Dealer Spotlight: Peter Mellon at West Palm Beach Antiques Festival

Peter Mellon, who displays more than 2,000 watches, watch chains, knives and lighters in his booth, will be among the myriad of dealers at the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival on March 5-7, 2010.

Peter Mellon, who displays more than 2,000 watches, watch chains, knives and lighters in his booth, will be among the myriad of dealers at the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival on March 5-7, 2010.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Among the record-number of dealers setting up for the upcoming West Palm Beach Antiques Festival will be Peter Mellon of Pompano Beach, Fla., and his inventory of 2,000 vintage and antique watches.

Mellon originally got into the general antiques business as the result of a storage problem. He and his wife had accumulated more antiques than they had room for. His brother-in-law, an antique watch dealer, suggested Mellon specialize too. He did, taking a series of horology classes to bolster his knowledge. Now, after more than 20 years in the business, Mellon’s personal knowledge of watches has far outstripped the level of those classes he took.

Mellon sets up shop at the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival with a huge supply of watches, pocket knives and lighters. As customers stroll by his booth, Mellon says the most frequently asked question during a Show is: “Do all of these watches work?” The answer, he says, is: “Most of them.”

One of the few that don’t work also happens to be the oldest in the inventory. It is a 200-year-old French watch made by Charles Odin, who made this type watch only between 1809 and 1830. It needs about $400 worth of repair work to get it back into working condition, it but it has more than $500 worth of 18-karat solid gold in the case at current scrap prices. Mellon will sell it for anything offer above the scrap value.

The most expensive watch in the inventory is a three register chronograph with 40 jewels and a sapphire crystal made by Tag Heuer, priced at $1,500. Mellon gladly gives free market value appraisals of time pieces brought to his booth by show visitors and makes an active market both buying and selling time pieces.

Mellon also has a large inventory of pocket knives in all sizes. He says vintage, American-made blades are the favorite of his regular customers. Another popular item with his customers is his large collection of lighters including vintage Zippos, logo lighters and character lighters. Among the character lighters currently in stock depicts Wonder Woman, Babe Ruth, Howdy Doody, Superman, Mickey Mouse, Star Trek and many more. Mellon’s personal favorites are the Zippos, and he can show patrons how to read the date code on the bottom of a Zippo to tell the age of vintage Zippos.

The upcoming March 5-7, 2010 edition of the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival is shaping to be a red-letter event, with a strong complement of regular dealers augmented by a growing number of new faces and the expectation of improving weather for the South Florida region, according to festival owners Kay and Bill Puchstein.

The West Palm Beach Antiques Festival is held at the Americraft Expo Center at the South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach, Fla. For more information call 941.697.7475, e-mail info@wpbaf.com or visit the show Web site.

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