Is it Genuine or Reproduction?

Genuine or Reproduction French Style Mantel Clock
A modern Italian Reproduction in the Style of a 19th century French Mantel Clock

“Genuine or Reproduction?” should pop up as a question any time an item that’s generally considered a bit rare begins to all of a sudden appear in place they don’t normally do, such as country auctions and yard sales in significant  numbers, one has to wonder.  If it’s an Antique looking one that a Collector or Dealer has never run into before in the last 20 years—one would be correct in assuming someone, somewhere is making reproductions.

Such is the case with this clock, if you saw its image online or in an auction catalog, you would have a hard time determining it it was genuine or reproduction, from images alone  it would appear very much like a 19th Century French Empire mantel clock. It’s actually a very late 20th Century reproduction, in the style of late 19th-century French mantel clocks.  The ones I’ve examined have German movements by “Franz Hermle”, a German company that dates back only as far as 1922 and is known for producing movements for other makers . Some of the clocks that have come across my desk like this one seem to have origins in Italy, with names such as Imperial or Lancicni

I’ve seen this particular clock in the last five  years sold as part of a matching garniture set that came with two matching candelabras.  or just the clock on its own. Of the ones I’ve run across, they were marked by two makers,  “Imperial” or “Lancini , some labeled “Made In Italy.”

This particular clock matches ones made in Italy by “Farbel Fonderie D’Arte”, which has been producing reproductions of 19th-Century style clocks since 1966.  As far as I’m aware they still make this model, along with a line of other reproduction 19th century French clocks.

While these are reproductions, they are very good quality and go for remarkable prices even at auction The good news is even though these clocks are not original 19th Century French examples, these Italian clocks are extremely well made and fetch high prices even at auction. This past year a clock very similar to this one, complete with the matching candelabra, sold for $650. Another back in February sold for $1,000. The clock on its own, without the candelabra, has sold at auction in the $350-$550 range over the last two years.

Mike Wilcox

Wilcox & Hall Appraisers