Mantel Clock, ca. 1810
Appraised Value: $7,500
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:01)
GUEST: I bought it roughly 30 year ago. I bought it off a friend of mine in England, and he described it as a French clock--
GUEST: --which, to my advantage, it's not. And, uh, I gave a hundred pound for it-- English pounds.
APPRAISER: Well, many clock collectors will judge the beauty of a clock from the outside. If it's beautiful to their eye, then it's a great clock. But then there's another group that judges a clock from the inside. They want to take it apart and look at all the gears and sometimes may not care very much what it looks like on the outside. But this clock is interesting both from the outside and the inside. This is an ormolu clock. It's a bronze- or brass-cast case which has been patinated. And the pleasing effect is the nice bright gold against the patination. Many times, though, when we look at the outside of the clock, we ask, well, is the gold original or has somebody painted it over later or have they had it plated? And what I like to do is take a part off and expose the inside of it, the part that you never see. You find that on the inside, there's no gold plating at all. This is a sign that the piece is authentic, that years ago they plated it. And this case, in my opinion, was done in France in the Empire period, which would be around 1800 to 1820. They were exquisite at casting them and these castings are exceptionally attractive. Let's look at the inside, though. I'm going to take it out of the case. This is held in by two screws... And to my surprise, we find that this is not at all an ordinary clockworks. First of all, it's signed: F. Baetens of London. You told me you looked it up and you didn't find it listed anywhere.
GUEST: No, I haven't found it listed at all.
APPRAISER: I haven't either. You would expect to find in this French clock a French-made clockworks, but it's English. This is distinguishable by the fact that it has what we call a fusee, which is a cone-shaped device with a chain that attaches it to the mainspring. At the time this clock was made, which was about the early 1800s, the French were making clocks with great delicacy and they didn't really need the fusee. They ran pretty well without them. You didn't have the pendulum with you. You say you had it, but you didn't bring it, which is fine. It's an Anglo-French clock, maybe made by a Frenchman who established a business in London at the time. I believe this clock in today's market, if it were sold at a gallery, would be priced at around $7,500.
APPRAISER: Very nice piece.
GUEST: Hmm. Thanks very much.
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