But, I know enough to be a little dangerous....more than the average antique auction goer, for sure. But, not enough to be a 100% sure I am bidding on a piece that will make my month. Not very many people do know for 100% sure that they will do very, very well on most pieces they buy at auction. You might have a darn good idea, and odds may well be in you favor, but 100% for sure?
Ok, so you paid a buck for it, fine, it has to be worth $20. But many items are bought on spec, using the knowledge you do have. However, you might be lacking in certain specialized knowledge, or at least need a reference book to confirm your suspicions....which ,may well not be at hand when you need it.
Oh, those many reference books!
I really need many, many more...but, they are not cheap. I do own 300+ so....and that counts only the price guides, books of marks, and specialized reference books on certain companies, makes (etc) of things. I've also gotten rid of many of my "general" price guides, as most of them are of limited use when it comes to researching items. Values on many things seem to be very out of whack, even in many of the pretty current ones.
Anyway, that 300+ figure does not include the vintage catalog collection I maintain. I utilize that collection to date certain items, identify things, etc....and they number in around that same figure. Oh, and that number also does not include all the area history books, maps, history books, and a long list of odd books and other paper ephemera that I utilize researching leads, provenance of items, etc.
So, let's say I have 1000+ pieces in my "reference library"...a mere fraction of what I would really like to have....and a tiny, tiny fraction of my "dream" research library.
Anyway, back to the clock...
In all of this material, I think I have ONE clock book.
Problem is, I can't see to find it at the moment.
Not to worry, I am sitting in front of something that gives me access to a very valuable research tool, unavailable to me until the mid 1990s....and getting bigger all the time.
Yep, access to the INTERNET via my computer.
Surprise, surprise....like you didn't know that already.
SO, let's get started!
I did a quick search for "how to date antique clocks".
And, I found this site: http://www.antiqueclockspriceguide.com/
One problem is to get access to certain information, you need to sign up...a paid membership of some sort, by the looks of things.
But, there is some limited access to some useful info.
Oh, did I mention there was a label with the clock?
No, not a maker's label...but a Post-It-Note....
I am always wary of these things...they are "here-say." I always try to take these little hand penned notes with a grain of salt. It is pretty easy for anyone to write whatever they please on a piece of paper and stick it with the item that is being sold.
"This was great, great Aunt Ethel's, and hung above her bed for her entire life until she died at 112."
Yes, they might contain accurate family history, provenance, real knowledge, etc...but, rely on YOUR knowledge to prove the statements in them true (or false).
They might only be partially correct, if the information has any basis in fact at all.
Heck, it might even be a note that is 100% accurate.....but was not meant to even GO with that item!
So, let's look at this one. It appears to read (in italics):
B137 (with a modern sticker with the same number on it stuck beside that)
Winding arbor broke
Piece of wood missing
Small clock works
More than likely French
or German. L over
100 years old.
I read this, and went, OK, SURE...Um, let's just think about this for a bit....
Ok, say that "Pailey Chapeled" is actually the maker, and not the previous owner of the clock....
What the heck...I did a search for that.
Nothing. No surprise there, really.
So, I carefully looked for a label, one of the other reasons I had taken the panel holding the face off in the first place...to try to identify a maker.
No luck there.
I had also seen the label on the back, which is maybe a model number. A piece of one corner has broken away, which was a good sign for age...the wood underneath wasn't heavily "air burnt"...the wood panel is at least old, and the label has been on it for quite some time. Looks like the corner of the label broke off some time ago, also, as that exposed portion has darkened, also, but not as much as the surrounding surface. Ok, back is quite likely original to the cabinet!
But, no maker's marks....oh, wait a second!
When I looked at the back, I noticed some indenting I had mistaken for scratches.
And I saw where "Pailey Chapeled" had come from....
See anything? Here is one on its side..might be easier to see now...I have also adjusted the contrast a little in my photo editing software program.
I know, really tough to see. But, it does appear to say Pailey Chapeled...
I looked more carefully at what was crudely scratched into the back, and what I finally saw and recognized was:
18 Chapel St.
Now we have something, me thinks!
The scratching also is not recent. The wood's patina in the denting of the scratches is identical to that of the surrounding wood. Looks like it has been there since the clock was made...or added darn recently after.
Still could just be a previous owner...maybe the first owner.
But, might be the maker...so, let's get online!
