Skeleton Clock, New England Tall Clocks Lead Skinner’s April Auction of Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments

Louis E. Meyer 'Grand Complication' Skeleton Clock, St. Charles, Missouri, 1876 (Lot 138, Estimate $20,000-$40,000)

Louis E. Meyer ‘Grand Complication’ Skeleton Clock, St. Charles, Missouri, 1876 (Lot 138, Estimate $20,000-$40,000)

MARLBOROUGH, MA – Skinner, Inc.’s spring auction of Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments will offer a broad range of outstanding and affordable technical collectibles for both the beginning and advanced collector. To be held on Friday, April 29 at 10AM in Skinner’s Marlborough gallery, the sale will present over 350 carefully curated lots, many of them drawn from private collections from across the country.

“Grand Complication” Skeleton Clock

For the lover of technical horology, the Louis E. Meyer “Grand Complication” Skeleton Clock (Lot 138, estimated between $20,000 and $40,000) features a three-train movement powering seven dials which, in addition to telling the time, record equation of time, perpetual calendar, date of leap year, and lunar calculations, all while striking the quarters and hour with automata hitting bells with their hammers.

Simon Willard Mahogany Eight-day Tall Clock, Roxbury, Massachusetts, c. 1795 (Lot 107, Estimate $18,000-$28,000)

Simon Willard Mahogany Eight-day Tall Clock, Roxbury, Massachusetts, c. 1795 (Lot 107, Estimate $18,000-$28,000)

New England Clocks of the Federal Era

Highlights from a private collection of fine American clocks include rarities such as a George Marsh Hollow Column Clock (Lot 133, $4,000-$6,000), circa 1840; lyre wall clocks; a Reuben Tower Patent Timepiece with Alarm (Lot 125, $2,500-$4,500); and a Cherry Tall Clock by David Wood of Newburyport, Massachusetts (Lot 115, $7,000-$9,000) –  a rare example of a small eight-day tall clock, by an important maker, in near pristine condition. Among other important American Federal-era tall clocks in the sale are examples by Simon Willard of Roxbury, Massachusetts (Lot 107, $18,000-$28,000) and Levi and Abel Hutchins of Concord, New Hampshire (Lot 116, $10,000-$15,000), as well as a Tall Clock with Rocking Ship Automaton by James Doull of Charlestown, Massachusetts, with the case attributed to Thomas Seymour (Lot 104, $8,000-$12,000).

Other Timepieces

Other clocks in the sale include a private Midwestern collection of Austrian year-duration floor and wall clocks, for those collectors who want to wind a clock only once a year. American and European watches range from groupings of dozens of watches per lot, ideal for the beginning repairer, to minute-repeating Swiss watches for the more advanced collector, all with estimates ranging from $200 to $5,000.

Scientific Instruments and Mechanical Music

John Heilig Brass Surveyor's Compass, c. 1800 (Lot 304, Estimate $6,000-$8,000)

John Heilig Brass Surveyor’s Compass, c. 1800 (Lot 304, Estimate $6,000-$8,000)

Featured within a variety of scientific instruments offered are a Geared Tellurian Attributed to W. Jones (Lot 295, $1,500-$2,500) and 18th-century surveying compasses by Jacob Quincy of New York (Lot 303, $200-$250 ) and John Helig of Germantown, Pennsylvania (Lot 304, $6,000-$8,000). Along with an attractive selection of cylinder music boxes, this portion of the sale also features several rarities of mechanical music: a Coin-operated Mills Novelty Violano Virtuoso (Lot 280, $15,000-$25,000); a Coin-operated Polyphone 19 1/2-inch Disc Musical Box (Lot 283, $3,000-$5,000); and a Wurlitzer Model 1015 “Bubbler” Jukebox from the 1940s (Lot 292, $2,000-$4,000).

Evening Gallery Walk

Please join Skinner on Thursday, April 28 at 6:30PM for a gallery walk featuring Robert C. Cheney, Director of the Clocks, Watches & Scientific Instruments department. Mr. Cheney will review highlights of the upcoming sale and will provide “A Forensic Look at a Simon Willard Eight-day Clock.” This event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served, but space is limited. Please RSVP to 508-970-3240 or

Previews, Catalog, and Bidding

Previews for the auction are free and open to the public. Previews will be held in Marlborough on Wednesday, April 27 and Thursday, April 28 from noon to 7PM, and on Friday, April 29 from 8AM to 9:30AM. Illustrated catalog 2890M is available from the Subscriptions Department at 508-970-3240 or from the Gallery. Prices realized will be available online at during and after the sale. The Skinner website also enables users to view all lots in the auction, leave bids, order catalogs and bid live, in real-time through SkinnerLive!

About Skinner

Skinner auctions draw international interest from buyers and consignors alike, with material regularly achieving record prices. The company’s auction and appraisal services focus on fine art, jewelry, furniture, and decorative arts from around the globe, as well as wine, fine musical instruments, rare books, Asian art, clocks, Judaica, and more. Monthly Skinner Discovery auctions feature a breadth of estate material. Widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the business, Skinner appraisers have appeared on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, since the show’s inception. Skinner has galleries in Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts, as well as in New York City and Miami, Florida, with bidders participating in person, by phone, and online. Join auctions live with SkinnerLive! and Bidsquare. For more information and to read our blog, visit the website at, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter or Instagram.

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