Asplund auction


May 31, 2007
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http://www.nypost.com/seven/04032008/news/worldnews/titanic_auction_104808.htm
TITANIC AUCTION
AP

April 3, 2008 -- LONDON - A collection of artifacts owned by a Titanic survivor - including a ticket for the ill-fated voyage - will be sold at an auction in London later this month.

[Moderator's Notes: 1. Edited to remove article, due to copyright issues. 2. Edited link, due to width requirements. JDT]

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Lot 319 : R.M.S TITANIC - LILLIAN ASPLUND COLLECTION: A GOLD
R.M.S TITANIC - LILLIAN ASPLUND COLLECTION: A GOLD PLATED WALTHAM AMERICAN POCKET WATCH, THE PROPERTY OF CARL ASPLUND. THE WATCH HAS SUFFERED OBVIOUS TRAUMA, THE MOVEMENT IS MISSING POSSIBLY LOST IN ITS RECOVERY. THE HANDS ARE FROZEN IN TIME AT 2.19a [...more]


Location: United Kingdom

Auction Date : 2008



Trying to locate place and time I found this too
http://www.invaluable.com,snip
 
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Dana Cantu

Guest
Wow, that'd be amazing to have that watch. Too bad I'm stuck in Texas. Thanks for posting the information! I'd like to see who walks away with it.
 
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Jeff Kelley

Guest
I am not sure how the movement would be lost in recovery. More likely someone tried to repair it, replace it, or pulled it to use in another watch.
 
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Dana Cantu

Guest
ohh that's a thought Jeff,
I didn't think about something like that. Aw that's too bad. Although, I've read in another book (I think it was the "I was there book" told through the eyes of Jack Thayer and Harold Bride, there was picture of a pocket watch with the hands broken from "obvious trama" not sure if this might be the same watch, but I've seen it.
 
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Jeff Kelley

Guest
The hands I would understand, but the link says (if I recall correctly) "movement", which is the inside mechanism. This would not just fall out.

Back in the pocket watch days, the case and movement were separate entities. You could buy them as one unit, of course, but you could also specify a certain case with a certain movement, and movements were also sold separately so they could be installed in your watch case.

If the Asplund watch is missing the movement, it had to have been removed (unless the watch case was literally ripped apart in the sinking, which is not likely). If the movement was still working, chances are it was removed to use in another watch, or if it was broken, it was likely removed for repair or replacement, but never replaced.

Quite frankly, I think think it is deceptive and/or irresponsible for the auction house to suggest that the movement could have been lost in the sinking or when the body was retrieved.
 

Mike Poirier

Member
Dec 31, 2004
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Hi Jeff,

Aldridge and Sons has been around for many years and has an excellent reputation. The rare Titanic relics they have sold have ended up in museums and very knowledgeable collectors. I would probably suggest looking at their various catalogues and the memorabilia they have sold. I think it is unfair to label their descriptions as deceptive.

Mike
 
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Timothy Trower

Guest
I dunno -- I seem to remember a bit of a question about a key tag last year.
 
Feb 4, 2007
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Denver, Colorado, United States
Seconded, Tim.
wink.gif
 

Mike Poirier

Member
Dec 31, 2004
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I suppose, it would depend on who is doing the questioning and if they have 100% positive proof. Sometimes, we can't go along with 'gut' instincts. Anyone can offer an opinion, of course. Some might question the veracity of even smaller items, like cane, wood and cork, but at the end of the day, it is just an opinion. Looking at the many catalogs and the years of a sterling reputation, I would still say, the odds were in Aldridge's favor.
 
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Jeff Kelley

Guest
"Hi Jeff,
Aldridge and Sons has been around for many years and has an excellent reputation. The rare Titanic relics they have sold have ended up in museums and very knowledgeable collectors. I would probably suggest looking at their various catalogues and the memorabilia they have sold. I think it is unfair to label their descriptions as deceptive.
Mike"

You are right - I do need to check out the actual auction listing, but I was basing my reaction on the article that was linked to the original post. If the article's author made up that scenario on his/her own, then they are the responsible party.

I stand by my original point, though, in that a pocket watch movement doesn't normally get lost or just drop out of the case short of some sort of catastrophic damage to the case.
 
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Jeff Kelley

Guest
Thanks for providing the wording.

(They could just as easily have said that it was "possibly removed by space aliens.")

As far as I am concerned, this sort of speculation is made for the purpose of trying to acceptably mitigate the fact that the item is not complete. The basic fact is, the movement is missing, and there are any number of scenarios that could be considered. To present only one scenario (which happens to be the one that adds to the romance and mystique of the item), is questionable in my opinion.

