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The popularity of carriage clocks under £1000 continues unabated, with the auctioneers dispatching all 20 lots in the sale, while the current, and possibly localised, demand for mid-range longcase clocks (£1000-1500) ensured a strong trade attendance, with only three examples unsold from a section of 22 lots.

Great names, of course, always sell.
A Joseph Knibb bracket clock at Bath was a relatively basic model and not without problems. The double fusee clock – a second period Knibb in the opinion of auctioneer Nick Houlgate – contained a five-pillar movement which had been converted from verge to anchor escapement in Georgian times. But in the opinion
of the trade who viewed it, said Mr Houlgate, “the clock had not been ‘got at’ too much”.

It went to a dealer on the lower £20,000 estimate to top the sale.
The leading longcases were two London eight-day examples. The first, 8ft 1in (2.46m) high, was cased in mahogany with a pagoda hood and a brass dial, signed Carter, Southwark, incorporating a five-pillar movement.

The auctioneer would not be drawn on the condition or originality of the clock, though the trade price of £4600 was described as “inexpensive”.

Mr Houlgate was more forthcoming on the second clock, describing the blue lacquer case and five-pillar movement as “untouched”. Measuring 7ft 71/2in (2.32m) with a pagoda hood and chinoiserie painted case, the brass dial signed James Scholefield, London, the clock required plenty of restoration and sold to the trade at £4000.
The auctioneer was disappointed that a Bristol longcase did not attract much local interest, the eight-day mahogany double arched and brass dial timepiece with a six pillar, bolt and shutter movement by Joseph Smith going instead to an American dealer on a buying trip at £3400.

The removal of ‘ageist’ prejudice on late Victorian/Edwardian bracket clocks has shaken up the market, with prices for late 19th/early 20th century models of good quality now approaching or bettering those paid for some Regency examples.

Accordingly, an Edwardian triple-fusée bracket clock of high quality, the all singing, all dancing movement striking the quarters on gongs and eight bells with a pull repeat, the lavish mahogany case with a caddy top, brass plinth and canted reeded corners, attracted strong bidding from the trade, eventually selling at £3800.

Likewise, a white dial, ebonised balloon clock, c. 1880, attracted as much as £2000 – a price which would have been inconceivable a few years ago. The result for this clock showed how quality is considered far more important than age in today’s market. The movement was shaped and the London makers Haley and Milner, well respected.

The other prominent aspect of this sale was the high prices bid for electric and battery operated clocks.
Growing academic interest in the early history of electric clocks has increased the value of these early 20th century clocks over the past couple of years. The 15-lot section was led by a Eureka short clock under a glass dome which sold above estimate at £720. Elsewhere Master clocks by firms like Brillie, Favag, Zenith and Moser were fetching around £300.

Gardiner Houlgate, Bath, September 6-7
Number of lots offered: 705
Number of lots sold: n/a
Sale total: £100,000+
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent