or replace gaskets and test the water resistance of the watch.

Vermeil ivory dial tank watch, Cartier, circa 1980s. Entered in Jasper52 auction Feb. 12, 2017. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000. Jasper52 image

Since there isn’t a regulatory body for watchmakers, what are some of the considerations when selecting a professional to service a fine timepiece?

You can ask your watchmaker where he learned the art. Thirty years ago there were many watchmaking schools, but today there are fewer than a dozen operating in the United States. Being self-taught or not having apprenticed under a master doesn’t disqualify a potential watchmaker, but you will certainly want to learn more about their skill set.

More important than training or certification is the attitude of your watchmaker toward the profession. If you are able, you should take the time to meet the watchmaker. Don’t take up too much of his/her time, because they are busy – if they aren’t, they’re probably not the best in town. Find out how the watchmaker feels about the job, their attitude toward spare parts, tools, and continuing education. If you want a good watchmaker, you need one who loves what they do.

Insider Tip: Specific brands of watches require special tools to adjust timing, test for water resistance, and open the case back.

Can any watch problem be fixed, such as not keeping time accurately?

Watchmakers aren’t miracle workers. Your grandmother’s Bulova watch that was unadjusted when it left the factory will not keep perfect time unless your watchmaker adjusts it. This requires a lot of work and the watch probably isn’t worth it. But if your watch is a chronometer, you should expect it to keep time within its set specifications. Ask your watchmaker what their expectations are for the timekeeping of your watch and make sure they match your expectations. If your expectations are in line with the factory specifications, there should be no problem. If your expectations are higher than the factory specifications, a good watchmaker might charge you more for the necessary time to make the watch meet your expectations. Or, they may tell you that your expectations are out of line.

Ladies 18K white gold watch, Elgin, 1921. Entered in Jasper52 auction Feb. 12, 2017. Estimate: $550-$800

Watch repair can get expensive. Why is that?

Watchmaking is very labor-intensive and detailed work. You should expect to pay a good price for it. Remember, a watchmaker probably can’t do more than two complete watch services in a day. In terms of a warranty, the major brand service centers are now offering a two-year warranty on their repair work. Your watchmaker should match that warranty. For other watches you should expect six months to a year.

If you were to explain what it is about horology that you find so appealing, what would you say?

From the time I first was exposed to mechanical timepieces I was in love with the artistry and engineering. Starting with the ticking of the timepiece and then the regular motion of the gears, they are beautiful to watch. Trying to figure out how they work and troubleshooting problems adds to my enjoyment. I have found watchmaking to be an extremely rewarding career. I can start my day with a cherished but broken timepiece on my bench, and by the end of the day I have restored it to its former glory. When I return it to the customer, they are overjoyed to have it back in their life.

Jordan Ficklin is the executive director of the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute. He began his watchmaking journey in 2001, working at an independently owned jewelry store in Tucson, Arizona. He attended the Lititz Watch Technicum from 2004-2006 where he graduated with a WOSTEP Diploma and AWCI CW21. From 2006-2013 he worked as a watchmaker in a retail jewelry store in Albuquerque, N.M., and served on various committees at the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute. In 2013, he was hired as the executive director of AWCI, where he now works full time promoting the professions of watchmaking and clockmaking.



6 Extraordinary Pieces of Elevated Folk Art

There’s nothing like finding a unique treasure at the antique fair or flea market. And this weekend’s Americana & Folk Art auction will give you that thrilling feeling over and over. Handcrafted tramp art boxes, bird decoys, outsider art sculptures and wooden game boards are just a few of the historical treasures in this sale. And some of the most impressive works of the collection are the figural weather vanes that top the list of prized items and are elevated to folk art status.

A 19th century weather vane in the form of a full-body eagle, having a wingspan of 29 inches and standing 48 inches high caps off this auction.

Eagle weather vane with original directional mounted on a large painted pedestal, found in New England, copper body, 19th century. Estimate: $2,250-$7,450


Running into the wind is a late 19th century horse weather vane with an original milk glass ball attached. It displays on a custom-made cast-iron stand.

Painted copper and iron weather vane, circa: 1880-1895. Estimate: $1,195-$2,450. Jasper52 image


At 35 inches in length, the date “1896” is visible on a banner-style weather vane, even when mounted on a rooftop. The surface of the copper vane has rich verdigris.

