It's never too late to consider giving Dad a Father's Day gift that can increase in value over time, like that retirement fund or stock portfolio. Even with a rocky economy, luxury spending is making a slow and steady comeback, so this might be the year that you don't give in to the barbecue set, gift card, tie or golf clubs for your Dad. Instead, select a statement gift that will likely back over time, like a retirement fund, and reflects a heart-felt, significant expression of gratitude.
MS Rau Antiques, the country's oldest antiques and fine arts dealer which has been operating from the same address for 99 years on Royal Street in the historic French Quarter of New Orleans, suggests surprising Dad with a museum-quality antique that's one of a kind--like your Dad. Make it the BEST Father's Day gift ever. Make it memorable. Who knows, you might inherit it in the future.
From the extensive inventory of antiques and fine arts available at MS Rau Antiques, third generation owner Bill Rau suggests one of these unique antique gifts to show your Dad some love.
Whether for spying or stargazing, this extraordinary 6 foot tall telescope by Robert-Aglae Cauchoix (circa 1820) is one of three of the largest telescopes from the 19th century. All made by master telescope maker Cauchoix, one of his telescopes was actually used to trace the path of Halley's comet. One Cauchoix telescope was made for the Paris Observatory and the third one is the one being offered by MS Rau Antiques. With an aperture of 7.5 inches, this handcrafted, brass telescope rests on a catapult base which allows for ease of movement while anchoring it to the ground, and who knows what Dad will fixate on when he gets going. ($248,500)
For die-hard cigar connoisseurs, this kingwood cigar box (circa 1875) is the penultimate storage box for expensive cigars. Silver mounts decorate the exterior and velvet lined dividers swing out to reveal perforated trays. Jean-Pierre Tahan, the son of Alphone Tahan, the ébeniste to Emperor Napoleon III, used an exotic Brazilian wood called kings wood which was the preferred wood of the kings of France. ($14,850).
For dads who like their martinis shaken, not stirred, take note. The glamorous era of the cocktail has made a comeback and there is not better tool for mixing the perfect French 75 than this Art Deco portable bar set designed to resemble a monoplane (circa 1930). It contains all the elements you need to shake and serve, including a shaker, strainer, flask, four cups, spoon, cork screw, funnel and two mini flasks for keeping the party going. ($32,500).
For time keepers, nothing tells time better than this pocket watch, the prototype for a split second chronograph. Made by Henri Berthoud in Locle, the Swiss watchmaking region, in 1862, this outstanding time piece is crafted in 18 karat gold, with an engine-turned hunter case that houses the split second chronograph and a two train lever movement that allows for two separate times to be recorded. This pocket watch was commissioned by President Abraham Lincoln and intended to be awarded by the President to any naval officer who was instrumental in the rescue of an American ship or crew at sea. It features an enamel medallion depicting a rescue at sea, as well as the United States seal and the seal of the President of the United States. ($39,500).
These, and other memorable antiques, are available either at the MS Rau Antiques gallery, or at www.rauantiques.com MS Rau Antiques will be celebrating its centenary in 2012.