Aaron Willard Shelf Clock, ca. 1785
Appraised Value: $125,000 - $150,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:02)
Clocks & Watches
Delaney's Antique Clocks
GUEST: Well, this clock originally belonged to my great-great-great-grandfather, Judge John Keresly. He was appointed by Patrick Henry. After that, it was passed down to his son, who passed it down to his son, which was Major George Keresly, who owned the clock during the Civil War. Uh, there's a family story that says that the lead weights were melted down and used for ammunition during the Civil War, and that the clock was hidden away and forgotten about for a few years. It was discovered again in 1880 and given back to, um, Major George Keresly.
APPRAISER: Really? Where was it discovered?
GUEST: In the attic of a relative's house.
GUEST: I guess that's where it was hidden. After that, it was handed down to his son, and down to the next grandfather, and down to my father, and down to me.
APPRAISER: Do you know anything about the maker of this clock at all?
GUEST: I know that he's, I think, American--
APPRAISER: Right, right.
GUEST: --clockmaker from...
APPRAISER: 1700s. This is a clock made by Aaron Willard, who came from a family of our country's most famous clockmakers. His brother was the most famous clockmaker, Simon Willard, and Aaron is certainly our country's second most famous maker. And you'll see his name right here on the dial: A. Willard. Aaron Willard was born in 1757 and died in 1844. He had three other brothers, Simon, Ephraim and Benjamin, that worked with him in Grafton, Massachusetts. He followed his brother Simon from Grafton to Roxbury in 1780. This is a Massachusetts shelf clock, made circa 1785, which is a really early Massachusetts shelf clock. There's a couple of features that make this clock very early. It's what we call a "case-on-case" form. It has this case here, and then these brass feet. And then again it's repeated with another case, and then these wonderful brass curled feet here. It has this beautiful balloon top... with what they call a "kidney dial." And it's a very early form, and it's certainly the earliest form of a Massachusetts shelf clock with a painted dial. It's a mahogany case, and it has a nice original finish on it, which a lot of clock collectors really like. The dial is great. There's really no paint loss. It's in fantastic condition. The hands are absolutely wonderful. They're called "poker beetle hands." They're an early form, which you'd expect to find on a clock like this. It's just... an absolutely incredible clock. Any museum would be glad to have this clock. I mean, it's just... it's as good as they get. The weight was original, the movement's fantastic. It's a beautiful piece. This clock in my showroom would certainly sell between $125,000 to $150,000.
APPRAISER: That's a little surprising?
APPRAISER: It is just... an absolute treasure.
APPRAISER: Any serious clock collector would love to have this clock.
GUEST: I think we should insure it.
APPRAISER: If you were to insure this clock, I would certainly put an insurance value on this clock at about $150,000.
APPRAISER: I mean, I haven't seen a nicer clock in a long time.
GUEST: Thank you. Wow, $150,000. Ooh.
APPRAISER: It's great that it's come through your family.
APPRAISER: And not a lot of people can document a clock like that.
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