Rare Antique Clocks Drive Fontaine’s Auction to $2.5M

PITTSFIELD, Mass. – A rare antique Chinese animated triple fusee bracket clock roared past its presale estimate of $500,000-$750,000 to sell for $1.27 million at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery’s sale May 21. It was the top lot in a sale that grossed $2.5 million, drew 150 people to the gallery and had over 4,300 registered online bidders.

Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.com.

The clock, which was running and striking, with all animated mechanisms working, was both beautiful and functional. Standing 36½ inches tall, the large gilt bronze case had extravagant filigree mounts throughout, with mythical heads above the corners, seashell handles and jeweled floral mounts. 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.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 21 percent buyer’s premium.

A Tiffany Studios Arrowroot table lamp (below) with a 20-inch diameter conical shade having 16 large green three-panel arrowroot leaves and white opaque mottled glass flowers with translucent yellow centers, on a signed bronze library base, went for $48,400; and a Tiffany Studios Turtleback desk lamp on a fine bronze base with a leafy platform and art glass jewels around the edge, also signed, 14 inches high with a bronze shade and two large panels of yellow-gold iridescent turtleback glass, topped out at $12,705.

Tiffany Studios Arrowroot table lamp with a signed 20-inch diameter conical shade having gorgeous flower decorations. Price realized: $48,400. Fontaine’s Auction Gallery image

A French animated locomotive industrial clock (below) 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, rose to $30,250.

French animated locomotive industrial clock with excellent bronze case in the form of a steam locomotive on a black marble base. Price realized: $30,250. Fontaine’s Auction Gallery image

Also, a French industrial animated clock known as “The Bollard,” (below) 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, finished at $15,730.

French industrial animated clock known as ‘The Bollard,’ with a fancy brass case in the form of a nautical bollard post wrapped with rope. Price realized: $15,730). Fontaine’s Auction Gallery image

A Symphinion Eroica #38B three-disc musical hall clock (below), 110 inches tall, in a handsome mahogany case and featuring an eight-day spring-driven movement signed “Lenzkirch” and a complex three-disc music box contained in the throat of the case, brought $33,275; while a Regina 12-disc changer music box, Style 35, with an oak bow front case with leaded glass bowed door panel, shell and filigree carved crest and spring-driven mechanism that plays 15½ inch discs (plus 12 discs) fetched $21,780.

Symphonion Eroica #38B three-disc musical hall clock with divided interior slots for 15 disc sets, with a beautiful original finish case. Price realized: $33,275. Fontaine’s Auction Gallery image

A one-year Biedermeier Laterndluhr wall regulator clock in a fine mahogany Laterndluhr-style case (below) with striped inlays, in excellent condition with the original finish and boasting a 10-inch porcelain dial signed “Johann Schaden, in Wein,” coasted to $29,040.

One-year Biedermeier Laterndluhr wall regulator clock in a fine mahogany Laterndluhr-style case. Price realized: $29,040). Fontaine’s Auction Gallery image

In the furniture category, a ten-piece figural carved oak dining room set attributed to R.J. Horner, consisting of a sideboard, server, china cabinet, two armchairs, four side chairs and a dining table, all refinished in white paint, made $24,200.

For details, contact Fontaine’s Auction Gallery by calling 413-448-8922 or emailing info@fontainesauction.com.