52.             $500

Birge & Fuller double-steeple with wagon spring movement and side columns, 1844-1848.  A very unusual clock – note the columns on each side.  There is only one otherknown example, in the Henry Ford Museum.  But before you get too excited, this clock is probably not authentic.  The 27.5-inch case sits on bun feet (may not be original) and has walnut veneer.  The upper door has some damage and repair; the unusual finials are not typical but match those found on the Ford Museum example.  The dial glass is modern, the two cut and frosted glass tablets are probably period replacements.  The dial was repainted by The Dial House, the hands are period.  The 8-day, time-and-strike movement is signed Birge & Fuller and is driven by an Ives wagon spring (accelerating equalizing lever spring).  It is running and striking.  There is a very dark Birge & Fuller label behind plastic inside.  Now for the issue:  While the columns look like they could be period/original, the cornice on top of each is clearly not original.  Nor is the backing piece behind the columns.  There’s really no argument about this, I and several experts (including my good friend Philip Morris) have examined this clock and all agreed that the cornices are recent additions.  So, if you take away the columns, cornices, and side backboards you have a standard double steeple where all you need to add back are four 2 5/8-inch-tall blocks and four cone finials. There is also a triangular wedge that sits behind the lower blocks (see, for example, #47).  It would appear that some not-so-clever forger modified a standard double-steeple by removing the blocks and cone finials and adding columns and cornices.  But beyond that, it’s not a bad looking clock, and is a replica(?) of a very rare model.  $500–$1500.

Scott Nainis has provided some interesting and provocative information on a previous version of this clock, which sold at Cottone's  in 2017.  The clock offered here has had some "improvements" added after the Cottone sale, designed, it appears, to make it more like the clock in the Ford Museum.  This raises the question as to the originality and authenticity of the clock before the later modifications.  A very interesting clock! 

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Antique American Clocks                     JULY 2024

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