Hofuhrmacher "beehive" mantel clock - berlin

Jan 24, 2020. 14:15 UTC
Hofuhrmacher "Beehive" Mantel Clock - Berlin
Ralph
United States of America

Category
Clocks

Acquired from
Inherited

For sale
Yes
Description

11 inches tall / 7.75 inches wide at base/ unsure of material reasonable condition no longer works but was maintained and serviced through the 1960's includes all parts including key and chime hinge on face slightly worn

Provenance

Clock belonged to Josef Samson, a Berlin born Jew who emigrated to the United States. Doctor Samson was a trained physician who was born in Berlin in 1878. He practiced medicine there until 1932. He left for France only a month after Hitler came to power and the Reichstag fire in 1932. He and his much younger wife Kate lived in Paris until the early 1940's. They were both sent to internment camps in early 1940. They successfully made it the New York through Lisbon in 1942. Dr Samson practiced medicine in Berlin, then Paris and the New York. He died in 1962. His wife Kate died in 2006 and this clock was part of their estate. We know that the clock traveled with them from Berlin. We have pictures of their apartment there from the 1910's and 20's which show a number of their possessions. I believe I also have the bill of lading for items which were shipped to the US in 1942. The Samson's story is chronicled in the book One More Moon which is on Amazon.

Answered within about 7 hours
Jan 24, 20:46 UTC
By David

Fair Market Value

$500 - $600 USD

Insurance Value

$1,100 USD
What does this mean?

Hello Ralph,
Thank you for sending this very special mantel clock to mearto.com for an appraisal. I shall try to help you with that today.
Title:
Mahogany and brass inlaid, double spring, eight day time and striking, bracket cabinet clock in the English manner, made by Conrad Feising, Court Clockmaker, Berlin, German, circa 1890-1900.
Provenance: Provenance: Clock belonged to Josef Samson, a Berlin born Jew who immigrated to the United States. Doctor Samson was a trained physician who was born in Berlin in 1878. He practiced medicine there until 1932. He left for France only a month after Hitler came to power and the Reichstag fire in 1932. He and his much younger wife Kate lived in Paris until the early 1940's. They were both sent to internment camps in early 1940. They successfully made it the New York through Lisbon in 1942. Dr. Samson practiced medicine in Berlin, then Paris and the New York. He died in 1962. His wife Kate died in 2006 and this clock was part of their estate. We know that the clock traveled with them from Berlin. We have pictures of their apartment there from the 1910's and 20's which show a number of their possessions. I believe I also have the bill of lading for items which were shipped to the US in 1942. The Samson's story is chronicled in the book One More Moon which is on Amazon.

Case: 11” tall x 7.75” wide at base, this is a rounded arch, cabinet mantel clock (bracket clock) made in the English style of the 20th century. The case is solid mahogany with brass inlays. The arched top is smooth without decoration and falls vertically at the sides to the ebonized stepped base molding transitioning down to the mahogany base board resting on four brass ogee bracket feet. The glazed brass bezel sits at the top of the façade while just below there is shaped brass string inlay. An arched door at the back opens to reveal the movement compartment. The door has a brass crosshatched mesh plate backed by cloth to allow the chiming to resonate through the room.

Dial: White enameled round dial with upright Arabic hours, open dotted minute track marked with red Arabic numerals every fifteen minutes. There are two winding apertures for the movement and a Brocot small aperture @12 for altering the speed of the movement. There are steel Continental type spade hands. The dial is signed by the clockmaker, "Conrad Feising, Hofuhrmacher (Court clockmaker), Berlin". (During the early years of the 20th century German clockmakers rarely put their names on the dials of their clocks because they wanted to develop their own market share with America an England. The German clockmakers felt that English speaking countries would not buy their clocks and they made clocks in the English and American styles, but priced below that of their competitors. This practice was fairly universal up until the start of WWII. So, this example which is so clearly marked by the clockmaker, and proudly so, was certainly made prior to 1900)

Movement: A square solid brass plate movement, not signed as far as I can tell, but definitely German. At the top of the back brass plate is the pendulum suspension bridge held on by two screws. The rounded suspension is almost 100% proof that the maker was German. The plates are held together at the four corners by four pillars (not seen) and screwed together at the rear plate with washers and screws (indicates post 1900 origin.). The movement has an anchor escapement with rack and snail striking, butterfly wheel, and is powered by two steel springs for a duration of eight days and striking every thirty minutes on the coiled gong with round brass base and long threaded pole attached to be the base of the case. The brass crutch passes through the brass pendulum rod with round brass bob at the base.

