Cowans News

Long Lost Faberge Brooch Made for Romanov Family Rediscovered

CINCINNATI Rolex watches and a Faberge presentation brooch are expected to highlight the Fine Jewelry and Timepieces auction to be held May 22 by Cowan's Auctions. However, the foundation of the sale is its diversity of high-quality items, from a wide selection of watches to a broad array of jewelry, including Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian examples, as well as more contemporary pieces.

The best of watches is an extremely rare Rolex Daytona Cosmograph ref. 6264 in stainless steel, circa 1970, having a silver dial with three black subdials. Estimated today at $50,000 to $75,000, it wasn't always such a popular timepiece.

Brad Wanstrath, Cowan's director of Fine Jewelry and Timepieces, noted the wristwatch was in production for only a year. At the time, it cost $210. The original price wasn't the issue. "It was bulky. People wanted thinner watches," he said. The piece is now highly regarded and expected to bring strong interest.

Seven Rolexes are in the auction. A Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day/Date President, circa 1978, Model 18038, in 18k yellow gold and having a diamond bezel, gold band, is expected to bring $15,000 to $20,000. A Rolex Cellini Cellinium 5240/6 in platinum, circa 2003, having a mother-of-pearl dial and a subseconds dial, black crocodile band with platinum buckle, is estimated at $6,000 to $9,000.

Other top wristwatches include a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Melibee in 18k white gold, having 114 diamonds that are part of a butterfly motif, the black crocodile band having an 18k white gold clasp, that is estimated at $8,000 to $12,000.

An 18k yellow gold Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 2541, circa 1958, is expected to bring $6,000 to $10,000, while a Patek Philippe 18k yellow gold anti-magnetic wristwatch ref. 3420, circa 1966, having a silver matte dial, is expected to bring $6,000 to $8,000. A Patek Philippe & Co. pocket watch in an 18k yellow gold hunter case, circa 1860, having a white porcelain dial, is estimated at $3,000 to $5,000.

From other makers, a Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Swing in 18k white gold with 36 diamonds is expected to realize $2,500 to $4,500; Art Deco 14k yellow gold Vacheron & Constantin, circa 1931, brown crocodile band, $1,500 to $2,500; Cartier Santos Panthere quartz model 1310 in stainless steel, off-white dial with date window, $1,500 to $2,500; Cartier Santos Galbee 1564 in stainless steel, off-white dial with date window, $1,000 to $1,500; and a Baume & Mercier Shogun in stainless steel, the 18k yellow gold bezel set with 48 diamonds, is expected to bring $600 to $900.

What are buyers looking for? "A hot area is Mid-Century," said Wanstrath. "A lot of watches from the '40s, '50s and '60s are catching fire. Young men are collecting. You don't have the 80-year-olds buying, you have the 30-year-olds, which is nice."

The best of the jewelry is a Faberge double-headed Imperial Eagle presentation brooch in 14k rose and green gold, circa 1905, estimated at $6,000 to $10,000. The white guilloche enamel background has a sunburst pattern, contrastingly nicely with a gold coat of arms having a central red ruby and 10 rose-cut diamonds. The outer border features eight square-cut blue sapphires alternating with gold laurel leaves. The piece is attributed to Henry Wigstrom, a Faberge workmaster.

"It's a historical piece and extremely rare," said Wanstrath. "It was designed for the Romanoff family in Russia. It was probably a presentation piece, something they would have given to a dignitary."

Other vintage jewelry includes Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian items. "The antique pieces are always good, anything that goes back more than a hundred years is guaranteed to sell," said Wanstrath.

A Georgian garnet and rose-cut diamond convertible brooch/pendant, having articulated sections with a removable top stone, a glass memorial window on the reverse, is estimated at $1,000 to $1,500. A large Victorian finely carved cameo cross in 18k yellow gold, featuring a black and white scene of angels and a robed woman floating on a cloud, having 20 diamonds, also capable of being worn as a brooch or a pendant, is expected to bring $800 to $1,200.

An 18k yellow gold brooch, circa 1850, signed R&M and with French hallmarks, is estimated at $1,000 to $2,000. It has twin circles featuring cabochon coral center stones with black enamel surrounds and an intricately carved and engraved floral pattern, as well as coral drops with three pearls and rope swags. Also circa 1850 is a tortoiseshell pique parure consisting of a brooch, drop earrings and two buttons, inlaid with silver and gold, which is expected to realize $1,000 to $1,500.

From the middle of the 20th century, a 14k yellow gold charm bracelet containing 26 charms from the 1940s to the 1960s, including an 1881 $5 gold charm, four 10k gold charms, two sterling silver charms, one base metal Balfour Dartmouth charm and eighteen 14k yellow gold charms. It is estimated at $800 to $1,200. A circa-1940 platinum bracelet having 158 single-cut and European-cut round diamonds, approximately 4 carats total weight, should bring $2,500 to $4,000.

Diamonds are always in demand. An 18k yellow and white gold ring from Jabel, featuring a round European-cut VS2, J-K color diamond weighing approximately 2.30 carats, is estimated at $6,000 to $10,000. A 2.09 carat round brilliant-cut diamond should realize $2,000 to $3,000. A pair of 14k white gold six-prong pierced earrings containing two VS1-2, I-J color round brilliant-cut diamonds, approximately 2.50 carats total weight, are expected to bring $4,000 to $6,000. A Scott Kay platinum knife-edge cathedral-style solitaire containing one VS1, G-H color round brilliant-cut diamond weighing approximately 1 carat, along with two .03-carat "surprise" diamonds at the base of the head, should sell for $3,000 to $5,000.

Further variety in the auction includes A Tiffany & Co. Positive/Negative necklace and earrings in 18k gold and mother-of-pearl, designed by Angela Cummings, circa 1980s, expected to sell for $4,500 to $7,500. Designed by Cummings for Steuben is a pair of 18 karat yellow gold and glass Spiral earrings, circa 1991, estimated at $800 to $1,200.

An 18k yellow gold and platinum brooch in the form of a flamingo standing in tall grass, containing 28 diamonds, approximately 1 carat total weight, step-cut fine green emeralds depicting the grass, marquise and round vibrant pink sapphires throughout the body, a red marquise ruby eye and black onyx beak, signed "W" and "12470," is estimated at $2,000 to $3,000.

A 14k yellow gold 7" heavy curb link bracelet from Pom, having six United States coins, including an 1853 $2.50 gold coin, a 1909 $5 gold coin, a 1911 $10 gold coin, a 1907 $10 gold coin, a 1905 $5 gold coin and a 1909 $2.50 gold coin, all the coins in removable reeded bezels, should bring $3,000 to $5,000. A 1976 1-ounce gold Krugerrand in a rope-bezel frame suspended on a 24-inch solid rope chain is estimated at $2,000 to $3,000.

Rarity aside, design is still the primary appeal when it comes to jewelry and timepieces. "A lot of what we're looking for is if it's attractive," said Wanstrath.

The sale will be held at noon Sunday, May 22, at Cowan's Auctions, 6270 Este Ave., Cincinnati. Public previews are noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 20-21, 10 a.m. to noon the day of the auction. Bidding is available in person, by phone, absentee and live online through

 For more information, phone Brad Wanstrath at Cowan's Auctions at (513) 871-1670, ext. 217, or visit 

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