My roll as appraiser on Antiques Roadshow will change slightly this season. As I have done since 2006, I will visit three new cities in search of treasures. I’ve been to several great places and met many wonderful people. I’ve even seen some great clocks along the way. I have always appraised strictly clocks on the show, occasionally helping out with furniture behind the scenes. This year, as per my own request, I’ll be appraising furniture at one of the venues, which should be an exciting new twist. Wish me luck.
Sadly, the best clock that has ever been brought in for me to appraise did not get on the air. It was a superb example of a French figural mantle clock made by Dubuc for the American market. Clock enthusiasts will be familiar with the model depicting a full bodied George Washington. (for you horologists, it was the large size, with mint original gilding, an original bill of sale and exceptional provenance). The appraisal was not taped for television because the owner already knew everything about the clock, including it’s six figure value. Our goal is to educate people about their objects. If the owner knows everything about what they have, it does not make for good television.
We were thrilled to purchase an exceptional clock at the March 6th Americana sale at Skinner Auctions. The circa 1822 dwarf clock, standing about four feet high is an exact miniature of a tall case (grandfather) clock. Early 19th century dwarf clocks from the Hingham/Hanover area, on the South Shore of Massachusetts, are highly prized by collectors. We purchased the clock for $189,600. on behalf of a private collector. Although not a record for a dwarf clock, this is one of the highest prices paid at public auction.
Two of the reasons why it sold for so much more than what dwarf clocks typically bring are the combination of remarkable condition and superb form. Dwarf clocks were produced with various case styles and some command higher prices than others. Most dwarf clocks with a high degree of originality sell in the $10,000. To $50,000. Price range, but great examples can easily go higher.
This model, with works made by Joshua Wilder (1786-1860), incorporates a case which is attributed to Weymouth Cabinetmaker Abiel White (1766-1844). It has French feet, quarter columns in the case, and a removable hood just like a full size clock. The cases with all of these features are the most highly sought after of all the dwarf clocks.
To learn more about Dwarf clocks be sure to read my article in Antiques & Fine Arts on the topic. Click here to down load a copy of that article.