June 22, 2018
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It may be time to call a specialist to date vintage clock

Photos courtesy of www.sothebys.com
Photos courtesy of www.sothebys.com
The platinum and diamond sautoir with pendant sold for almost $1.9 million, and the emerald with diamonds ring brought $746,500 recently at Sotheby’s New York.
By Danielle Arnet, Tribune Media Services

Q: What can you tell us about this clock? The works are by a maker in Frankfurt, Germany. We believe the casing may be French.

A: The mantel clock seen in an image sent appears to be a late 19th century decorative piece that includes a marble base, bronze figures and gilt fittings, including lion feet. Two standing female figures in neo-classic dress flank a clock face embedded in a column, as they hold a Cupid aloft.

Pennsylvania clock specialist Gordon Converse, converseclocks.com, has sold all types of high-end timepieces for decades, from historic floor clocks to table, carriage and mantel clocks.

Looking over the image, Converse noted an outside, or visible escapement on the clock face. Escapements figure in accuracy.

“That would date the clock about 1870-1910,” he told us.

Converse surmised that the clock might originally have been part of a garniture, a 3-piece decorative set of a clock flanked by matching candleholders or vases.

Smart collectors know that when old clocks are examined, the works are often by one maker and the case by another. If the components are from different eras, it matters.

Sometimes cases and works are not paired for years. Some are swapped generations later, when works are removed from an existing clock and inserted into another.

In this instance, it’s quite possible that works by a German clockmaker were inserted into a decorative clock casement of a later date. This case may be French or European.

In short, a clock specialist needs to examine the clock to determine if the works and case match time-wise.

If everything lines up, Converse thinks value at auction could be about $1,200. For an overview of realized prices on a variety of French and European clocks, key liveauctioneers.com.

FYI: Converse also sells furniture, clocks and decorative antiques at auction. Key auctionsatconverse.com. The site has links for restoration and written appraisals.

Q: What is this? I bought it from a dealer who said she got it from a fisherman who brought her things he found washed up on the beach. Not sure how true the story is.

A: What I see in the image sent is a weathered necklace most likely made in India. Twenty-four “tails” with decorative ends that hang from a hammered main shield are intended to ring as the wearer moves.

The piece is neither very old nor valuable. The colored stones are semiprecious and the metal is a silver alloy.

Call it ethnic costume jewelry and enjoy it. That’s why you bought it!

Q: Cleaning out a closet, we found these four matching glass vases. Any info?

A: Check the bottom of your “vases.” Note that each ends with a solid brass fitting less than a half-inch wide. There’s no way those glass pieces could stand alone as vases.

The conical glass shapes with long stems are from a Victorian epergne. A tiered table or sideboard centerpiece often made of silver, glass or a combination of both, elegant epergnes consist of a base or holder plus inserts.

The good news on the inserts we see in a photo is that they are cranberry glass wound with raised clear glass spirals. Cranberry glass is immensely popular, and the four pieces appear to be in perfect condition.

The bad news is that the base is missing. I suggest a hunt for the base. If nothing turns up, post the inserts in an online auction. First, check completed prices online for epergnes and their components.

Someone out there with a base but no inserts will be thrilled to find a replacement set.

Auction Action: High-end jewels sold phenomenally as the past year closed. When Sotheby’s New York sold Magnificent Jewels, an oval diamond ring brought almost $1.9 million, or $79,361 per carat. A circa 1924 diamond sautoir (a super-long chain or beaded necklace) with pendant brought almost $1.9 million. A cushion-shape emerald ring of 12-plus carats flanked by large half-moon diamonds fetched $746,500.

Collector Quiz

Q: Smart collectors know that women’s lingerie of the 1920s to ’80s reflects the changing roles of women during that span. Can you match these garments with their time frame?

1. The teddy a. 1960s

2. Lace and silk nightgown b. 1970s

3. Silk charmeuse slip c. 1950s

4. Stiff net crinoline d. 1930s

5. Nylon combination teddy e. 1980s

6. Nylon print half-slip f. 1920s

7. Shortie nightgown g. 1940s

A: Answers: 1-f, 2-d, 3-g, 4-c, 5-e, 6-b, 7-a. Source: “Irresistible: The Art of Lingerie 1920s-1980s,” by Desire Smith (Schiffer,$39.99). Quality examples, photographed on mannequins for verisimilitude.

Danielle Arnet welcomes questions from readers. She cannot respond to each one individually, but will answer those of general interest in her column. Send email to smartcollector@comcast.netor write Danielle Arnet, c/o Tribune Media Services, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1400, Chicago, IL 60611. Please include an address in your query. Photos cannot be returned.

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