Aaron Willard Tavern Clock, ca. 1820
Appraised Value: $15,000 - $18,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (2:41)
Clocks & Watches
Delaney's Antique Clocks
GUEST: I brought a clock from my grandfather. He had a collection of clocks that we distributed amongst the family. And this is one that I had gotten, and I really don't know much about it other than it's a Willard from Boston regulator. It was one that I had chosen. Before he passed, we gave him some ideas of which ones to give to each of the family members. I like it because it was really just basically simple.
APPRAISER: This particular clock was made in Boston by Aaron Willard. Aaron Willard is part of America's most famous clock manufacturing family, in a period in which clocks were made by individuals as opposed to big companies. Aaron Willard's brother, unfortunately, overshadowed Aaron throughout his life. His brother, Simon Willard, is our country's most famous clockmaker. One of the interesting things about the Willards is the quantity of clocks that they produced was just remarkable. Simon and Aaron probably accounted for 6,000 clocks in their lifetime, and some of their family members certainly helped with that production. They had a vast apprentice system. Many of those apprentices went on to become famous clockmakers in their own right. Some of the types of clocks that you might see with Aaron Willard's name on it are tallcase clocks, or longcase clocks. Aaron Willard made a number of Massachusetts shelf clocks. This particular model is called a tavern clock. It's one that we see very infrequently. This case is mahogany and those examples that we've seen in the past all share mahogany cases. The dial actually has sort of a dish form to it, a concave form to it. It's thought that these models were probably sold on more of a commercial basis, much like the gallery clocks that you see in churches and meeting halls of the 1820s. And that's certainly where this clock was made, too. Do you actually run this clock?
GUEST: I run them once a year.
APPRAISER: Once a year, yeah. These clocks have fantastic movements. It's weight powered; it's designed to run eight days on a wind. It's a timepiece, which means that it doesn't strike, and that's very typical for this format. Really super, super quality. You have any idea what this clock is valued at today?
GUEST: The only thing I could guess is maybe like $5,000.
APPRAISER: That's probably pretty conservative. One of the aspects of this particular clock is that it has a condition issue of the signature. It has been what we call "strengthened." Someone's gone over the original signature and sort of made it so that you can see it from across the room. This particular clock, in the condition that it is now, which is really retail ready, very, very presentable, great mahogany wood flitch in an older, 30-year-old finish, is probably worth anywhere from $15,000 to $18,000.
GUEST: Oh, really? Wow.
APPRAISER: If the signature hadn't been touched up or gone over, we've seen these sell for $25,000, $26,000.
GUEST: Oh, really? Wow.
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