Copper banner weather vane, circa 1896. Estimate: $1,200-$1,600. Jasper52 image


A unique example of 20th century outsider art in this auction is a pair of sandstone carvings depicting an Indian maiden and chief. Ohioan Ernest “Popeye” Reed (1919-1985) was widely known for his stone carvings. A carpenter and cabinetmaker by trade, Reed started selling his carvings to tourists by the roadside in the 1960s.

‘Popeye’ Reed (Ohio, 1919-1985) carved sandstone Indian chief and maiden. Estimate: $1,200-$1,500. Jasper52 image


Several painted game boards are included in the sale, including a double-sided example for playing Chinese checkers and conventional checkers. This handmade board dates to the late 1800s and has an undisturbed finish.

Painted wood game board, double-sided, 1880-1900. Estimate: $895-$1,650. Jasper52 image


A life-size carving of a curlew shore bird from the 1940s is one of several decoys in the auction.

Curlew shore bird carving, cork body, 1940s. Estimate: $1,000-$1,200. Jasper52 image


View the full catalog and find your treasure in this week’s Americana and Folk Art auction.

Explore The World Through These Antique Maps

World travelers can explore both land and sea with a collection of antique maps in this week’s auction. Unlike current maps, these original engravings trace borders as they were being charted.

The 1630 Hondius/Mercator map of Japan and Korea, as an example, shows the latter as an island, but a notation by the cartographers acknowledges the uncertainty whether Corea (Korea) is an island or a peninsula. This map is richly ornamented with two strapwork cartouches, one European (Dutch galleon) and one Japanese junk-style ship, and a sea monster.

1630 Hondius/Mercator Map of Japan and Korea, ‘Iaponia,’ hand colored. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000. Jasper52 image


Jumping ahead 250 years, we have a map of Tokyo in the form of a Japanese woodblock print. This elaborate map of the city has an insert of the port of Yokohama. As was the style of many Japanese city maps, the text radiates from the center of the map, which in this case is the Imperial Palace of Tokyo. Surrounding the map are 20 engraved views of various places around the city.

Japanese woodblock print, map of Tokyo with an insert of Yokohama, 1888. Estimate: $750-$1,000. Jasper52 image


Sailing south, we encounter Henri Jacques Chatelain’s 1791 map of Southeast Asia. Published in Amsterdam, this fine map features the region of Southeast Asia and includes Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Malay Peninsula and the Gulf of Bengalin to the north, to Java and Sumatra in the south. The map is centered on Malacca and Borneo. Chatelain depicts even small islands, sea routes, shoals, and other places which might threaten the safety of voyagers at sea.

Map of Southeast Asia by Henri Jacques Chatelain, Amsterdam, published 1719. Estimate: $750-$1,000. Jasper52 image


More treacherous water is charted in Gerard Mercator’s 1613 map of the Strait of Magellan, which separates mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the South. This map bears a souther projection with North pointing toward the bottom of the map. Not only is this the first map of the Strait of Magellan to appear in a commercial atlas, it is one of a few sea charts produced by Mercator. For over 100 years, the Strait of Magellan was believed to be the only sure way to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The title cartouche is that of early Baroque style and is flanked by two penguins.

Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego, 1613, published in ‘Atlas sive Cosmographicae Meditationes … ’ by Gerard Mercator, Amsterdam. Estimate: $1,000-$1,500. Jasper52 image


Christopher Columbus would have found R. & J. Ottens’ map of Cuba, Hispaniola, and Florida helpful. The original copperplate engraving was published sometime between 1725 and 1750. The map has insets of St. Augustine, Havana, and Santo Domingo. Ahoy, pirates and treasure hunters: the map includes routes of the Spanish galleons.

Cuba, Hispaniola and Florida, 1725-1750, an original copperplate engraving published by R. & J. Ottens. Estimate: $3,000-$4,000. Jasper 52 image


For those inclined to be politically correct, we have Thomas Kitchen’s 1749 A Correct Map of Europe, a four-sheet political map that divides the continent into its empires and kingdoms.

A sheet of ‘A Correct Map of Europe,’ four-part political map of the continent, Thomas Kitchen, London, 1749. Estimate: $600-$800. Jasper52 image


Not only will these maps serve as decorative pieces, but they also will reveal innumerable ways to view the world. Click here to explore the entire catalog.