Early American Clocks at auction

Bill Ward

NAWCC Member
Jan 8, 2003
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On Sept. 15, Alderfer's Auction House, in SE PA, will hold a Fine Arts auction with a number of early & reproduction banjo clocks and (mostly) PA tallcase clocks. See:
http://www.alderferauction.com click on catalog, Sept 15, and furniture.
Full Disclosure: I have no financial or personal interest in this company, other than being an occasional bidder. And if I had a snowball's chance of getting any of these clocks, I wouldn't be posting this here!
 

Bill Ward

NAWCC Member
Jan 8, 2003
1,232
16
38
USA
On Sept. 15, Alderfer's Auction House, in SE PA, will hold a Fine Arts auction with a number of early & reproduction banjo clocks and (mostly) PA tallcase clocks. See:
http://www.alderferauction.com click on catalog, Sept 15, and furniture.
Full Disclosure: I have no financial or personal interest in this company, other than being an occasional bidder. And if I had a snowball's chance of getting any of these clocks, I wouldn't be posting this here!
 

Chris Radano

Registered User
Feb 18, 2004
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Hello Bill, Do you own a David Rittenhouse? I hear what you say about the early American Clocks. One may be better advised that a private collector may list some good examples on ebay. I got a nice Aaron Willard Jr. from a private collector, I have seen one or two more seemingly good Willards sell for less $$. Of course, it is harder to inspect the piece.
 

Paul H

NAWCC Member
Jun 23, 2005
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I keep looking for those triple deckers at garage sale for $5.00. Now I'll add David Rittenhouse to the list. Maybe I could cough up an addition $10 for one of his.
 

Bill Ward

NAWCC Member
Jan 8, 2003
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No, Chris, sadly, I do not have a Rittenhouse clock, although the previous owners of my house had one. I even know where it sat- just outside my bedroom door! There are a number of Rittenhouse clocks around Norristown, however. The local historical society has 3, and even the school board owns one.
But I don't expect to find one at a yard sale for $10- it seems that when it comes to clocks, everyone thinks that theirs is worth a million dollars. A few years ago, I bought a very nice ebonized aesthetic style foyer chair at a yard sale for $15; it's surely worth 30, perhaps 50, times that. But the same family had an Ingraham kitchen clock they wouldn't part with for less than $1000, even though they professed to hate Victorian stuff.
The problem with Rittenhouse clocks is the provenance. Even those in the Rittenhouse family might have been purchased at a sale much later. For example, the Time Museum D. Rittenhouse was purchased by a Rittenhouse descendant last October, and Historic Rittenhousetown has been bequeathed one which was purchased by a Rittenhouse family member in the 20thC.
And there are plenty of fakes. One story has it that the impoverished scion of a prominent Philadelphia Colonial family, in the 1930's, met every shipment of English antiques at the docks to select suitable longcase candidates for "conversion". He had the dials re-engraved with Rittenhouse's name, and sold them all over the country to (preferably widowed) members of the DAR. Now, 3/4 of a century later, these clocks will be coming on the market with a "provenance".
One of these might have been on sale at the 2000 National in Philadelphia by a New England dealer. It was so obviously a London clock that the price was well below the normal (even unsigned) amount.
 

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