$131,450 Factor Diamond leads $1.75 million Heritage Jewelry and Timepieces auctions

May 10th, 2010 by

Rolex trio leads solid fine timepieces portion; American pocket watches show increased demand

DALLAS, TX – A stunningly beautiful 11.99 carat pear-shaped diamond and platinum ring, from the Dorothy & Sidney Factor Collection brought $131,450 – with all proceeds going to charity – to lead Heritage Auction Galleries’ May 3-4 Signature® Fine Jewelry and Fine Timepieces auctions. All prices include a 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.

“This amazing diamond is the crowning jewel of the Factor Family Collection,” said Jill Burgum, Director of Jewelry Auctions at Heritage, “and, as such, it’s no surprise that it would lead the auction. The family has always been amazing philanthropists, and with the donation of the proceeds to charity, this just further burnishes their already sterling reputation.”

The fine jewelry portion of the auction finished with a $1.045 million total, while the fine timepieces came in at just more than $750,000. More than 950 bidders competed for the assorted gems, jewelry and watches.

A rare 5.60 carat Lucida ™ diamond set in platinum from Tiffany & Co. added plenty of excitement to the proceedings as the final lot in the auction, selling for $101,575, while strong interest sparked a bidding war on a Diamond, Gold Necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels, which rocketed past its starting bid of $6,000, to hammer at $16,000.

“We had a fabulous turnout with an audience of floor bidders competing strong against both phone and Internet bidders,” said Burgum. “Along with the high gold market, it appears that the economy is improving and that helped achieve significant results.”

There was plenty of significant bidding action on the various fine timepiece offerings, with solid prices realized across the board. Of the watches performing particularly well, a trio of rare Rolex’s showed particular strength, bringing in almost $60,000 total, very respectable prices on today’s market.

“The trio of vintage Rolex sports models performed very well,” said Jim Wolf, Director of Fine Timepieces as Heritage. “The reference 1655 ‘Steve McQueen,’ the Ref. 1019 Milgauss and the Submariner Ref. 5512 were actively tracked by hundreds of collectors around the world and bidding was very spirited. They brought $19,718, $16,730 and $20,315, respectively.”

The American pocket watch market was bolstered by exceptional results as a rare Nashua Watch Co. watch brought $26,290 and a rare model 72 Waltham reached a record price of $14,340 after the gavel went down.

“I was very pleased with the attention these American pocket watches received,” said Wolf. “When truly rare American timepieces, like these beauties, are offered for sale the notice they bring is considerable, and the prices are commensurate.”

European watches were solid throughout the auction with the featured lots in particular drawing the eyes of collectors. A James Nardin, Locle, Extremely Fine Gold Minute Repeating Pocket Watch with Chronograph, Perpetual Calendar & Moon Phase, circa 1880s, rose to a $21,510 finish, while a Swiss Extremely Fine & Massive 18K Rose Gold Minute Repeating Watch With Chronograph, Perpetual Calendar And Moon Phases Made For Beyer, Zurich, circa 1896, found a new home with a $29,875 price tag and a Patek Philippe & Cie Rare & Very Fine Gold Trip Minute Repeater, Two Train Tandem Wind Pocket Watch, circa 1904, showed considerable strength as it finished as the top watch of the day with a $32,863 price realized.

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

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