E. Howard & Co. astronomical regulator No. 46 clock soars to a record $230,100 at Fontaine's An E. Howard & Co. astronomical regulator No. 46 clock in fine condition, with clean running movement and a walnut case with original finish, sold for $230,100 at an auction held Nov. 17 by Fontaine’s
News-Antique.com - Nov 27,2012 - (PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – An E. Howard & Co. astronomical regulator No. 46 clock in fine condition, with clean running movement and a walnut case with the original finish, 126 inches tall, chimed on time for $230,100 at a two-session auction held Nov. 17 by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery, in the firm’s gallery located at 1485 West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield.
It was a new world auction record for an E. Howard clock, no small feat considering E. Howard clocks are among the most desired in the world by collectors and horologists alike. The clock sold featured a 16-inch reverse painted glass astronomical dial with Arabic five-minute numbers in the chapter ring and sub-hour dial with Roman numerals, signed E. Howard & Co.
Other pluses included a high-quality, eight-day, brass weight-driven time-only movement (also signed E. Howard & Co.), Graham deadbeat escapement with jeweled pallets, solid brass pulleys, top-quality brass weight and four jar mercurial pendulum, a gorgeous case with carved crest, an arched center with figural pediment bust of a woman, and large base with burled panels.
The clock was the top achiever of the 535 lots that came up for bid over the course of the two sessions (225 lots, all clocks, crossed the block from 10-1, then 310 lots of antique items came under the gavel, from 1-5). Around 500 people attended the auction live, by phone and absentee. Another 1,500 folks registered to bid online via LiveAuctioneers.com and Artfact.com.
When it was all over, a $1.4 million gross had been tallied. “It was a great auction, with better clocks being especially strong,” said John Fontaine. “Some people traveled great distances to bid on one clock. The E. Howard, of course, was the star lot. It was an amazing clock with the original finish. And it had been in the same family for over 100 years. Talk about provenance!”
Following are additional highlights from the clocks session. All prices quoted include an 18 percent buyer’s premium.
One other clock topped the $100,000 mark. It was a monumental, 12-foot-tall Richard Whittington grandfather clock with heavily carved oak case and three-foot-tall putti at the base, around a central medallion of Sir William Whittington Knight. The clock, dated 1793, sold for $118,000. The main door had a carving of young Whittington with a cat chasing mice at his fee
A rare Seth Thomas No. 10 regulator with a 14-inch heavy brass dial, silvered face, black Roman hour numerals, original blued spade hands, sweep seconds hand, and a massive walnut case with carved crest and base brought $53,100; and a grandfather clock with movement by Tiffany & Co., and case by Herter Bros., in excellent condition with original finish, hit $38,350.
A circa-1890 French industrial steam clock and barometer with large central cylinder and piston with a vertical connecting rod powering the flywheel, original deep brown patina and on a rouge marble base, garnered $25,960; and a French figural “three graces” (nude female figures) annular clock with white marble base with fluted pedestal