Published: March 16, 2021
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Catalog Photos Courtesy Flying Pig Auctions
WESTMORELAND, N.H. – On the afternoon of Monday, March 1, Flying Pig Auctions offered more than 500 lots of clocks and watches in a timed online-only auction featuring the lifetime collection of a central Connecticut collector.
“It was just one collection; he was both a clock collector and dealer and he collected everything, all ages and forms. It filled every surface in a pretty good-sized house, every wall was stacked three or four deep and the house was filled with the sound of ticking and chiming,” co-owner Roxanne Reuling said when we got her on the phone a week after the sale ended. “We took all the clocks and watches except the ones he wanted to keep, but there is still more there to sell.” She noted that Flying Pig was planning to hold an estate sale on the premises in late spring.
“People who could come and look, did, and we had lots of calls before the sale. Most people wanted to know if the clocks were working,” Reuling said, noting that the two-week preview received a good turnout. The majority of the clocks had been working when they were packed in Connecticut for transport to the auction house, but the staff at Flying Pig did not wind them for the preview. Bidding was available only through one online platform, though absentee bids were entered by the auction house on behalf of clients. The sale had more than 400 registered bidders online, and while the majority of buyers were from the United States, she ticked off sales to buyers in Canada, England, Italy, Macedonia, France, Portugal and Nigeria, with some bidders – and possibly buyers – from China and Japan as well.
Most lots had a broad estimate range of $30-$1,000, which Reuling explained as a strategic decision to “let the clocks find their level. There certainly were some bargains but by and large we had lots of interest and bidding and the collector is satisfied.” About 85 percent of the sale sold for an undisclosed total.
The top lot in the sale was a Nineteenth Century banjo clock by Boston clockmaker John Sawin (1799-1863), who was the nephew of Aaron Willard and a cousin to Lemuel Curtis. Sawin is known to have worked with Aaron Willard, Simon Willard, Aaron Willard Jr, and George Wild Dyar, whom Sawin went into partnership with from 1822 to 1827. The example at Flying Pig had a wing-spread eagle finial, white dial with Roman numeral chapter rings, eglomise throat panel and eglomise door panel that depicted two classical figures. It sold to a New England collector for $3,750.
Bringing the second highest price in the sale at $1,375 was a Vedette cabinet clock in the Renaissance Revival style with marble shelf and beveled glass door. The 74-inch-tall piece, which Reuling said had been in the seller’s living room, sold to a Massachusetts collector who had purchased from Flying Pig before.
The third highest price realized in the sale was $813, and it was enough for a Vermont collector to acquire a tall case clock with tombstone dial inscribed “Levin Bartlett” in the arch above the Roman and Arabic numeral chapter ring.
It would be hard to find a more quintessentially Connecticut clock than a shelf clock by Silas Hoadley (1786-1870) and the sale had an early Nineteenth Century ogee-molded example with eglomise door panel and large factory label; it timed out at $750.
The sale was split pretty evenly between clocks and watches, with pocket watches being the biggest component of the latter category. The most expensive price paid for a pocket watch was $375; it was realized by an example from the E. Howard Clock Co., of Waltham that retained its original case and was set with 17 ruby and sapphire jewels, with a 994706 movement in a case numbered 7825458. There were two other E. Howard Co., pocket watches in the sale; they sold for $281 and $188.
There were eight pocket watches in the sale made by the Illinois Watch Company; two of them were 60-hour “Bunn Special” models that brought the top money of the group. One with 21 jewels in a 10K gold Keystone case finished at $344, just ahead of a salesman’s sample that timed out at $313. The rest of the Illinois Watch examples brought $63 to $188, while a pendant watch passed.
More than two dozen lots – all watches or small clocks – had been made by the Waltham Clock Company of Waltham, Mass. A pocket watch in a coin silver case, the works numbered 776611, had handsome acanthus engraving on the case and fetched $313. Chiming in behind it was a 21-jewel Colonial model, serial number 0999537 that came in its original lined case. A prominent label on the inside of the case lid showed that the watch had originally retailed for $75. With four of the 27 Waltham watches passing, the rest sold for prices ranging from $19 to $219.
Hamilton watches are regarded for their Swiss precision and nine examples marched across the block, all selling between $188 and $281, with the top price going for a Railway Special model 992B with 21 jewels, numbered #C79337 in 10K gold filled case. A Hamilton mantel clock that had a presentation plaque inscribed “Stanley F. Cichon / In recognition of / 40 Years Service / American Thread Company” was sewed up at $50.
A baker’s dozen French clocks were sprinkled throughout the sale, led by a Nineteenth Century three-piece pink marble and brass garniture set comprised of a 16-inch-tall clock flanked by a pair of 11-inch-tall urns; it ran to $219, while a Japy Freres mantel clock chimed out at $156. A metal-mounted green onyx clock made $113, a porcelain mantel clock finished at $88, and an Art Deco example, done in pink or peach-colored marble and gray slate with metal deer on either side of the clock face, ran to $75.
The sale featured several models that were interesting for various reasons, if not for the prices realized. A vintage Lux Clock Co., alarm clock depicted a shoeshine and a woman on its face, the arm of the shoeshine boy had an automaton movement; it made $125. Two other clocks with automaton face movements included a mantel clock celebrating the end of Prohibition, the case in the form of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a ship’s wheel that was marked “FDR The Man of the Hour;” it spun to $125. The same price was paid for a metal shelf or mantel clock with a clock face depicting a bartender with a cocktail shaker that also made when Prohibition ended.
Watch for an announcement of the remainder of this collection to be offered on-site.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
Flying Pig Auctions’ next sale is an online Americana sale scheduled for April 12.
Flying Pig Auctions is at 13 Industrial Park Drive. For information, 603-543-7490 or www.flyingpigantiques.com.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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