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Bob Burke (Fontaine's Auction)



(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – A rare and fine E. Howard & Co. #61 astronomical floor standing regulator clock sold for $161,000 at a sale of vintage clocks and watches held May 30-31 by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. It was the third such E. Howard #61 sold within a year by Fontaine’s. The other two sold for $195,500 (at the vintage clocks auction held in June of last year) and $189,750, in November.

Ironically, the example just sold was the finest one of the three, even though it fetched the least amount. “That’s without question a reflection of the uncertain economic climate we’re now in,” said John Fontaine of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. “But that said, this recent sale was overall a great success, with dozens of clocks and watches meeting and exceeding their high estimates. We were delighted.”

In all, over 1,000 lots crossed the block at the two-session sale. May 30 was dedicated to antique clocks, while May 31 saw vintage watches take center stage. The gross for both days was over $1.2 million. A standing room only crowd of about 250 people packed Fontaine’s showroom, while nearly 450 registered bidders participated online, via Artfact.com. Phone and absentee bidding was also active.

Another E. Howard & Co. clock – a massive #87 floor standing regulator clock with jewelled pallets, four-jar mercury pendulum and time-only brass movement – took runner-up honors, hammering for $80,500. The top-selling watch was a rare Rolex Model Ref. 4500 two-tone chronograph ($8,625). Also, a Seth Thomas 25-jewel “Maiden Lane” open-face pocket watch found a new wrist for $3,738.

Following are additional highlights from the May 30 vintage clocks session. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

A large porphyre and bronze annular clock on a pedestal (Raingo Paris) climbed to $28,750; a French figural silk thread “Atala & Chactas” clock (circa 1810) commanded $24,150; a French marble and bronze annular clock with father time depiction achieved $23,000; a French industrial steam clock and barometer rose to $19,550; and a figural carved 9-tube mahogany grandfather clock made $14,950.

Rounding out the top clocks: a French industrial rolling ball clock with figural lion breezed to $19,550; a French bronze annular mantle clock with serpents hit $13,800; a French animated singing bird mantle clock realized $12,650; a Chelsea 10-inch dial ship’s clock with patinated “Verde” brass case and dial brought $12,650; and a French figural owl gilt bronze 3-piece clock set reached $10,350.

Following are additional highlights from the May 31 vintage watches session. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

A Hamilton 16 size box-hinge multi-colored pocket watch chalked up $2,588; a Dudley Masonic Model 2 pocket watch crossed the block for $2,300; a Patek Philippe 45 mm pocket watch gaveled for $2,013; a Waltham 18 size 14k solid gold box hinge hunting cased pocket watch went for $1,955; and an Oscar Waldan International NOS triple-date moon phase chronograph wristwatch topped out at $1,725.

Also, a Waltham 16 size 5-minute repeater went for $1,840; an E. Howard & Co. N Size 14k solid gold pocket watch earned $1,495; a Waltham Riverside Maximus 23-jewel, 14k solid gold case watch brought $1,495; a similar example went for $1,380; and an Omega Speedmaster professional chronograph sold for $1,323; a Seth Thomas 21-jewel Model 260 open-face pocket watch hit $1,380.

Fontaine’s Auction Gallery’s next big sale will be an important Civil War & Firearms Auction, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15, beginning at 11 a.m. Featured will be the lifetime collection of George J. Bisacca of Eastover (in Lenox), Mass. Mr. Bisacca’s collection was accumulated from the 1950s until his death in 1983. It has remained virtually untouched ever since, and will be offered without reserve.

The 500-lot sale will include a Colt M 1883 Gatling Gun; a British 1812 Naval mount cannon; a Coehorn mortar cannon; an 1861 Civil War ordinance rifle cannon with CSA markings; a Mann Smooth Bare prototype cannon; a Mann rifled prototype cannon; a Hotchkiss mountain rifled cannon (1892); other cannons; rifles; pistols; muskets; cannonballs and other projectiles; saddles; swords; bayonets and canteens; belts and buckles; period uniforms; spurs; daguerreotypes; powder horns; ram rods; and more.

Fontaine’s Auction Gallery’s next Vintage Clocks and Watches Sale will be held the weekend of Nov. 21-22. Quality consignments are being accepted for this sale, the Civil War & Firearms Auction and all Fontaine’s auctions. To consign a single item, an estate or an entire collection, you may call them directly, at (413) 448-8922. Or, you can e-mail them in confidence, at info@fontaineauction.com.

To learn more about Fontaine’s Auction Gallery and it s calendar of upcoming events, please log on to www.fontainesauction.net.

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