How Best to Buy a Particular Type of Antique (very antique) Clock?

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by 124Spider, Sep 13, 2019.

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  1. 124Spider

    124Spider Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Hi,

    When in Ireland in 2018, I saw a clock shop that had to be visited. And there, I found a clock that I really liked. It was an 18th century Irish bracket clock with its original verge escapement.

    Unfortunately, it was spoken for, so I couldn't buy it.

    And now, unfortunately, I find that I still really do want a clock like that--fine old bracket clock, double-fusee with original verge escapement.

    What's the best way to go about finding one that will be in good condition, shipped right, and for a fair price? They're easy to find online, but I know nothing about the shops. And I wonder about the high-end auction sites.

    Any helpful suggestions will be gratefully accepted!

    Thanks.

    Mark
     
  2. zedric

    zedric Registered User

    Aug 8, 2012
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    First thing to do would be to educate yourself about what it is you are buying. This site and the people here are great for helping with that. And get to know the prices these sell for.

    If you are looking in particular for an Irish clock, then that will narrow the field a lot, but if you are looking for an original (or close to) 18th century bracket clock there are plenty still around, and you’d need to work out if you wanted an earlier or later one, if engraving on the backplate is important and so on.

    Then as you seem to be based in the us, i’d contact your local NAWCC chapter, and get them to ask around as to if anyone has one to sell. It’s easier to buy if you can see first hand, and if you can pick up, you don’t pay shipping and worry about shipping damage.

    Otherwise, shops and auctions would be the next choice. Be patient and you’ll find a good one
     
  3. 124Spider

    124Spider Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    That's helpful; thanks!

    I want either an American, British or Irish (or made for those markets) clock. Engraving on the back plate would be very nice (but possibly not a requirement). Good condition, obviously, is important. I am not picky about early or late; I am somewhat price sensitive, so probably late.
     
  4. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #4 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Sep 14, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
    True period American made movement bracket clocks are known but are quite rare would be very expensive.

    It is my understanding (please correct) that often period bracket clocks bearing the names of American makers on the dial had works that were actually imported. Sometimes the entire clock was. Especially true for 18th century examples as we were still a colony and the mother country discouraged manufacturing here and encouraged the importation of such goods. Again, this is my understanding. Please feel free to correct. The retailer had their names engraved or painted on to the dials. This was especially true of clocks from NYC.

    See LaFond and Harris, "Pennsylvania Shelf and Bracket Clocks: 1750-1850" for examples bearing the names of PA makers. Some in that book are believed to have movements made here. Others have imported movements. A search of the collection of major museums will reveal other examples including from NYC.

    I don't know how deep your pockets are, but to acquire a fine well preserved clock as described above I would dare say would require rather deep ones.

    There are later, i.e., late 19th early 20th century revival style bracket clocks where the dial bears the signature of an American retailer, typically a jeweler. Though most not made in the US, they are decent quality and I would believe more affordable??

    RM
     
  5. 124Spider

    124Spider Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Thanks; yes, I have been looking at these clocks for over a year, and I am aware of how pricey they are. But the range of good examples does vary a lot; so I think I can get a good one on the lower end (still a lot of money, though).
     
  6. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I would have thought that Irish 18th century brackets with verge escapement were vanishingly rare. If it was a good price you should have bought it.

    Provincial English brackets from the 18th century are unusual and command high prices, particularly early ones. I would expect Irish ones to be rarer still.
     
  7. 124Spider

    124Spider Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    I would have bought it, but they said it was reserved for someone considering buying it. Alas.

    It was not inexpensive; something like €6,000.

    Mark
     
  8. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    I would suggest buying one at auction. Irish or provincial ones are rare and usually sell for a premium price so I would suggest a London made one. I think the period of 1715-40's offers the best value and an that age it would be either ebonized or ebony and not mahogany. Clocks with repeating works on multiple bells are more expensive.

    You can pick a decent one up at auction but be mindful of the shipping costs as American shipping is very expensive.

    If you would like to discuss further PM me and we can discuss and see a couple of examples (which I can't post here as we can't show existing auctions.)

    Cheers
    Dean
     
  9. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Here's a few examples of English bracket clocks for discussion. The first is around 1750, the second 1770 and the last one is 1790. The brown one needs stripping and ebonising as its actually fruitwood. The case on the last one also needs stripping and ebonising. All three are nicely engraved, decent quality but simple movements for English bracket clocks. Two are verge and the last one is original anchor. First one is unsigned, the second is Jullion of Brentford and the last one is Pritchard of London.

    Nick has a lovely timepiece by William Post which he may post a photo. The movement on it is superb and its quiet!

    Where do you live?