I use Google the most. Best overall search engine, in my opinion.
But, we did find that clock website, so let's try it first, searching by maker.
I'll try BAILEY.
Hey, yes, under the B's we have some BAILEYS!
But, unless we pay for access this is almost the end of the road....But, we can access photos of some of the clocks these different "Bailey" companies made...so let's do that.
Bailey, Banks and Biddle....hmmm...nope, not all that likely, but who knows what other types they made.
Bailey, Putnam....well, I suppose they are wood....I dunno...maybe...
And, that is it for Bailey...and there is Bailly, but this one definitely reads BailEy.
Well, lets see what else we can glean at this site...
No "No. 849" that I can see...no Bailey, either....If that is the name of the maker, maybe they only used model numbers, no names?
Let's hit Google for a second...
Actually, let's check out the "Clock Types" on this site first...if we can nail down what this style is called, hopefully we can narrow or Google search a bit...
Let's see..what could this clock be called? Here is a pic, for reference:
Column? Not quite...this measures a mere 14 1/4" high....and the ones that are shown I know from what I have seen in similar clocks over the years are almost twice that height....but, there are 57 pages, and need to check 'em all.....ok...be back in 57 mouse clicks! Oh, also, instead of just looking for "this clock", you should be looking for similar base styles, face styles/details, top styles, pendulums, etc...not necessarily just this the exact clock! Those details may lead you to the maker, also! Plus, I think this will just be a long list of any clock utilizing columns in their design..but, this one has columns, so let's look...
Page 17 Well, a clock similar in the style of this one...and likely similar in size...but that is about it...
And they call it a Bracket Clock....so, we have a "type"... I would have said "Shelf Clock"...so I guess I was close, I suppose some would say they are one in the same. Yes, I figured that is what it was called already...and yes I was close...but I didn't know for 100% sure....so why confuse you? Plus have to let everyone else figure it out...can't reveal ALL of what I already know now, can I? Besides, now you know another way to find out what the style is called.
Let's pop open another window, and open up this same site to the main page...just for giggles.
And go to Makers again...
What was the make of that one Bracket Clock again?
Oh, yeah...started with a J....Junghans....
No, not Jughead! Put your Archie comics away please, students!
Let's see....oh geeze, 289 clocks to look at...*sigh*...oh well, let's scan 'em...
OOOO...couple of these look interesting! Ok, for those of you who have gotten distracted and are checking out all the other wild clocks....HEY, FOCUS HERE!
Ah, maybe not...but, we are in the right ilk, anyway...keep lookin'...
OOOO..this is cool!
Oh, yeah, right, I am working here....
So, 16 pages and nothing close...well, a few vaguely like it. I think this one is not the same quality of Junghans. They've been around since the 1860s and are around still, making watches. Worth doing some reading later...some of their more modern stuff might well be worth watching for.
So, lets keep looking for the maker of our Bracket Clock. Oh, and Bracket clock does not actually define ours accurately...judging by the definition. This one sure has no place it ever had a handle...oh well, we'll still go with the same term...well, I suppose it is more likely and better defined as a "Mantle Clock" or "Shelf Clock"...
Oh yeah, that is what I had said, wasn't it ? (as I pat myself on the back...)
Ok, lets keep clickin'...many pages to go yet...
You know, we could have gone straight to "Mantle Clocks"....Oh wait, there is no "Mantle Clocks" section...but there is "SHELF CLOCKS."
But omigawd....over 740 pages....I don't think I am up to clicking that many times...No rum to ease the monotony and carpel tunnel I will eventually develop after 300 clicks...
Well, maybe a few...?
Ok, maybe not...my time is worth more than that....
So, let's try to narrow this down, seeing as we are not getting far....
There was a neat little thing we could use in a search on Google...the street address!
Let's see where that gets us...
Yikes, tons of results...let's narrow it down a bit...
Interesting...but, nothing solid...no clock makers right at that address.
Maybe "clockmaker" as one word?
Even more dismal results...
How about "Bailey" & "18 Chapel St"?
Lots of results....too many...
How about "18 chapel St" "Bailey lived at"?
Ooops, too specific...
Hmmm...so, we know there are tons of Chapel Streets in the world...in England, Australia, US and Canada. and who knows where else....
A dead end?
I guess we'll have to see after I eat...yep, that is it for now....!