Published: October 8, 2002
Washington Figural Clock Attracts Major Players and a $96,250 Winning Bid at Jenack
By David S. Smith
CHESTER, N.Y. — An extremely rare and desirable French bronze Neo-classical figural mantel clock attracted the attention of major Americana and clock dealers from throughout the country when it was sold by William Jenack on September 22. The clock, featuring a bronze figure of George Washington and a spread winged American eagle, was signed “Dubuc, Paris” and was made circa 1805.
The auction gallery reported a full house in attendance at their new state of the art auction facility. “We have seating for 225 and had to bring out an additional 50 chairs,” commented auctioneer William Jenack, “and there were still a ton of people standing.” Many in the capacity crowd had come for the 100-plus clocks to be offered, although a nice assortment of general antiques would also cross the block.
The major attraction was the Washington ormolu mounted French mantel clock, according to Jenack, who also commented that all of the major players had made their way to the gallery to inspect it during preview, including Guy Bush, Dean Levy, Stuart Feld and Robert Sack. The gallery reported that all four registered for phone bidding on the lot, with a New York City collector filling the fifth of the available phone lines.
As the rare clock crossed the auction block, many in the capacity crowd also felt they had a shot at the lot when Jenack asked for an opening bid of $15,000. A flurry of hands shot up into the air with all of the action coming from the gallery. As the lot neared the $60,000 mark, action in the room slowed, but the slack was taken up by the telephones.
Bidding progressed at a rapid pace once again until Guy Bush executed his final bid of $85,000, only to be beat out by the private New York City collector at $87,500. The final price paid for the clock, including premium, was $96,250. The price realized at Jenack’s was the second highest price paid at auction for an example of this rare clock.
The Washington clock and 49 others offered came from a Southern collection and made up just under half of an impressive offering of timepieces that had collectors and dealers out in force. Other examples that did well included a French bronze swinger signed H. Fugere that brought $13,000, an Ithaca walnut bank calendar clock in wonderful condition sold at $5,200, a New York Federal tall-case clock in mahogany realized $6,700, an Ansonia “Gloria” swinger did well at $5,000, and a Joseph Jennens eight-tube tall-case clock was hammered down at $6,000.
Another lot that attracted a great deal of attention was a rare Jean Dunand nine-inch nickel over brass vase with lacquer-type Deco decoration in reds and blacks over a patinated silvery ground. Jenack had estimated the vase at $1,5/2,000, yet when the vase crossed the auction block there were “hands up all over the house,” commented the auctioneer. Bidding moved rapidly well into the $20,000 range where it slowed, eventually selling for $26,000.
Other rdf_Descriptions of interest included a Moses Soyer painting of two seated ballerinas that had been consigned by Miss Norma, one of the ballerinas pictured. The painting “brought a good prices for Moses,” according to Jenack, with it selling at $4,700.
Another picture to do well was an oil on canvas by a soon to be recognized artist, Elijah Silverman. The painting of two reclining nudes sold at $1,100, but Jenack expects prices to rise as the artist will be featured in an upcoming article and is reportedly going to be shown at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in early Spring. Silverman reportedly painted just for himself and never sold any of his paintings. They are currently slowly being released by the surviving family of the artist.
Also sold was a faux bamboo Victorian chiffonier at $3,200, and a Tiffany Art Nouveau vase in sterling realized $3,600.
Unless otherwise specified, prices do not include the ten percent buyer’s premium.
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