Seth Thomas Clock, ca. 1829

Value (2004) | $1,000$1,500

APPRAISER:
I understand you found a card inside.

GUEST:
Yes, this card is inside. My father-in-law wrote it. The clock came through his family. His great-great-grandparents got it as a wedding gift in 1829, and it traveled to Iowa from Ohio, and it's just been in the family ever since.

APPRAISER:
This clock was made in the classical period in the United States. It's a particularly nice example of its form. This is the extra-fancy model, if you will-- the fact that this scroll cresting incorporates these flower devices and acanthus leaves, which is a Grecian decorative device. These beautiful acanthus-leaf turned, carved columns, the hairy paw feet-- wonderful details. The clock has, remarkably, its original tablet, and while we may look at that and say, "Well, it's not in very good condition," the fact that it is there at all is significant. It shows a sea battle. Presumably, it could be the War of 1812. Most of it is gone. And it would appear, on the tablet at one time, it may have had an oval opening to show the movement of the pendulum, but I might stress at this juncture: leave it alone. Don't let anybody talk you into repairing it.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
It is what it is, and it's remarkable that it's there. Now, when we open up the clock, we immediately see that it has this prominent label. This clock was made by Seth Thomas. Seth Thomas at this time conducted his business in Plymouth, Connecticut. He became so successful and such an influence on the community that they named the town after him, shortly after this clock was made, as a matter of fact.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The fact that the clock was a wedding gift in 1829 is pretty close to when it was made. Now, if we take the dial off here, we can look at the movement. I might add, at this juncture, that these hands are not the original hands.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
They're much too plain. So they've been replaced at some point. No big deal.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
This wooden movement is interesting in that this is the beginning of the great Industrial Revolution in America. These clock parts are interchangeable, so that these movements could have been made in tremendous quantities to sell to a very large audience at a small price. This movement is powered by these weights on these pulleys. It runs for 30 hours, so you've got to remember to wind it every day.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Perhaps not the most reliable timekeeper, but this is a really beautiful, classical clock. Never been refinished. It's in original shape. That's very, very important. As far as value is concerned, I would think in the area of about $1,000 or $1,500 or so.

GUEST:
Wow!

APPRAISER:
This is as nice a model as was available in that period.

GUEST:
Oh, wow! Oh, it's wonderful.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Skinner, Inc.
Boston, MA
Appraised value (2004)
$1,000$1,500
Event
St Paul, MN (June 26, 2004)
Category
Clocks

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