French Crystal Regulator Clock, ca. 1900

Value (2012) | $8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction

I brought in what I assume is a French clock because that's what I heard from my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law was an antique dealer in Newport, Rhode Island. She kind of came up the hard way. In the '40s and '50s she was a private duty nurse, a single mom, and she had patients that were from the avenue, Bellevue Avenue. And one of these ladies left her a sizeable amount of money when she died, and my mother-in-law loved antiques and she wanted to start an antique shop, so she would go to the auctions. And this particular clock came from an auction at a house called Oaker Lodge. I don't know what she paid for it, but I'd say it was about 1966. She gave it to me when my first daughter was born.

This clock was probably originally purchased by one of those families on Bellevue Avenue. And at that time, they would go overseas and buy the best that Europe had to offer. And in the 1960s, a lot of those big estates were being sort of parted off because the homes were very expensive to keep and taxes were prohibitive. So a lot of those families had moved away, and those houses sort of fell into disrepair. This is what we would consider a French-made, French-origin clock, an oversized, very fancy crystal regulator. The standard size of this clock is somewhere in the 12-inch range.

Oh, really?

This one is just over the top. This clock is actually constructed in a brass case.


And the finish on the case is a fire gilding. And the nice thing about this example is that it still retains that fire gilding on top of the brass surface. Most of the time that surface is worn off and oftentimes is tarnished. The slang name for these in Europe is a four-glass clock or a five-glass clock with a centerpiece. We say crystal regulator, implying that it has glass on all four sides.

I see.

Mechanically, clocks like this are very, very good quality and this really represents a period of about 1900 when these were made. Do you have any idea of the value of a clock like this?

I did have the movement fixed a couple of months ago, and the clockmaker told me maybe $3,000 to $4,000.

$3,000 to $4,000. Well, I think today we're experiencing an uptick. Very fancy clocks like this clock are being sold in this country, and they're going overseas into the Asian market.

That's interesting.

If I had to put an auction estimate on this clock or auction retail price on this clock, it wouldn't surprise my colleagues and myself if this clock was sold somewhere in the neighborhood of $8,000 to $10,000.

Wow, love that.

Appraisal Details

Delaney Antique Clocks
West Townsend, MA
Appraised value (2012)
$8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Boston, MA (June 09, 2012)
Brass, Gilded, Glass

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