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WHAT’S IT WORTH? EXTREME RARITY + HIGH HOPES OCCASIONALLY DISAPPOINT

Patek Philippe watch [Old Northeast Jewelers]

We’re not really disappointed, but this watch received so much publicity, we expected more.

We buy from dealers all across the United States. and a jeweler in Washington, D.C., called with an extraordinary Patek Philippe watch that was one of a kind. Her customer was a direct relative of the watch’s original owner. It was a special order by Elbert Farman when he was appointed by President Grant to be the ambassador to Egypt. Farman was very famous, and our research uncovered a treasure trove of information. (In particular, he arranged with the Egyptian government in 1877 to send Cleopatra’s needle — one of three ancient Egyptian obelisks in the world — to New York City. It has occupied a plum spot in Central Park since its installation in 1881. The other two obelisks reside in London and Paris.)

We purchased the watch for $45,000, speculating that it would bring big dollars. We sent it to Christie’s for an online auction and they gave it an estimate of $50,000 to $100,000. It was quickly picked up by the news media including GQ, Forbes, Esquire and several other publications. We were certain it would exceed the high estimate of $100,000.

After all that excitement, it brought a disappointing $65,200 at auction. The auction house took about $10,000 in fees, so we were thankful to make a profit of about 20 percent, and we felt someone got a heck of a bargain on this Patek. We, of course, expected to make much more (doesn’t everyone?).

If you have any vintage watches to sell, pay us a visit. We will treat you fairly. If you need an appointment in St. Petersburg or Tampa, give us a call or email JeffreyPHess@aol.com.

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