Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Antiques PR Publicity Announcements News and Information


An exceedingly rare 18th century English-made pagoda form automaton musical clock, produced for the Chinese Qing Imperial Court, is expected to soar to $800,000-$1.2 million at an Antique & Fine Arts Auction planned for Saturday, Jan. 21st, by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery, in the firm’s showroom at 1485 Housatonic Street in Pittsfield, at 10 am EST.

The clock is the expected top lot in a sale that will feature over 500 items, including a fine clock collection, watches, music boxes, Tiffany lighting, exceptional furniture, oil paintings, bronzes, estate jewelry, fine silver and accessories. Internet bidding will be provided by, and the Fontaine’s Auction Gallery website,
The clock is magnificent: 50 inches tall (raised, on a large black wood block base) and weighing 100 pounds. It has an engraved chessboard pattern brass top, with 5-inch painted metal dials on the front and both sides and Roman hour numerals. The time movement triggers the automaton mechanism once every two hours, and the heavy bronze case has elegant color paste set jewels.

The case form is based on the Porcelain Pagoda of Nanjing (or the Temple of Repaid Gratitude), built in the 15th century, during the Chinese Ming dynasty. It was mostly destroyed in the 19th century, during the Taiping Rebellion, but with nine stories and a staircase in the middle, it was one of the tallest buildings in China and often called one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

As beautiful as the clock is physically, it is equally enchanting musically. It plays two different tunes on a nest of eight bells, including the old Chinese folk song Mo Li Hau, which has been popular since the 17th century, in China and elsewhere. The pagoda animates every two hours, corresponding to the 12-hour Chinese time system. The music also plays every two hours.

Previews will be held on Friday, Jan. 20, from 10-5, and on Saturday, Jan. 21, auction day, from 8 a.m. until the first gavel falls at 10 a.m. See the website for terms and conditions, plus info on how to register to bid: Phone and absentee bids will be accepted.

Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is actively seeking quality items, to include furniture, lighting, clocks and watches, paintings, porcelains, bronze and marble statuary, Asian items, art glass and cameo glass, Russian objects, silver, musical, coin-op, advertising, toys, banks, gaming and carousel items for future sales. Consignments are currently being accepted for all the upcoming auctions.

The firm will buy outright or accept on consignment fine antiques, collections or entire estates. Call (413) 448-8922 and ask to speak with John Fontaine, or you can send Mr. Fontaine an e-mail to [email protected]. For more information about the company and the upcoming Saturday, Jan. 21st auction, please visit Updates are posted often.