The watch is a very historic artifact as is, and does not need embellishing. I would like to see a picture of it, and if the "trauma" that is mentioned involves damage to a key area of the watch (the edge in a particular spot), then maybe the speculation is somewhat more reasonable, but it is still just speculation.

I am not calling the auction house a liar, but I personally do not endorse this kind of description. These things tend to evolve over time, and the next person to sell it may drop the "possibly" from the description.
 

Eric Longo

Member
Aug 13, 2004
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"The basic fact is, the movement is missing, and there are any number of scenarios that could be considered. To present only one scenario (which happens to be the one that adds to the romance and mystique of the item), is questionable in my opinion."

And it is, probably, the most unlikely scenario. Watch movements just don't fall out or go missing as you've already indicated. I find this wording unnecessary and unfortunate.

Best,
Eric
 

adam gratwick

Member
Oct 14, 2004
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I think Eric is quite right about the wording as the hands could't be present if all the movement was missing. The hands are attached to a center pinion which is fixed,along with a number of other cogs and pinions, between a front and back plate. The dial is also attached to the front plate so this must be present along with some other parts to stop the hands flopping about. It would be impossible for them to be rusted to the dial as it is enamel on a copper ground. Would it be safe to assume that the description should indicate that not all the movement,for some unexplained reason,is no longer present?

Regards

Adam
 
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Jeff Kelley

Guest
I didn’t want to raise the issue of the hands not even being (necessarily) in the “original” position, but you have done it for me. It would have been my expectation that the hands would have had to have been removed in order to remove the movement, which means they were somehow remounted at that particular time, presumably to signify when the ship sank, owner perished, etc.

It all seems to be a bit of staged drama, perhaps done 96 years ago as a memorial or remembrance, but intentionally staged just the same. (And none of which is inexplicably covered in the auction description).
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 31, 2004
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Now, I do not claim to be a professional horologist, and I am sure it is a fascinating subject for those here on the board that study it. However, the watches of that period are not made the way there today. I did talk to someone who knows about antique watches and he said it was quite easy for the bottom half of the watch to pop open. And that the upper half of the face was held in place more tightly, so that even if the bottom half opened, the hands would stay in place.

Now, when one says 'recovery', it could mean after the body was flung into the sea by a rapidly sinking ship and much later being pulled into a lifeboat and then being dropped on deck, the back loosened. Mr. Asplund was not a rich man and hence the watch may not have been the best quality and the back did pop off as my acquaintance told me.

Or perhaps, since Mrs. Asplund didn't received the effects till much later, maybe someone or recoverer who had charge of the effects tried to get the watch working again and failed.

But the scenario presented by Aldridge is not impossible.
 
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Jeff Kelley

Guest
I am not an expert on watches or watch repair, but my experience comes from countless hours playing with pocket watches of the era when I was young (my grandparents had an accumulation of pocket watches ranging from decent ones in gold cases to cheap ones in nickel plated brass cases, as well as some loose movements). I can only attest to the characteristics of those watches.

The part of the watch that “easily” springs open is the cover over the crystal/dial (if the watch had such a cover — not all did). The back of the watch was not meant to be opened routinely, except for watches which had two “backs” — one to expose an area that could be engraved, etc., and then another one to reach the movement itself. While the covers (front or back) that were meant to be easily accessed were usually held shut by means of a spring loaded catch or another type of catch, the inner cover that protected the mechanism usually had to be pried open.

(I am also skeptical on the hands issue — it seems to me that they were ultimately attached to the movement - not the watch face - as they moved with the movement. I will leave it to the experts to determine this, however, as it is just speculation on my part).

The key issue here, I suppose, is the definition of the word “recovery” as used in the auction listing. I had said all along that the movement was likely removed for repair or replacement, or perhaps was removed to use in another watch if it was still serviceable. If the definition is to be expanded to include just about any activity that occurred to the watch in the days or weeks following the sinking, then of course the auction listing is probably accurate.

However, it remains my belief that the auction description includes only one scenario (however improbable) and ignores far more likely explanations, and that this is done to heighten the romance or mystique associated with the watch; their comment about the reason for the missing movement is pure speculation, represents the least likely scenario, and is meant to increase the bid amounts.
 

Mike Poirier

Member
Dec 31, 2004
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Hi Jeff,

Well, you could be describing one version of the watch from that era. As you said, it was just from paying with a relatives watch that was from in and about that era. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps the auction house consulted the watch and clock makers society or a horologist before writing the description? I do not know if they did or didn't but it might be worth while contacting the source.
 

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