Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information


The clock was the top lot in an auction that grossed $1.5 million; it was held in Pittsfield, Mass.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. –An E. Howard & Company (Boston) No. 43 astronomical floor regulator clock, 105 inches tall and in fine operating condition, soared to $254,100 at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery’s two-session clock and antique auction held Saturday, Nov. 14th, in the firm’s gallery at 1485 Housatonic Street in Pittsfield. It was a new world auction record for an E. Howard No. 43.

animated French industrial clockFontaine’s is no stranger to setting new auction records for E. Howard clocks. In an auction held in 2014 – on Nov. 22-23 – the firm set a new world auction record for any E. Howard clock at auction when a No. 47 wall-hanging astronomical regulator hit $356,950. The previous record, set in November 2013, was $277,300, for a No. 68 astronomical regulator – also at Fontaine’s.

The Nov. 14 auction was packed with 475 lots of rare and vintage clocks, watches and various other unusual and desirable timepieces, made by some of the most renowned names in horology. Also featured were original paintings, sterling silver, furniture, estate jewelry and lamps by makers such as Tiffany Studios, Pairpoint, Handel and Duffner & Kimberly, plus other items.

The E. Howard No. 43 was the undisputed star lot in an auction that grossed about $1.5 million. The clock had a 14-inch reverse painted glass astronomical dial with a sweep minute hand and five-hour numbers, housed in a beautiful carved walnut floor standing case with a shell carved crest over a figural maiden’s head. Jars were made by the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company.

Over 1,200 people participated in the auction, with 100 people attending live and in person, and 920 others registering to bid online, via, and In addition, nearly 150 phone bidders kept Fontaine’s staffers busy throughout the day, and about 75 absentee bidders helped round out the day’s tally.

“In all, it was a great sale, with Howard clocks, French clocks, mystery clocks, Tiffany lighting and estate jewelry all bringing high prices,” said John Fontaine of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. “The mid-level merchandise held its own but, as expected, the truly great items carried the day.”

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

Another lot topped the $100,000 mark. It was a Chinese triple fusee animated bracket clock with 6-inch porcelain dial and a carved teakwood bracket clock case. Animated mechanism, activated by bell strike, involved rods that simulated rainfall and Chinese acrobats on a platform appeared from behind one door and disappeared behind another. This very clever clock brought $108,900.

The No. 43 wasn’t the only E. Howard clock in the auction. An E. Howard No. 68 astronomical floor regulator, 105 inches tall but with a replaced crest and signed metal dial, reached $84,700; and an astronomical regulator wall clock with 13-inch silvered signed dial made $9,075. Also, a bronze animated French locomotive industrial clock, 18 inches tall, gaveled for $33,275.

Tops in the jewelry category was a Cartier platinum and pave set diamond ring in the form of a panther cat, with emerald green eyes, in the original box ($30,250). Silver was led by a Russian silver samovar (highly decorated tea urn) by Mikhail Ovchinnikov, 19 inches tall ($12,100). As for bronze, a relief bronze figural nude of a woman by Maollol (Fr., 1861-1944), rose to $10,890.

Tiffany lamps were a huge attraction for bidders. A Gold Turtleback table lamp with an 18-inch diameter shade having a geometric brick background went for $24,200; a Red Acorn table lamp with 16-inch domical shade, also with geometric brick background, realized $18,150; and a Green Damascene double student lamp with a pair of 10-inch damascene shades fetched $9,680.

A monumental oak R. J. Horner 9-tube grandfather clock with a 12-inch silvered dial, signed “Tiffany & Co., New York,” and tubes signed “Walter H. Durfee & Company,” 106 inches tall, reached $18,150; a Gothic carved mahogany 9-tube grandfather clock with a large brass dial signed by Waltham Clock Co., 104 ¼ inches tall, attained $13,915; and an exceptional 9-tube grandfather clock with a French rococo style carved mahogany case, 110 inches high, hit $9,680.

Other French clocks were also coveted. A French industrial animated steam engine clock with tri-tone bronze and rouge marble case in the form of a steam engine pump breezed to $21,780; a French annular clock with standing gilt bronze nude female figures (“The 3 Graces”) achieved $20,570; and a marble, bronze and brass French industrial quarter deck clock went for $10,890.

A French glass dial mystery clock attributed to Robert Houdin (the clockmaker and renowned 19th century magician, whose last name was the inspiration for Harry Houdini’s stage name), brought $13,310; a Planchon (Paris) bronze one-hand sector clock, with painted shoreline scenic landscape and figures, 17 ¾ inches tall, hammered for $11,495; and a German Biedermeier one-year Laterndluhr wall regulator in a mahogany case with enhanced original finish, hit $13,310.

A Chelsea (Boston) ward room clock with 12-inch silvered metal dial signed “Tiffany & Co., New York,” in a massive forged brass case, finished at $12,100; a monumental 40-inch Walter Harris (London) bracket clock with signed 11-inch silvered dial made $10,285; and an Ansonia No. 14 hanging jewelers regulator with 11-inch porcelain dial and excellent case rose to $9,680.

From lamps and lighting, a three-light Austrian bronze chandelier depicting flying bats with wings spread and facing tail-to-tail, unsigned, lit up the room for $10,285; and a Handel Parrot reverse painted table lamp with 18-inch domical shade showing parrots, a butterfly and lush foliage, sold for $8,470. In the furniture category, a carved rosewood turtle-top marble-top parlor table attributed to Alexander Roux, with a fine French polished finish, topped out at $12,100.

Fontaine’s has several compelling auctions on tap for the coming weeks and months. On Saturday, Dec. 12th, as six-session collectors auction will be held, featuring over 400 lots of antique medical devices, quack and electroshock instruments, ephemera, a large collection of World Wars I and II posters, American Indian artifacts, coins, trains, comics and other items.

Then, Fontaine’s will ring in the New Year on Saturday, Jan. 30th, with an estate sale, featuring merchandise pulled from prominent local estates and collections. That will be followed by a major clocks and antiques auction (similar in size and scope to the sale described in this story), slated for Saturday, Feb. 27. All three auctions will be conducted in Fontaine’s Pittsfield gallery.??Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is the oldest operating auction gallery in Western Massachusetts. It has earned the trust of collectors, investors and gallery owners worldwide. All cataloged lots receive nationwide exposure to the firm’s database of more than 19,000 select 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 items, to include furniture, lighting, clocks and watches, paintings, porcelains, bronze and marble statuary, Asian items, art glass and cameo glass, Russian objects, silver, musical, coin-op, advertising, toys, banks, gaming and carousel items for future sales. Consignments are currently being accepted for all the upcoming auctions.??The firm will buy outright or accept on consignment fine antiques, collections or entire estates. Call (413) 448-8922 and ask to speak with John Fontaine, or you can send Mr. Fontaine an e-mail to [email protected]. For more information about Fontaine’s Auction Gallery and the slate of upcoming auctions, visit Updates are posted frequently.?