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  1. #1

    Default My Ansonia "La Duchesse"... Rare bird or incorrect dial?

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    I picked this up at a yard sale(non-running)for $20 a week ago, and I now have it running, so I decided to try to get an idea what I had and what it might be worth. From all the evidence I've seen, I believe this is a "La Duchesse" model. I've seen them with the same detail right down to the pinstripe design, with one exception: I have yet to see one with a gold dial and Arabic numerals. All of them I've seen have had white dials with Roman numerals. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if someone had swapped dials, except for one thing. The guy I bought it from was about 80, and he told me it was his grandmother's clock and had been in their family since it was new. I can't see adding a windy tale like that to a $20 clock I was going to buy anyway, so that got me wondering what I have here. The movement looks original to the clock and has "Patented June 18, 1882" on the left side of the back plate, and a weak number 5 stamped opposite this on the right. Any ansonia experts out there that can shed some light on this? -Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: My Ansonia "La Duchesse"... Rare bird or incorrect dial?

    I am not an expert in American clocks but I believe these clocks were sold with options - you could get them with various styles of dial. Those who are knowledgeable about these clocks will be able to confirm or not - I may have remembered wrong.

    As you probably know, we are not allowed to discuss values on this site but in my opinion it's not a particularly valuable clock.

    Those with access to the Ansonia books may be able to give more information.

    I expect you are going to replace the bit of wire holding the suspension spring?

    JTD

  3. #3
    Registered user. roughbarked's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Ansonia "La Duchesse"... Rare bird or incorrect dial? (By: JTD)

    Back in the day it probably didn't cost more than $25.

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  4. #4

    Default Re: My Ansonia "La Duchesse"... Rare bird or incorrect dial?

    It does appear to be the La Duchesse. It is shown in Tran Duy Ly's book on Ansonia clocks (arlingtonbooks.com) from the 1880 catalogue with a plain white dial, no visible escapement, and with the addition of a clock topper, which I suspect was an option. It is also shown from the 1886 catalogue with a white dial and visible escapement. There is no mention in either case of dial options, but that does not mean they were not available. However, Tran's book shows an 1894 catalogue illustration of the Cardiff with what appears to be the same dial as on yours. AS JTD said, dial options were frequently available, and the catalogue illustration and description for any particular year would not necessarily preclude differences in other years, as is, in fact, shown by the two catalogue illustrations of the La Duchessse. I will assume that the La Duchesse might have been offered some years after 1886, and a different dial would be possible. Unless there are clear indications that the dial is a replacement, I would accept it as original.

    Prices are not shown for the La Duchesse in 1880 and 1886, but I suspect that $25.00 might be a bit high. The Vienna shown from the 1904 catalogue is listed with three dial options. The prices ranged from $10.00 to $12.25, depending on the option.
    “If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.” - Oscar Wilde

  5. #5
    Registered User George Nelson's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Ansonia "La Duchesse"... Rare bird or incorrect dial? (By: roughbarked)

    Quote Originally Posted by roughbarked View Post
    Back in the day it probably didn't cost more than $25.

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    Hi, All,

    Just for what it's worth, according to my inflation calculator, $25.00 in 1886 is equivalent to $641.03 in today's money. Not a cheap clock in its day!

    Best to all,

    George
    Time is a great story teller... Irish Proverb

  6. #6

    Default Re: My Ansonia "La Duchesse"... Rare bird or incorrect dial? (By: George Nelson)

    As Steven surmised in his post, going by the catalog prices, and although it is not specifically priced, it likely cost a good deal less than $25.

    JTD

  7. #7

    Default Re: My Ansonia "La Duchesse"... Rare bird or incorrect dial? (By: JTD)

    JTD, I'm glad you brought that up. I think this is probably cosmetic enough to be acceptable material here. There was what appeared to be bent brass wire holding the spring rod, and I assume that's original equipment. In the process of trying to straighten it enough to remove, it snapped off and was too short to reuse. Is that something that's commonly available? I was in a pinch, so I used a staple, but I'd rather have something that looks more original.

  8. #8

    Default Re: My Ansonia "La Duchesse"... Rare bird or incorrect dial? (By: bikerclockguy)

    That bit of wire certainly wasn't original!

    You need a tapered pin that every clock maker/repairer will have hundreds of in different sizes. You can of course buy them from all the regular clock suppliers (Timesavers, Merritts etc.) but you can't buy just one, they come in packets of at least 50 and in many different sizes. That it why I suggest you ask a clock repairer who will be able to give you one and would charge very little, perhaps nothing.

    But a staple will do for now............

    JTD

  9. #9
    Registered user. roughbarked's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Ansonia "La Duchesse"... Rare bird or incorrect dial? (By: Steven Thornberry)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Thornberry View Post
    I
    Prices are not shown for the La Duchesse in 1880 and 1886, but I suspect that $25.00 might be a bit high. The Vienna shown from the 1904 catalogue is listed with three dial options. The prices ranged from $10.00 to $12.25, depending on the option.
    Yes. All the catalogues I haveseen put 1910 prices at what you say but some of the more expensive clocks were upto $25.

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Nelson View Post
    Hi, All,

    Just for what it's worth, according to my inflation calculator, $25.00 in 1886 is equivalent to $641.03 in today's money. Not a cheap clock in its day!

    Best to all,

    George

    No clock was ever cheap really. Mass production made them more available to the masses, is all.

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