The Yale Wonder Clock in a Class by Itself Strikes It Rich at Auction Rosemary McKittrick’s website is a warehouse of interesting, unusual and useful information about art, antiques and collectibles. Visit LiveAuctionTalk.com and sign up for a free weekly subscription.
News-Antique.com - May 01,2008 - Santa Fe, May 1, 2008--I love to run across unusual things I’ve never seen before. It’s a real treat.
When you’ve been in the field for years there’s the tendency to get jaded. Objects like the one I’m about to describe make me stand back and smile.
The Yale Wonder Clock is rare. Talk about gimmicks and options.
This peculiar oak clock stands about 7 feet tall. It’s a marriage of clock, music box, coin collecting, arcade machine and just plain fun.
When you insert a nickel-size, stamped aluminum coin into it--lights also flash, music plays, and a token drops into a reward cup potentially worth 5¢, 10¢, 15¢, or 25¢. It’s a genuine get rich quick scheme from another era.
While all this is happening within the case, three numbered tiny reels spin, generating a random number between 000 and 999.
The store displaying this unusual clock probably posted a list of lucky numbers on the wall which gifted winners with a cash prize. It’s quite the machine.
The inventor, Charles A. Yale, incorporated his company in Burlington, Vermont in 1900. The main product appears to have been this remarkable timepiece.
Less than 1,000 Wonder Clocks were actually made, probably more like 600-700. Of these, only about a handful survive today.
The Yale Wonder Clock is in a class by itself. The one offered for sale at James D. Julia’s Winter Antiques and Fine Art Auction on Feb. 2, was early, with a low serial number, # 123. It was also a real beauty.
The clock still works and sold in the auction for $86,250.
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