Hi, I wanted to know the value of my antique lyre clock. This clock was given to me by my grandmother. It is over 200 years old and was acquired in a auction in the 70s. It needs restoration. I was curious on value as it is and restored what would be the value. Thank you for your time. I'll wait for your response. :)
From my grandmother.
Thank you for sending in your family heirloom clock set to meareto.com for an appraisal. I shall try to help you with that today.
Dore bronze, cobalt blue ceramic, clear paste gemstones and brass, "lyre" mantel clock made in the Louis XVIth style with matching candelabra garniture, made and sold by Le Roy & Fils, 13 & 15 Palais Royal, Paris, circa 1875-1885.
Received from the client’s grandmother with the story that it was two hundred years old.
CLOCK CASE: 40.5 cm x 20.5 cm x 19.5 cm, Dore bronze and cobalt blue ceramic, lyre shaped mantel clock surmounted by a gilt bronzed sunburst over the cobalt blue ceramic lyre arms with applied beaded borders and Dore bronze flowering foliate mounted bell flowers which enclose the ring of clear paste gemstones which form the dial surround, enclosing the brass glazed and beaded dial bezel. Below is a ‘socle’ base of blue porcelain with applied ormolu foliate drapery mounts. The base below is festooned with beading and barley twist gilt ornamentation above another section of golden waves leading down to the round base resting on brass toupie feet. The clock sits on a gilt painted kidney shaped-platform.
CLOCK GARNITURE: The set consists of a pair of cobalt blue porcelain capped urns with Dore bronze bands at the intersection of the cap and the body of the urn with Egyptian style golden male and female caryatids extending down the body of the urns along with drapery swags and terminating in four cloven feet. At the top and supported by the urns is a gilt metal stem extending upwards from the cap finial to form a three bobeches candle-holder with an arboreal and floral design, very much in the Art Nouveau style seen circa 1875-1910 in European decorative arts. The base of each urn candelabra is round and follows the pattern of the lyre clock base.
DIAL: White porcelain dial with enameled Arabic hours, open dotted minute track, the hours scalloped to the inside with blue beaded drapery swags hung from gilt rosettes, the rosettes placed at each half hour marker. There is a tiny Brocot aperture located above the twelve for altering the speed of the movement with a specific French clock key. The shaped gilt hands are replicas of the French late 18th century style seen during the reign of King Louis XVIth. The dial is signed Le Roy & Fils, Paris, 13 & 15 Palais Royal. (See History below).
MOVEMENT: The movement is placed behind a gilt brass fenestrated round door screen and is not shown. My guess is that this is a round solid brass plate movement connected with tubular pillars which are pinned at the back plate, anchor escapement, steel cut pinions, steel arbors and powered by twin barrel springs of eight day duration and striking the hour and half hour on either a silvered bell (pre-1880) or a coiled gong (post 1880). The movement may or may not be signed. A large gridiron pendulum with rods alternately steel and brass for temperature compensation hangs from a support at the upper end of the case frame and the movement sits behind the jeweled dial which acts as the pendulum bob. The bob slowly swings back and forth over a very short distance.
CONDITION: The case is in excellent condition, missing two gemstones in the dial surround, but otherwise appears fine. Dial is in very good to excellent condition. The garniture appears intact. The movement is not shown and is nonfunctional.
COMMENTARY: Such clocks were made starting circa 1780 under the reign of Louis XVIth. They are similar in appearance to this later edition (about a century later), but originally were done in marble (mostly white) with a dial that often had large apertures in the center allowing one to see the fineness of the gearing or using solid dials signed by the clockmaker. The 18th century movements were almost always signed by the clock maker as well. The cases were always made of marble at this early time and the dial surrounds usually had sun’s rays with laurel leaves made of fire gilt bronze hanging freely around the side of the dial. Often the top of the lyre was decorated with birds or animal heads. So, the style became popular once again about a century later and was remade in the fourth quarter of the 19th century with variations, usually made in a less expensive manner than in the 18th century but generally following the above description. Such clocks especially when combined in garniture sets most often were manufactured during the Art Nouveau era of 1875-1910.
HISTORY OF THIS FIRM:
Le Roy & Fils, 13 & 15 Palais Royal, Paris: Was founded by Theodore LeRoy (b. 1788-1839) who moved his clock business to the Palais Royal in 1813. In 1827 he formed a partnership with August Pierre Lepaute, and later that year they became clockmakers to the crown or king (Brevet d'horlogers du Roi). Since 1839 they became known as Le Roy & Fils. Theodore's son also joined the firm during this period. The family sold the company in 1843 to M Fraigneau who continued under the same name, 'Le Roy & Fils" The name was unchanged when the company was sold to Schaeffer in 1871, Clercetti in 1883 and Thomas Garnier in 1924. Helping with dating their clocks is the fact that the firm moved from 13 & 15 Palais Royal in Paris to Avenue Opera sometime post 1883. They finally closed down in 1960 under litigation from the firm L. Leroy & Cie, another branch of the family, specifically descending from Charles Leroy, the founder born in 1765.
~https://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/french-blue-cobalt-lyre-set-signd-oppenheimer-5984114aa1 (sold in 2019, same set as yours, for $2500) ~https://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/antique-french-clock-garniture-a3c4e44adc (sold in 2019 for $2250, a similar clock garniture.)
~https://www.barnebys.com/realized-prices/lot/c-1890-french-cobalt-blue-lyre-clock-with-matching-garnitures-also-Xu87bHq7s (sold in 2008 for $7500)
~https://www.barnebys.com/realized-prices/lot/546-french-3-piece-dore-bronze-lyre-set-nr-dFk4Ka519 (same set sold in 2007 for $7250)
https://www.barnebys.com/realized-prices/lot/cobalt-blue-porcelain-dore-bronze-clock-MdTxJe0q60 (Just the clock with no garniture sold for $6750 in 2013)
(In 2010 it was withdrawn because the clock with garniture only reached $3850)
I have had second thoughts about your inquiry concerning value when working and when not working (its current state). I really think that the beauty of this set is such that if someone is attracted to it, I do not think it would really matter whether the movement needs repair or not, as long as it is complete. I assume it is complete and not missing components. What is difficult to understand is today’s market value because in years past the clock alone without the garniture or without the garniture would sell in the $6500-$7500 range at auction. Today the market has devalued clocks across the board, even French clocks that bought big numbers a few years ago. Now, I will say that when these lyre clocks come onto the market from the late 18th or very early years of the 19th century they bring high numbers, especially on the retail side. There was recently a white marble example of this clock offered retail on 1st dbs selling for 9500 GBPounds = $11000+. So, if you study the dates and the prices that I have expanded for you to look at you will understand that whether working or not you can expect it to sell at auction (fair market value) for about $2500+/-. It is a beautiful set with minor problems and not working and, studying it once again I feel it would sell in the range described above. The retail market would buy this clock, fix it up, get it running and offer the set for at least $7000+. Since you are not a retailer you would not be above to sell it for that higher price.
I hope that this clock is clearly described and the pricing is also fully explained as it is today. If anything, the presence of the covid-19 virus in today's world has further damaged the prices of all antiques, and few are putting their fine antiques into this weak marketplace, at least at this time.
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