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  1. #1
    Watchkollektor
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value?

    I posted a reply under the Dueber topic, but actually, i would greatly appreciate any other members to comment on this:

    I'm trying to get a view on the value of this Hampden Watch Co. pocketwatch (see pics below).

    As you can see on the pics, it is old, but reasonably clean from Hampden's Canton, OH. factory, in solid 14k, serial #847322, 17jewels.









    Sorry for the lg pic size...haven't figured out how to size properly. THX

  2. #2
    Watchkollektor
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    I posted a reply under the Dueber topic, but actually, i would greatly appreciate any other members to comment on this:

    I'm trying to get a view on the value of this Hampden Watch Co. pocketwatch (see pics below).

    As you can see on the pics, it is old, but reasonably clean from Hampden's Canton, OH. factory, in solid 14k, serial #847322, 17jewels.









    Sorry for the lg pic size...haven't figured out how to size properly. THX

  3. #3
    Registered User Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    Hello, Watchkollektor.

    Unfortunately, we can't discuss values here... at least not directly. But we can discuss how things affect the value.

    You have what I call a "conversion dial". That is a dial that was fitted to a hunting case (HC) movement in order to make it suitable for use in an open face (OF) case. In a hunting case, you typically see the winding stem at the 3 o'clock pisition, and the seconds bit would be at the 6 o'clock position. With an OF watch the winding stem is at the 12 o'clock position, and the seconds bit is at the 6 o'clock position.

    When HC movements are mounted in OF cases, people refer to them as "sidewinders"... but most of us just think of them as improper recases. So some folks addressed this problem by creating conversion dials, such as yours, which put the winding stem at the 12 o'clock position, but have the seconds but at the 3 o'clock position.

    Yours is a nice dial and appears to be in very good condition. That will generally add to the value. The hands appear to be in good condition, but lead me to wonder whether they are Swiss replacements, as they appear painted... but that could be a trick of the light.

    The gold case appears to be in good condition overall. The extensive engraving on the back would reduce the value for some folks, and be neutral for others. The engraving was done very nicely, and I think it adds some eye appeal, personally. I see nice even wear on the case... certainly used, but not obviously abused.

    On the whole, I would say that most of the value of your watch is bound up in the case. To increase the value, I seriously recommend cleaning it... it's filthy and filth detracts from the value.

    - Greg

  4. #4
    Watchkollektor
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    Greg,

    that is extremely interesting and helpful. i really appreciate your sharing your wealth of knowledge. the watch has been sitting in a lockbox for perhaps 25 years, dad was given it by his uncle, so if the hands were replaced that would have been quite some time ago. I looked at them under a loupe and there is a blue coating which is largely worn off (see pic below, which still isn't that great).

    I also now understand that estimating values is something that is not encouraged here. Perhaps you can suggest where else i might go to begin to ballpark a fair value. Again, thank you very much. WK



  5. #5
    Registered User Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    Estimating values is more an art than a science. I use eBay as a good first source.

    - Greg

  6. #6

    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    Hello,

    FWIW, from this collectors point of view the neatest feature of your watch is the dial. Ones such as yours are by no means common, especially factory enamel ones. And the condition, albeit dirty, looks to be rather good. Period Hampden factory ads are known which show watches being sold with such conversion dials, so the odds are quite good that your movement/dial combo is original. But gold being what it is dominates the value picture, as Greg D. has already pointed out.

    As regards "sidewinders", contrary to popular belief there is plenty of evidence that some sidewinders are in their original cases (i. e. the case that the movement was originally sold in by the jeweler way back when in the 1870s or 1880s). But I digress.

  7. #7
    Watchkollektor
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    Greg & Greg,

    Thanks again to both of you for your comments on the HWC pocket watch shown above. After a bit of research (i used the Andale service which examines all prior transactions of similar watches on ebay), i found over 200 sales/auctions of Hampden watches. However, most were plated or filled and not solid gold. Therein lies a curious dilemma. If I look at the ebay transactions, I suspect it puts a value on my watch which may actually be less than the scrap value of its gold content. Judging by its weight, the scrap gold alone could be worth over $700. So, if I put the watch on EBAY, a collector might pay $500 for it, while some guy that just wants to throw it in the scrap bin might pay $600+

    I'd like to see this make its way into a collectors hands rather than the latter. Any thoughts on where to go with this (other than 'the bay'?)

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Registered User Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    No offense, Watchkollektor, but it appears you have overestimated the scrap value of the case quite significantly. You don't price 14K gold at boullion prices.

    - Greg

  9. #9

    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    I believe 14k is only 58.5% gold.

  10. #10
    Watchkollektor
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    Greg, here's how i calculated it, perhaps you can point out where i'm going wrong, thx!

    Total weight of the watch = 103g
    1KG = 2.2lbs = 35.2oz
    103g = 0.103 KG = 3.6256oz
    Case (excluding movt, dial, crystal) = 70g
    70g/103g X 3.6256oz = 2.464oz (14k gold)
    2.464oz x 14k/24k = 1.4373oz 24k gold equiv
    24K industrial bullion gold = $550/oz
    1.4373oz x $550 = $790.53

  11. #11
    Registered User doug sinclair's Avatar
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    Watchkollector,

    MINUS the fee the refiner charges when he purchases scrap gold!

  12. #12
    Registered User Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    Watchkollektor,

    First a question... you seem to be calculating the weight of the empty case. Have you actually weighed it empty?

    Anyway, like I was saying before, you can't just use the spot metal price for 24K bouillon as the reference point. Scrap metal prices are tied to spot metal prices, but the relationship isn't really 1-to-1. Scrappers tend to take a 10% to 20% bite out of the price.

    I checked and the best current spot price for 14K I found is $14.80 per pennyweight (dwt). Let's assume your 70g weight for the case is accurate.

    70g / 1.555174 = 45 dwt
    45 dwt x $14.80 = $666

    And that assumes your case is actually 14K. They made a point on that site to say that not all gold is correctly marked.

    Anyway, your point remains valid... collectors will not necessarily be interested in paying for cases based on inflated gold prices, so we should expect to see yet more of them get melted down.

    - Greg

  13. #13
    Watchkollektor
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    Greg,
    ok, thanks--very helpful. you have confirmed my biggest fear (ouch)...which is basically that the scrap value now exceeds the historical/ collectible value of many of these beautiful old timepieces. i am still interested in suggestions as to how to make sure these items get into the hands of collectors.

    thx, wk

  14. #14
    Registered User Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    The surest way I know is to know who you are selling it to, and know their reputation. One way to do that is to arrange a private sale to a well known collector. Another is to offer the item for sale in a venue open only to serious collectors.

    In either case, however, you may still face the problem that he collector is unwilling to pay inflated gold prices for the item. Part of the problem is that serious collectors usually have a long history of buying the objects they collect. They've seen prices spike and sag, and they have a good sense for what it is really worth on the average between the hilltops and the valleys, and they are often unwilling to pay much more than the median between the extremes. If you are looking to cash in on the high price of gold AND see that it ends up in the hands of a collector, you've got an even more difficult challenge.

    Anyway, perhaps now it is clear why I say that valuation is more an art than a science. You use formulae to find answers in science. With art you have to work on more subjective information, such as people's impressions.

    - Greg

  15. #15
    Watchkollektor
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    Default Hampden Watch Co. Circa 1894-95 Value? (RE: Watchkollektor)

    Good information intertwined with experience and wisdom... what more can I ask for. Thanks again--always a pleasure reading your insights.

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