A pocket watch that goes on sale at The Chester Decorative Antiques & Art Fair recalls the fascinating story of Speed Menefee from Florida, America’s shortest-serving city mayor. Taking place at the County Grandstand, Chester Racecourse, from 7th – 9th February, the Chester Antiques Fair brings together leading specialist dealers from across the country. Exhibiting for the first time will be Karen Bradley from Heanor, who trades as Antique Karen and specializes in watches, silver, and jewelry.

Karen is offering collectors a pocket watch that belonged to Speed Menefee (1879-1968). Well-recorded in newspapers and journals, Menefee served in the Spanish American War and was widely believed to have settled in Naples, Florida in 1905 to recover from his war experiences. He belonged to a prominent Kentucky family and was known as the most eccentric person known to the city. In spite of his idiosyncrasies, Menefee was immensely popular, often called the perfect Southern gentleman and known for his stories, his humor, and good manners.

In 1925 Naples was incorporated as a city, and of immediate importance was the selection of a mayor. Everyone agreed that no one was more qualified than Speed Menefee since he was the town’s most fascinating character. Menefee did not want the responsibilities required of the mayor but was willing to be sworn in and to serve for 15 minutes. After the appropriate ceremonies and an acceptance speech, he resigned, and Judge E.G. Wilkerson took over the office and served for several years.

Speed Menefee’s watch is a Patek Philippe pocket watch that was retailed by Wm Hendricks & Sons, and is a crown wind example set in 18 carat gold with an inscription on the Cuvée. It is priced at £4495.00.

The Chester Antiques Fair was relaunched in October last year by the new organizer, Sue Ede of Cooper Events, who brought many new faces to the list of specialist exhibitors. The forthcoming fair will once again be full of exhibitors over three floors of the prestigious County Grandstand. Since the fair was relaunched, there is now a strong emphasis on decorative pieces, with

The fair will feature exhibits from £25 to £25,000, from decorative furniture and mirrors to classic Georgian and Victorian country pieces, English silver, oil and watercolor paintings, pottery, porcelain, glass, and jewelry.

More than fifty dealers will be exhibiting, and once again the fair will take place over three floors of the County Grandstand building. The top floor has been restyled to incorporate the Antiques Arcade where visitors will find a greater variety of exhibits than for many years. For regular visitors, the fair will be livelier, more interesting, and with more variety.