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Three E. Howard Astronomical Regulator Clocks to Pace Fontaine Auction

by Special to WorthPoint (11/19/13).

This E. Howard & Company No. 68 floor standing astronomical regulator clock with exceptional color and patina is expected to sell for between $100,000 and $150,000 at an antique clock auction scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23, at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Three exceptional E. Howard & Company astronomical regulator clocks—including a No. 68 astronomical regulator expected to realize between $100,000 and $150,000, plus a pair of R. J. Horner mahogany grandfather clocks, one signed Tiffany & Co.—will all headline an antique clock auction scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23, at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery.

The two-session sale will be held in Fontaine’s gallery, located at 1485 West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield. Session one, beginning at 11 a.m. (EST), will feature 270 cataloged lots of rare and important clocks from several prominent collections. Session two, a discovery session, will have an additional 100 or so lots, also of vintage and antique clocks. It’s an all-clocks sale.

“Any serious collector will agree, having three E. Howard astronomical regulators in one sale is unusual, judging by their rarity,” said John Fontaine of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. “Add to that the two R. J. Horner grandfather clocks, plus a wide assortment of rare and beautiful other clocks, and you’ve got the makings of a significant clock auction. We encourage collectors to get here early and prepare to bid.”

The day will be packed with examples from Seth Thomas, Ansonia, Ithaca, Elmer O. Stennes, Foster Campos, Chelsea, Atkins, Walter Durfee, J.J. Elliot, Waltham, William Gilbert, F. Kroeber, New Haven, Waterbury, Eli Terry, E.N. Welch, E. Ingraham, Tiffany & Company, Sessions and Lecoultre. There will also be French silk thread clocks, industrial clocks, mystery clocks, annular and animated clocks, English fusee, animated bird boxes and barometers.

The three Howards, though, are expected to headline the sale. Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is no stranger to E. Howard regulators. Last November, the firm sold an E. Howard & Company astronomical regulator No. 46 clock in fine condition, for a staggering (and record) $230,100.

The E. Howard No. 68 regulator will be joined by a No. 25 drum head regulator (est. $60,000-$80,000), a No. 74 astronomical regulator (est. $30,000-$40,000), and, for folks on an E. Howard budget, a No. 7 figure 8 regulator (est. $12,000-$15,000). But only the No. 68 should reach or exceed the $100,000 mark—unless, of course, bidding wars break out over the others.

The No. 68 is a floor-standing astronomical regulator, impressive at 105 inches tall and boasting excellent color and patina. The silvered 14-inch bronze dial is signed “E. Howard & Co., Boston, Mass.” It’s the same with the quality brass eight-day, two-weight time-only astronomical movement. The large walnut case is nicely carved and the glass on the door and sides is original.

The E. Howard No. 25 drum\-head astronomical regulator is in excellent condition, with the original finish. The carved walnut No. 25 case, 75 inches tall, has a round “drum head” top. The 14-inch silvered bronze astronomical dial is E. Howard-signed, and the clock has a quality brass 90-day, weight-driven, time-only astronomical movement with deadbeat escapement.

The Howard No. 74 astronomical observatory regulator is 60 inches tall, with a case that has an iron back, cast in one piece, on which the movement bracket and mahogany case front are mounted. The 12-inch silvered bronze astronomical dial is E. Howard-signed (and numbered 305). The weight-driven movement has Graham deadbeat escapement with jeweled pallets and a clustered 4 jar mercurial pendulum.

The Howard No. 7 figure 8 regulator is 50 inches high and housed in a refinished walnut case with carved crests, reverse painted throat and lower glasses and black painted weight baffle. The 12-inch painted metal dial has black Roman hour numerals, blued open moon hands and a dial that’s signed “E. Howard & Co., Boston.” The dial has in-painting and a varnished overcoat.

Another E. Howard & Company clock, this one a No. 25 drum-head astronomical regulator in excellent condition with original finish, should do well. It carries a presale estimate of $60,000 to 80,000.

Of the two R. J. Horner grandfather clocks being offered, the one expected to command higher dollars is a carved mahogany 9-tube grandfather clock in good original condition with the original finish (est. $40,000-$60,000). The brass dial has a 12-inch silvered chapter ring with engraved decorations, while the case is beautifully carved, with winged griffins and figural busts.

The other grandfather clock, also with a walnut case attributed to R. J. Horner, is 105 inches tall and in good running condition (est. $15,000-$20,000). It is signed “Tiffany & Co.” on a silvered plaque and the quality brass movement strikes on five silvered tubes are signed “Walter H. Durfee.” The body features winged griffins, carved lions’ heads and figural putti.

An astronomical regulator attributed to the U.S. Clock Company, 112 inches tall and in good overall condition, in the original finish and housed in a large carved walnut case with fine pediment crest and large turned finials, should hit $15,000-$30,000; and one of the best examples of an inlaid rosewood Vienna regulator, 73 inches tall, with inset porcelain dial having black Roman numerals, with a dial signed “Jacob Weber,” should breeze to $20,000-$25,000.

Three clocks have identical pre-sale estimates of $12,000-$15,000. The first one is a Herschedes pattern 140 mahogany 9-tube grandfather clock, 106 inches tall, with blued pierced hands, silvered chapter ring and applied brass Arabic numbers, in an elaborately carved case. The second one is a French figural three graces annular clock on a white marble base having a fluted pedestal topped with an urn, dore bronze handles and trim, standing 26 inches tall.

The third is a Gothic triple fusee Whittington chime and bell skeleton clock, 23 inches tall, with two large cathedral-shaped plates and a drop hammer strike on a nest of eight bells with quarter-hour progressive Whittington strike, signed “Bennett, London” on a metal tag, perched on a white marble base. Also being sold is a Kroeber No. 25 hanging pinwheel jewelers regulator with a 12-inch porcelain dial having black Roman numerals, 98 inches tall (est. $8,000-$12,000).

Rounding out just a few of the day’s expected top lots are a mahogany and ormolu swinging portico clock, 22 inches tall, with the movement signed “Bechot” and the dial signed “Gittion a Paris”, in a portico-style case with turned tapered columns and bronze ormolu mounts and capitols (est. $8,000-$12,000); and an Ansel Turner mahogany tall case clock, 90 inches tall, with original painted metal dial and moon phase with painted sailing ships (est. $8,000-$12,000).

Internet bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers, iCollector and Artfact. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. Previews will be held on Friday, Nov. 22, from 10-5, and on Saturday, Nov. 23, the date of sale, from 8 a.m. until the first hammer falls at 11 a.m. (EST). A buyer’s premium will be applied to all winning bids placed.

With more than 40 years in the auction business, Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is a name that has earned the trust of collectors, investors and gallery owners around the world and is actively seeking quality consignments for future sales. The firm buys clocks, antiques, and entire estates outright. To consign an item, an estate or collection, call 413.448.8922, e-mail to info@fontainesauction.com or visit the Fontaine’s Auction Gallery website.

 


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