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Auctions: Chiming in the new year with year-end sales

Gordon S. Converse & Co., of Strafford, will welcome the new year in timely style next week with a sale featuring more than 100 clocks intended for perches in halls and on walls and mantels - all ticking away the final hours of 2011.

Gordon S. Converse & Co., of Strafford, will welcome the new year in timely style next week with a sale featuring more than 100 clocks intended for perches in halls and on walls and mantels - all ticking away the final hours of 2011.

The 412-lot sale, beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Peoples Light & Theater Company in Malvern, also will feature Chinese and Japanese art, as well as prints, antique furniture, and ceramics. In addition to write-in and absentee bidding, online bidding will be accessible at

The clocks will be offered at the end of the session. Most are late-19th-century American wall clocks, desirable for their decorative qualities, according to a Converse news release.

They include banjo clocks, notably an E. Howard & Co. model 32 inches high by 13½ inches wide and housed in a rosewood case, with a presale estimate of $1,500 to $3,000; an Ansonia "Antique" wall clock, in oak housing with original "barley-twist" weights, expected to bring $2,500 to $3,500; and a rare Waltham Girandole timepiece with a presale estimate of $20,000 to $40,000, the auction's highest.

The clock, which also has a thermometer in the space beneath the dial, known as the "throat," has a serial number "1" on its case, suggesting it is possibly the first of what was likely fewer than 50 examples made, according to the online catalog description.

Other wall clocks include a rare New Haven clock company keyhole, so-called because of the shape of the aperture in its throat ($800 to $1,200); a Gilbert Maranville calendar clock ($600 to $900); a French ormolu and mahogany model with an eight-day movement ($1,800 to $3,000); and an important Austrian or German wall clock 49½ inches high with a 30-day movement, set to tell time in multiple parts of the world and probably displayed in a hotel or public place ($6,000 to $8,000).

Among clocks suited for hallways are a 90-inch-high, early-19th-century, tall-case clock signed "W. Hunter Dunssermiln" ($2,000 to $3,000); and a 101-inch-high, solid-mahogany, chiming hall clock by Elite, with nine tubular bells striking the quarter hour ($2,000 to $3,500).

The mantel clocks are perhaps the most unusual category. They include calendar clocks, Delft porcelain models, and swinger models - in which the entire clock, not just the pendulum, swings to and fro.

The most striking swinger is a late-19th- or early-20th-century, 26½-inch-high model with a cast-metal lady holding a ball-shaped clock from a torsion pendulum - a weighted disc suspended from a wire that rotates rather than swings. It has a presale estimate of $12,000 to $15,000.

Another unusual mantel clock is an early-19th-century, reverse-painted, double-steeple model with a wagon-spring device installed because coiled-steel springs were not yet fully developed. Labeled as Birge & Fuller, circa 1844-48, it has a presale estimate of $2,000 to $4,000.

Also unusual is a rare torsion-pendulum clock 21 inches high and patented by Aaron Crane of New Jersey that could run for a whole year between windings. It has a presale estimate of $6,000 to $8,500. Also, a submarine commemorative clock, in which a sailor waves in triumph as he emerges from the vessel, has a presale estimate of $1,600 to $4,000.

Asian art The auction opens with the Chinese and Japanese art. The more than 200 lots include jade objects, not only white and green, but also yellow, notably an oval-shaped yellow jade with the images of an egret and a lotus bird. Like most of the jade objects, it should bring a low-three-figure price, $200 to $300, although a jade bangle has a presale estimate of $800 to $1,200.

Several other lots are expected to bring four-figure prices. A set of imperial Chinese seals, all within a carved-zitan box, has a presale estimate of $1,500 to $4,000; a 14-inch, 18th-century, blue-and-white charger from the Yong Zheng period should bring $1,000 to $2,000; and a pair of cloisonné cranes as candlesticks has a presale estimate of $3,000 to $5,000.

In addition, a bone or ivory antique carving of a man with a broom has a presale estimate of $2,000 to $3,000. A 10-inch-high, 19th-century, carved-ivory figure of Quan Ying (the Chinese goddess of mercy) holding an oval container has a presale estimate of $7,000 to $12,000.

Fine art includes half a dozen collotypes by Andrew Wyeth, with presale estimates ranging from $800 to $1,800. Furniture includes an assembled set of six Windsor chairs, all in the similar style, one chair signed ($1,500 to $2,000).

Previews: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and 8:30 a.m. to sale time at the theater company, 39 Conestoga Rd. (Route 401). For further information, call 610-722-9004 or 484-431-5543.

More suburban sales Two other suburban galleries are planning year-end sales.

Beginning at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Spring City, the Rhoads & Rhoads Auction Center will offer antiques; Dorothy Huber vintage dolls; a Matchbox and toy-car collection; and a collection of books, paper, and ephemera pertaining to the local community of Kimberton.

The ephemera includes West Vincent Township voter lists, a Keystone Club album from Kutztown University with many turn-of-the-century photo cards, and an 1884 Phoenixville auction poster.

Preview is 1 p.m. to sale time at the gallery at 20 Bonnie Brae Rd. (Route 724). For further information, call 610-385-4818.

Alderfer Auction & Appraisal - beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday at its gallery at 501 Fairgrounds Rd., Hatfield - will conduct an estate sale catering to those brave souls who like to celebrate the new year with a dip in the ocean.

Along with antiques, Boehm figurines, postcard albums, autographed fan-club photos of movie stars, and jewelry, the sale will offer surfing equipment, including men's and women's wet suits and surfboards of varying sizes. The sale will continue, beginning at 4 p.m., with 300 lots of coins and currency.

Preview is 8 a.m. to sale time. For further information, call 215-393-3023 or go to