Rare, two-sided Chinese animated bracket clock soars to $332,750 at Fontaine's Feb. 27th auction Two Chinese animated bracket clocks – one a rare two-sided model, the other a triple fusee example – sold for a combined $435,600 at a cataloged antique and clock auction held Feb. 27th by Fontaine's.
News-Antique.com - Mar 09,2016 - PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Two Chinese animated bracket clocks – one a rare two-sided model, the other a triple fusee example – sold for a combined $435,600 at a cataloged antique and clock auction held February 27th by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery, in the firm’s gallery at 1485 West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield. In all, 510 lots changed hands in a sale that grossed $1.6 million.
The two-sided clock, which was set up for two time zones, was the auction’s top lot, realizing a robust $332,750. It showed a Chinese theme on one side and a Western theme on the other. The gilt bronze clock featured an animated, two-tier revolving carousel of figures at the top, rotating clockwise. The upper tier had a multi-rhinestone border and glass rods that resembled a fountain.
The triple fusee clock, housed in a carved teak wood bracket case, was the sale’s runner-up top lot, bringing $102,850. It was in beautiful condition, with the original finish, and boasted a series of rods that rotated, emulating falling rain, while a row of ducks swam right to left in the front. All the while, two carved wood Chinese acrobat figures on a platform appeared and disappeared.
The auction featured antique clocks (by names such as E. Howard & Co., Seth Thomas, Ansonia, Ithaca, Elmer O. Stennes, Walter Durfee and others), antique furniture (by makers such as John H. Belter, J. & J. W. Meeks and R.J. Horner), watches, chronometers, barometers, lamps, art glass, historical and political items, toys, banks, oil paintings, statuary, musical items and more.
“I knew we had put together a nice sale, with fine estate merchandise in a variety of desirable categories, but there was so much advance buzz in the days leading up to auction, I had to go back and look to see what all the fuss was about,” said John Fontaine of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. “That’s when I realized, hey, we really do have a great sale on our hands. And it was.”
A packed gallery of about 125 people attended the event in person, while 1,200 others bid online via LiveAuctioneers.com (the most ever for a Fontaine’s auction). Another 800 or so bid online using the Invaluable.com platform. A bank of phones was kept busy throughout the sale, and a good number of absentee bids were recorded as well. Between the two, there were 300 bidders.
Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 21 percent buyer’s premium.
Clock collectors and horologists will instantly recognize the name E. Howard & Co. (Boston). They are a staple at many Fontaine's auctions and this one was no exception. Examples included a street post clock so stately and large (140 inches tall) it had to be picked up by the buyer from the estate location. It gaveled for $41,140. Also, an E. Howard & Co. No. 82 grandfather clock, quite impressive in size at 100 inches tall and housed in a fine mahogany case, fetched $13,310.