Simon Willard Banjo Clock, ca. 1805
Appraised Value: $50,000 - $60,000 (2012)
IMAGE: 1 of 3
Appraisal Video: (3:30)
Clocks & Watches
GUEST: I came by the clock through a friend of mine. He gave it to me in '93. He was a dear friend, and I did a lot of things for him in his later life. And he passed the clock along to me.
APPRAISER: Well, the clock is referred to today as a "banjo clock." Simon Willard, the inventor of this form, had a patent on the case, produced these clocks. Now, a lot of people made these clocks. Other manufacturers, makers in the Boston area and in New England, started to produce the clock because they saw that there was a demand for them. Simon Willard was born in Grafton, Massachusetts, in the 18th century and in 1802, started producing these clocks. It's an alternative to the grandfather clock that was made. He was quite the inventor, actually. He experimented with a number of different forms of clocks. This was his most popular invention. And you see Simon Willard's name-- "S. Willard's patent"-- right here on the glass. This clock was made in the Federal period in America. From 1802 to probably 1808. So it's very early in its production. And we know that from the numbers on the dial, the pattern on the glass. These things would change with time. The quality of the clock, the construction of the clock is superior to most. We also see the quality of hands. The numerals sort of being outset and smaller in size than some of the later ones indicate an earlier date. The brass elements on the side of the case are what we call "side arms." The glasses, we call this "Èglomisè" glasses. They were reverse-painted on the glass, and what a great color with the white and the blue. The crank is original, great movements, cases. All this looks very good. Its one issue: the finial up here. It's not the original finial.
APPRAISER: That's the one shortcoming of the clock.
APPRAISER: It would have originally had a brass eagle like this, but of an earlier form. This form is a 20th century copy. That may not even be brass.
GUEST: I see. I see.
APPRAISER: It may be spelter that is brass plated. The finish is an older finish. It looks like it's been cleaned a bit. But this is just like we like to find them. Have you ever had it appraised?
GUEST: Well, I did take the clock to someone back in '93 when I got it to have it cleaned and make sure I could still, you know, use it. The individual that cleaned it told me at that time, just verbally, that it was worth $5,000.
APPRAISER: If it was a restored example, it would be probably in that range. There's a big disparity between that restored example and a great example, and you've got a great example. Even with the fault of the finial, this clock would probably be retail about $50,000 to $60,000.
GUEST: Oh! Okay. I'm very surprised.
APPRAISER: If it had the original finial, I hate to tell you, it'd probably add another $10,000 to $20,000 on there.
APPRAISER: I mean you have such a great example with one flaw. I think I would probably lose that finial on the way home.
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