    Cheers

    002.jpg 007.jpg JullionFront.jpg JullionBack.jpg 001.JPG DSC03452.JPG
     
  10. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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  11. NigelW

    NigelW Registered User

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    #11 NigelW, Sep 18, 2019
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2019
    This kind of clock fills my bucket, as the saying goes. Buying at auction has its perils however. There is no guarantee that the verge will be original (many are converted back again, having previously been converted to anchor). The description is very short and there are no pictures of the mechanism. It says it has an hour repeat but it also has two bells. I wonder if it was once a quarter repeat?
     
  12. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I'm sure it would fill many buckets, but you aren't allowed to link to it until it has been sold I'm afraid.
     
  13. NigelW

    NigelW Registered User

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    Is this a rule of the NAWCC?
     
  14. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    You can not link to an auction that is either upcoming or active. Only completed auctions can be linked.

    Regards.
     
  15. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Absolutely, now that you have lost the time to edit it you should report it and get a mod to remove the link
     
  16. NigelW

    NigelW Registered User

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    Thanks for that, but a moderator got there first. I guess it makes sense, otherwise the site could be hijacked for commercial use.
     
  17. 124Spider

    124Spider Registered User
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    Update:

    This is a truly wonderful forum! Everyone is so helpful and friendly!

    In a private message, I was pointed to an auction in Alexandria, Virginia, taking place today, with a nice old George III ebonized, double fusee bracket clock with verge escapement. By coincidence, that's my hometown, and my sister still lives nearby. She went, and we got the clock!

    She'll keep it for me until my next visit, and I'll carry it home (as carry-on) on the airplane when I return home.

    Thanks so much for all your your help!

    Mark
     
    Chris Radano likes this.
  18. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    Really pleased ypu got what you were looking for. Please can you share photos with us all when you get it home?

    JTD
     
  19. 124Spider

    124Spider Registered User
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    You can bet on it!
     
  20. Rockin Ronnie

    Rockin Ronnie Registered User
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    Is the shop on Patrick St in Dublin? I am asking because I am in Ireland for the next 2 weeks.

    Ron
     
  21. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Happy you got the clock. You will find the movement will be a lot nicer than it seems in the photos from the auction house. They always look better in real life. They truly are works of art as well as mechanical masterpieces.

    Not having to pay for shipping or having to risk damage during shipping is also a huge bonus.

    Now that the auction is finished providing the auction house is okay with you using their photos you can post them here so everyone can see what you have acquired.

    Cheers
     
  22. zedric

    zedric Registered User

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    Great to hear you have managed to get what you were looking for - and definitely a bonus that you don't have to ship it, as it is always a bit of a lottery as to how well it is packed, and the state it arrives in! Look forward to the pictures when you get a chance.
     
  23. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Would it be the George Cuthbert clock auctioned today, 9/28, by the Potomac Auction Galleries, lot 303?

    If so, here's a teaser pic:

    H1122-L183918483_original.jpg

    RM
     
  24. 124Spider

    124Spider Registered User
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    That's my clock!
     
  25. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
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    Beautiful clock, I'm very happy you got what you wanted and can't wait to see more pics when you get it. Nice one! Those acorn decorations are nice, (just kidding, pineapples, I know).
    Don
     
  26. 124Spider

    124Spider Registered User
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    I believe it was Timepiece Antique Clocks, on Patrick Street, Dublin. It was a rare pleasure, and the people were so nice!
     
    Rockin Ronnie likes this.
  27. 124Spider

    124Spider Registered User
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  28. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    It looks great. A wonderful start to a collection. (it is always a start :) )

    When you get it a pic from the bottom may help explain the case, I've never seen one with a base like that but from there up it looks like a good condition bell top. The pineapples may be later, but the overall look is very good.
     
  29. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Here is a very similar belltop case, with the single arched side window. The bottom of this is the more usual form. (There are seven cases of different ages within a few feet of where I sit typing this and all of them follow a similar format at the base of the case to this one, none is like yours)

    I have seen something a bit similar on larger musical bracket clocks though, so that's why I suggest looking underneath to see if there are any clues about it.

    310556.jpg 310555.jpg
     
    124Spider likes this.
  30. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Nice first bracket clock.

    It looks great. I'd change the pendulum holdfast to something more appropriate and maybe one day remodel the bottom but it will look great as is.

    Cheers
     
  31. 124Spider

    124Spider Registered User
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    Thanks, all, for the encouraging words!

    To be clear, I have six other bracket clocks, mostly British from approximately 1900 (+/- 20 years); this is my first 18th-century clock, and my first clock with a verge escapement.

    Mark
     
  32. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    You have indeed entered the world of "very" antique as that one is around 250 years old....
     
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