Asplund auction


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Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hi All,

As you all have seen, the pocket watch sold for some £31,000. I Googled and found this article online at the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, which I link below, to be of great interest with regard to the pocket watch. You can read the whole thing online so I'll be brief.

Asplund Auction Article in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette

The article, from April 19, 2008, states that Ms. Asplund's belongings were examined in 2006 (possibly when Ms. Asplund was still alive) by James. F. Callahan of the well established auction house Skinner Inc. of Boston. Mr. Callahan has over 25 years of experience and "placed a fair market value of her entire estate, not including the house, at $3,012."

The watch was valued at $30 "by Mr. Callahan, who described it as an "American gold-plated watch, very poor condition." Further, the article states that "...there is no provenance – documented history – on the watch, Mr. Callahan said it was valued simply as an antique watch."

The entire estate (sans house) was valued by Skinner at $3,012. The pre-auction estimates of the value of the items by both Skinner and the auction house that eventually sold the items were both way off, but that is much less interesting than the appraisal of the watch by Skinner as lacking any provenance. The family would have little reason to provide less documentation to one auction house than the other. With the auction house that sold the items and the renowned Skinner of Boston giving such different appraisals it becomes difficult to know who to place trust in. Provenace either exists or it does not. It can not exist by association.

What do you guys make of this article in the Gazette?

Best,
Eric
 

Marko LULIC

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Oct 28, 2006
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Hi Eric,

Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2008 - 7:44 pm:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hello Mr.Longo,

I would like to have especially your
opinion and comments about this artwork.

You can remember this post, I hope.
With your assistance I made a beautiful paintings.

Today
I would like to have especially your
opinion and comments about this relic.

Pls. be strong, I am very interested in your
opinion about this.
Thank you in advance.

Mark.
124881.jpg

http://www.bonhams.com/cgi-bin/public.sh/pubweb/publicSite.r?sContinent=EUR&screen=lotdetailsNoFlash&iSaleItemNo=3204771&iSaleNo=13438
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Hiya Mike,

Yes, I know. But both auction houses and respective "appraisers" obviously have expertise in several areas. I am wondering about the provenance issue raised by the article itself.

Best,
Eric
 
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Timothy Trower

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"As you all have seen, the pocket watch sold for some £31,000."

Well, I think somebody made a poor decision to purchase that item. Like the Blair key and tag, there were too many issues with this watch for me to have bid on it, let alone purchased it.

Both were sold by the same auction house. Both had information lacking in their description. If space in their sale catalogue is that big of an issue, then they need to expand the number of pages that they print.

Eric -- thanks for posting that link. The story was very interesting, and underscores the greed factor behind many of these auctions. Once again, a collection of items that pertain one to the other has been irrevocably split up, decreasing the value of all. What a pity.
 

Mike Poirier

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Dec 12, 1999
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Yes, that article is very revealing... I don't see anything wrong with buying from an auction house and making sure a Titanic item has a good home... Why- I think the Titanic launch menus from about 10 years ago got a good home as did the Ismay diary... Wouldn't you agree, Tim??? ;)

The Blair key... wasn't that on display with the Southampton museum before the auction? I don't recall the authors of Titanic Voices decrying the provenance...
 
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Timothy Trower

Guest
Each item in Lillian Asplund's collection had a tie with each of the others. They are now split up forever. How is this a good thing?

So many times, a collection of items together tell a contiguous story. That chance is now gone.

Regarding the Blair key, my issue was -- and is -- with the tag. That was an obvious fake, and should have been pointed out as such. Whether or not the authors of Titanic Voices had any questions about the tag is not the question; the question is whether they had the typographical background to know what was wrong with the tag. I do.
 

Philip Hind

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As I have indicated elsewhere, attempts to raise concerns may be of benefit to buyers, but it is also important that this does not work to the detriment of existing relationships within what is a small and sometimes volatile community.

I'm concerned that what is portrayed as an objective crusade is turning into a thinly veiled personal obsession. For that reason, for now, I think we need a break.
 
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