Extremely Rare E. Howard & Company Wall-Hanging Astronomical Regulator No. 47 Clock Will Be Sold Saturday, November 22nd At Fontaine’s
The clock is expected to bring $200,000-$300,000; and may achieve a new auction record.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Horological history might be made on November 22nd when an exceedingly rare E. Howard & Company No. 47 wall-hanging astronomical regulator clock comes up for bid in an antique clock auction at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery, located at 1485 West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield MA. 400 antique clocks will be sold Saturday, Nov. 22nd; 200 watches and fobs will be sold Nov. 23rd.
The E. Howard clock is so rare that it doesn’t appear in the E. Howard catalog. It is one of only three known examples as listed in the Howard archives, as clock #122, a “No. 47 wall hanging astronomical regulator”. One resides at the Sedgwick County Historical Society in Wichita, Kan.; the other is in private hands. The clock has been assigned a pre-sale estimate of $200,000-$300,000.
Fontaine’s is no stranger to E. Howard clocks. In November 2013, an E. Howard No. 68 floor standing astronomical regulator descended from the original family sold at Fontaine’s for $277,300. It was a new auction record for an E. Howard clock at auction. The previous record was $230,100, also set by Fontaine’s, just a year earlier. Over its 40 year history, Fontaine’s has become synonymous with fine antique clock auctions.
The E. Howard No. 47 wall-hanging clock was manufactured in 1876 – a stepchild of the No. 47 floor standing model, itself a rarity, with fewer than 12 produced. The company was famous for complying with whatever its customers desired, and evidently at least three wanted the No. 47 as a wall hanger, a special order item at the time.
The earliest known owner of the clock was John Crocker, who purchased it in 1912 in Grand Junction, Colo., and had it transported (either by train or covered wagon) to Wyoming, where he proudly displayed it in the front of his jewelry shop in Rock Springs.
Crocker sold the jewelry business to his son-in-law, John Bean. The Bean family sold the clock to the present-day owner, who has consigned it for sale. But it hung in the jewelry store in Rock Springs, uninterrupted, from 1912-1976, when the jewelry store closed. An aside: the building that housed Crocker Jewelers was once a meat market. One of its employees was the legendary Wild West figure Butch Cassidy. This fact only adds to a clock that is already steeped in Western railroad history.
That it keeps excellent time goes without saying: John Crocker, the jeweler, also had ties to the railroad – an industry that depended heavily on precise timepieces.
The clock case is the epitome of the American Renaissance Revival movement being an impressive 8’3” long and made from hand-carved American walnut with carved finials & incised burled trim, the massive crest has a carved bust of Christopher Columbus, the arched center door with reverse painted “Regulator” throat glass exposing the weight, pierced carved beat indicator and four-jar mercury filled Sandwich glass pendulum (No. 121/2806) with cylinders made by the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. (Boston, Mass), the impressive lower bracket has 5 ornate scroll carved support arms. The fact that the clock hasn’t passed through many hands helps explain why it is in fine original and unmodified condition, down to the original finish.
The original 16.5” reverse painted glass (vitrolite) dial is in excellent condition, a huge selling point considering glass dials on clocks of the period were extremely fragile. The brass weight driven 8 day time only No. 3 astronomical movement signed E. Howard & Co., Boston, has a Graham deadbeat escapement with jeweled pallets, blued pendulum crutch, maintaining power, Geneva stop, dust covers on the top and sides; brass pendulum suspension cradle with steel rods, quality brass weight and 5 spoke pulley.
The auction will get underway at 11 a.m. Eastern time both days, with previews scheduled for Friday, Nov. 21st, from 10-5, and Saturday and Sunday, auction days, from 8 a.m. until the first gavel falls at 11 a.m. Telephone and absentee bids will also be taken. For those unable to attend the auction live, internet bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com. and Invaluable.com.
With over 40 years in the auction business, Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is a name that has earned the trust of collectors, investors and gallery owners around the world. Cataloged lots recieve nationwide exposure to the firm’s sizeable database of more than 18,000 qualified buyers. Seven times Fontaine’s Auction Gallery has been voted “Best Antique Auction Gallery” by the public.
Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is actively seeking quality consignments for future sales. The firm also buys antiques and entire estates outright. To consign an item, estate or collection, call (413) 448-8922 and ask for John Fontaine. Or, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Nov. 22 (antique clocks) and Nov. 23 (watches and fobs) auctions, visit www.FontainesAuction.com.
Fontaine’s Auction Gallery
1485 West Housatonic Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201