Condition: Movement – original, genuine but no longer works. Dial – Remains in very good condition for its age. Case – Wear to the finish of the case especially at the top.
In this particular situation, just perfect as it sits! I would not do a thing to this clock, unless you really feel the need to have it running.
History: Conrad Feising was working as a clock and watch maker in Berlin circa 1860. He participated in many exhibitions, made pocket watches, table clocks and longcase clocks, and was well known in those years as "Court Clockmaker" in Berlin.
Pricing: Well, of course, the story is finer than the clock. In today’s weak clock market it is not going to bring much, but the real value lies in the heart and soul of what this mantel clock has witnessed is worth far more than its value on the auction stage. You should put all of your information together with this clock and with the book One More Moon.
It is difficult for me to put a price on this piece, but that is my job, and if it were sold with all of the information that you possess with it I would say that in a market that may have valued such a piece at $200 it would bring $500-$600 at auction. Of course, a retailer selling this would be somewhat higher.
I hope that helps you pinpoint where and when this clock was made, to go along with your most interesting story of the enforced world travels of a true healer.
My best,
David

Ralph webster Jan 25, 12:42 UTC

David, thanks for your amazing work - simply amazing. As a followup I have attached 2 more photos - first a closer look at the clockface. "Hofuhrmacher" is clear. Could the other be "Conrad Felsing", a name I have seen on the internet? The second photo is of a room (not the best room) in their Berlin apartment (probably taken between 1920 and 1932 - perhaps right before the left for France. You can see the clock clearly.

I am certain, as you mentioned, that the clock was obtained sometime in the early 1900's as Josef was first married in 1904 (his first wife died in 1915) - and I am reasonably certain this was one of their possessions.

As an aside, our connection is that Josef and Katie stayed at a pensione owned by my grandparents in Naples in 1935. They became good friends of my grandparents - a relationship that continued for some 80 years as my wife and I became close friends with Katie in the later years of her life. She became a annual visitor to our home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and we became every 2 month visitors to her apartment on Riverside Drive in NYC - her home from 1942 when they arrived until her death in 2006.

There are other possessions so the clock does not have so much sentimental value that we want to keep it (and our grown children have filled their homes with their own possessions). So we plan to sell it (including the book is a great idea). Without any other guidance I imagine I will put it on Ebay and see what happens. (There is no "clock" market her on the Outer Banks).

Mostly I wanted to say thank you. What a wonderful service!

Ralph

David Jan 25, 15:20 UTC

Good morning Frank,
Many thanks for your kind comments. I do believe, looking at the new close-up photo, that the clockmaker was definitely Conrad Feising who was indeed the "Court Clockmaker" in Berlin. He began working circa 1860 and certainly could have worked into the 20th century. He made pocket watches and clocks including large examples (grandfather type clocks).
If you decide to sell it on E-Bay with all of the artifacts, I would stress how rare it is to find a German clock in America with the name and title of the clockmaker and Berlin written on the dial on the dial (I have been doing appraisals in my retirement since 2006, and have never seen a dial signed in this manner since the Germans primarily made clocks for export to England and America). Also stress the long term connection to your Italian grandparents in Naples and the long term desire to make a life in America -a true American success story. I do not know if E-Bay is the best way to sell this clock and having vacationed on those barrier islands, they are pretty well isolated from the clock market, but the clock market is weak in the rest of the country also. If you do go in that direction I would not use a minimum for the sale, I would just let it go to a person who really wants to own a clock loaded with the weight of this story.
I am going to readjust my appraisal to reflect a slightly earlier date for this clock, now that I know the name of the maker, and I will add his name to the appraisal after I send you this comment, so the changes will be made in the next few minutes after you receive this.
I spent my own working life as a physician, born in 1938 in NYC. If I had been born in Berlin in 1938 I have no doubt I would not be helping you with this appraisal today.
Again, thank you for your kind comments and thank you for using mearto.com
My best,
David

Ralph webster Jan 25, 15:37 UTC

Thank you.. One last question. May I use the descriptive information you have given me (cut and paste) in the eBay listing?

David Jan 25, 16:37 UTC

YES, feel free to use any or all the appraisal info, but not our personal notes
best of luck,
David

Ralph webster Jan 26, 13:54 UTC

Thank you...It just occurred to me that my first cousin was born in Berlin in 1938. Now a retired physician living in Indiana he, his parents, and my grandparents (not the Italian side) fled to Shanghai in late spring of 1940. My father was sent to Scotland on his own at age 16 in mid 1939 (where he was later interned on the Isle of Mann). The 3rd sibling, my aunt, perished in a camp. My book A Smile in One Eye, A Tear in the Other tells the complete and desperate story.

David Jan 26, 16:00 UTC

Quite a family story. I imagine there are a host of others that went untold.
Let me know how this story finally ends.
Best of luck,
David

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