G Washington
Lot 37
A fine gold hunter cased fusee English lever watch of New York City historical interest engraved with a view of the "Washington Market" and a portrait of George WashingtonThe case supplied by John H. Welsh, 271 Greenwich St., New York, the movement by R. F. Cowderoy, 27 Charrington St. Euston Road, London , no. 3780
Sold for US$ 6,875 inc. premium

Lot Details
A fine gold hunter cased fusee English lever watch of New York City historical interest engraved with a view of the "Washington Market" and a portrait of George Washington
The case supplied by John H. Welsh, 271 Greenwich St., New York, the movement by R. F. Cowderoy, 27 Charrington St. Euston Road, London , no. 3780
Gilt full plate fusee movement with right angle lever escapement, bi metallic balance with diamond endstone, jeweled to the third wheel with chatons, gilt dust cap, white enamel dial with roman chapters, blued fleur-de-lis hands, subsidiary seconds, within a consular hunting case finely engraved with a bust of George Washington and a view of the Washington Market 50mm

Footnotes

  • The watch is inscribed on the interior with the maxim,

    "As we journey through life, let us enjoy ourselves along the way"

    and

    "Presented to / Mathew H. Chase / by the members of the/ Washington Market Social Club / as a token of their esteem / Feb. 22d 1865"

    During the mid 19th century, the Washington Market stood between Fulton and Vesey Streets in Manhattan, on what is now Ground Zero.

    Contemporary accounts describe a warren of stands and sheds surrounding a building housing a mercantile free for all that was nothing less than an assault on the senses.

    Historian Thomas Farrington De Voe, writing in 1862, described the Washington Market as "without doubt the greatest depot for all manner of edibles in the United States; it not only supplies many thousands of our citizens, but, I may say, many of the surrounding cities, towns, villages, hotels, steamers, (both ocean and river,) and shipping vessels of all descriptions. The great business done here certainly demands better accommodations for buyer and seller, and they should have them. Here we find almost an endless variety and vast amounts of meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, &c., which daily concentrate here, and not room enough to receive and properly display them for sale, much less room enough to accommodate the thousands who purchase here."

    There had been attempts in the past to make improvements, but it by the mid 1860's the market's merchants association known as the Washington Market Social Club raised the necessary money.

    By 1870, the New York Times could report that the through the efforts of the Social Club, "The hideous spectacle it formerly presented of unpainted and decayed shanties is succeeded by a neat, tidy, uniform building, well lighted by windows and provided with comforts and conveniencies [sic]. "

    The watch was a gift during this period of renovation to Matthew H. Chase, for over 25 years a prominent butcher who occupied a stand at 33 Washington Market. Early in his career, Chase gained recognition for having sold the "heaviest and finest ox then known in the States", selling the beef for the then remarkable sum of one dollar per pound.

    The watch was purchased from a neighborhood jeweler, John H. Welsh who, since the 1840's, had a business situated in Greenwich St. importing watches and jewelry. The case bears no English hallmarks and was most likely made in New York City. Welsh boldly stamped his name and address in the case to advertise his work. The movement was supplied by Richard F. Cowderoy a watchmaker active in London, 1857-63.
Auction information

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