Rare Antique Chinese Clock
Sells for $1.27 Million
By Donna Hardy
A rare antique Chinese animated triple fusee bracket clock surpassed its pre-sale estimate of $500,000-$750,000 to sell for $1.27 million at Fontaines Auction Gallerys cataloged antique and clock auction, May 21 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
The clock, which was running and striking, with all animated mechanisms working, was both beautiful and functional. Standing 36 1/2″ tall, the large gilt bronze case had extravagant filigree mounts throughout, with mythical heads above the corners, seashell handles, and jeweled floral mounts. A 6 1/2″ porcelain dial featured black Roman hour numbers, fancy pierced brass hands, and sweep seconds.
The animation made the clock irresistible. On the hour, the clock activated an animated mechanism of swimming ducks. Spinning glass rods simulated a waterfall in the open frieze panel, and a cylindrical cluster of spinning glass rods formed a fountain in the top of the case. A large spinning pinwheel was surrounded by 10 smaller pinwheels, and a jeweled teardrop finial rotated clockwise at the top.
The winning bidder was a buyer in the room who had traveled some distance to the sale, but asked not to be identified.
A French animated locomotive industrial clock with an excellent bronze case in the form of a steam locomotive on a black marble base with wheels that were animated by an independent spring-driven movement, plus a thermometer and barometer, sold for $30,250. Also, a French industrial animated clock known as “The Bollard,” with a fancy brass case in the form of a nautical bollard post wrapped with rope, also with a thermometer and barometer and a spring-driven mechanism, sold for $15,730.
The prices quoted include a 21% buyers premium.
Donna Hardy is managing editor of Horological Times.