French Pendulum Clock, ca. 1865

Value (2014) | $2,500 Insurance$3,500 Insurance

The story in the family is that it was a wedding present to Betsy Patterson and Jerome Bonaparte.

Okay-- you brought in a picture of her.

The Patterson family was a Baltimore family and she, Betsy, apparently was quite a social lady. I use "lady" loosely because I understand her reputation wasn't the best. And Napoleon's youngest brother, Jerome, was in the West Indies with the French Navy. And a war broke out with England and Jerome was told to come back to France to fight the war. He came to Baltimore to get on a ship, saw Betsy Patterson, and the two of them fell madly in love.

When did they get married?

In 1803.

Okay, well, this is a very interesting clock. Look, the pendulum goes back and forth like a swing rather than back and forth like a pendulum. And that's a very novel feature. And it is a French clock. But if you turn it around and look at the rear, you can see the unusual escapement in it and you notice that it has a stamping on the back. And the stamping says Farcot. And Farcot's patent was a French patent for the escapement, which was a gizmo which allowed the swing action to happen. The only thing is that the patent was patented in 1862.


So this clock...

Couldn't possibly...

You got it, Ann.

Couldn't possibly.

I think you're way ahead of me here. It could not have been made before 1862. Well, if this were just a pendulum clock it would probably be worth $700 or $800 because it's a pretty pendulum clock. But the way it is now with the unusual pendulum and the condition, I think it deserves a value more in the area of $1,800 to $2,200.

Fine. Because I think she's not leaving our family ever, so...

That's right, and she keeps swinging, too.

Yes. (chuckling) I will not repeat the false story anymore.

Oh, don't worry. It's a good story, keep it going.

Thanks, thanks, that's fun.

Appraisal Details

Update (2014)
$2,500 Insurance$3,500 Insurance
Update (2013)
$1,550 Retail$1,800 Retail
Appraised value (1999)
Baltimore, MD (June 19, 1999)

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