Classical French Chariot Clock, ca. 1800

Value (2012) | $12,000 Auction
Watch  

GUEST:
I just acquired it at an estate sale.

APPRAISER:
Okay

GUEST:
And I know nothing about it.

APPRAISER:
Well, let me just suggest that what you stumbled upon is a very, very nice example of Neoclassic French clock making. One of the things I like the most about French clocks and the castings that they made was the quality of the castings. In the horse's head, the Roman figure and all the applied work here and the work here. This is put on a base, and these medallions around here are applied on as well. And they're all very good castings. Now the color, as you can see, is a very soft tone of gold. And that was a process called fire gilding. They would heat brass to a hot level after making the casting. And then they would mix gold and mercury together in an amalgam, spread it onto the hot brass, and the Mercury would evaporate off leaving this nice texture. And one of the things I like the most about your clock is the fact that it appears that all of this original surface is still there. There's a wonderful look about it. Nobody has taken it off, or polished it, or anything like that.

GUEST:
Are you telling me this is a form of gold?

APPRAISER:
Yes, it's a gold surface on top of brass. And it has a nice tone to it. It was probably made as early as 1795, maybe more into the early 1800s.

GUEST:
Okay, it's that old?

APPRAISER:
Probably a Parisian clock, yes. Here you have the wagon wheel. Inside you can actually see the gears, and that is what we call a skeletonized dial. Do you have any idea as to what you think the value of this clock is in today's prices?

GUEST:
Absolutely none.

APPRAISER:
Well, let's consider the fact that it's all original, and it isn't in perfect condition. We need to clean it up, but it is the original works.

GUEST:
But if that's really gold, a form of gilding, then it could be worth a couple thousand.

APPRAISER:
I think so, yeah. More than that.

GUEST:
More than $2,000?

APPRAISER:
More than $2,000.

GUEST:
No, wait a minute, $3,000?

APPRAISER:
$3,000, more than that too.

GUEST:
$4,000?

APPRAISER:
How about more?

GUEST:
$5,000?

APPRAISER:
More.

GUEST:
No way.

APPRAISER:
Yes.

GUEST:
No way.

APPRAISER:
Yes, we're going up high here.

GUEST:
Not $10,000.

APPRAISER:
Yes, I think that's worth a little less than $10,000.

GUEST:
No!

APPRAISER:
Yes! I'd say about $8,500 to $9,500 for your clock.

GUEST:
No, really? (laughing)

APPRAISER:
All right?

GUEST:
Yes! Oh, that's neat. Wow.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Gordon S. Converse & Co.
Wayne, PA
Update (2012)
$12,000 Auction
Appraised value (1998)
$8,500$9,500
Event
Louisville, KY (July 11, 1998)
Period
19th Century
Form
Clock
Material
Brass, Gold

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