Timely Deals at Clock Auction

Editor’s Note: Mark Peer, WorthPoint’s Worthologist specializing in antique clocks, reports on the recent Fontaine’s auction that featured many spectacular antiques.

I was asked by the WorthPoint team to assist our partner Auction Network in broadcasting Fontaine’s Auction Gallery’s Nov. 9 antique-clock sale, live and in hi-definition over the Internet.

I was thrilled to participate in this cutting-edge auction featuring more than 250 investment-quality antique clocks. This was a great opportunity to see some of the world’s finest old clocks, and I arrived the day before the sale to inspect them at my leisure. The sheer quantity of high-grade clocks displayed at Fontaine’s was a real sight to see.

Several astronomical regulator clocks were in the sale, including the top-selling clock of the day, an E. Howard Floor Regulator 61 (Lot 105), which brought a whopping $165,000, not including the 15-precent buyer’s premium. Also among the astronomical regulators was a rare U.S. Clock Company “Regulator D” (Lot 70)that hammered down for a mere $32,500. A Howard 60 wall regulator (Lot 166) sold at a relatively low $40,000.

The top-selling clock of the day was this E. Howard & Co. 61 Astronomical Floor-Standing Regulator Clock.

Several jeweler’s regulators were sold in the $9,000–$13,000 range. Some of the French clocks fared well with, a Japy Freres compendium crystal regulator (Lot 88) hammered at $13,000, while a beautiful Serves-type porcelain and ormolu revolving-dial annular table clock (Lot 125) sold for $8,000. A triple animation waterfall clock featuring Baccarat-type spiral glass rods turning to simulate running water mounted on fire gilt and patinated bronze case (Lot 141) brought $6,500.

Deals for bargain hunters

While the clocks mentioned above may seem like the clocks sold brought lots of money, there were some real bargains to be had, too. It seems the open escapement Royal Bonn porcelain clocks in the sale sold for less than usual, with six of them selling at $550 each, and another three bringing only $450 each. All were in perfect condition without chips, cracks or scuffs. Of the Royal Bonn clocks in the sale, Lot 241 was of a very pleasing blue color and brought $650, and couple of English skeleton clocks under glass domes (Lots 10 and 249) sold for just $600 each.

I believe that the real bargain of the day was the large E. Howard pocket-watch advertising display in this great old crusty finish (Lot 164). It was in pretty good shape for having been hanging outside for so long. At $6,000, the collector who purchased it must have been smiling all the way home.

The bargain of the day: this large E. Howard pocket-watch advertising display with a great old crusty finish.

All this goes to show you, auctions are like football games . . . like the saying goes “any given Sunday (or in this case Saturday), anything can happen.” After the sale, I spoke with the gracious auctioneer, John Fontaine, who said he was “generally happy with the sales’ outcome.”

“With the condition of this economy, it’s really no surprise the exceptional clocks sold well and the middle-range clocks went for bargain prices,” Fontaine added.

Fontaine’s next clock auction will be in May 2009.

Mark Peer is a WorthPoint Worthologist specializing in antique clocks.

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