That Old Thing: The Montreal Chalet Clock Was Made in Hamilton

Q. I bought this coin clock online for $ 30, although it was pictured without the hands and pendulum. When I brought it home, I found them in the dirty bottom of the case. The face appears to be made of cardboard which has the only marking of a tiny maple leaf with a “C” just below the center. The case is 23.5 cm high (9.25 inches). I wonder if this will be a worthwhile effort to correct.

A. You have a very rare clock and it is difficult to find other copies made by this company. This prompted me to consult with expert Allan Symons – curator of the Canadian Museum of Horology located in Deep River, Ontario, who provided the following information. This small timepiece features a 30-hour spring-loaded brass pendulum movement. This is the “Montreal chalet” model, 100% manufactured by the Canadian Watch Company in Hamilton, Ontario, between 1880 and 1884. The acid etched pattern on the glass tablet is a common feature of many products in the company’s broad line. Research indicates that the movements and cases were made in Hamilton during this narrow period, although the case styles are similar to those made by American competitors based in Connecticut during this time. While 30-hour clocks are less desirable than eight-day models for collectors, replacing this one would still cost $ 250 due to its generally good condition for its age of around 140.

Q. I have 28 postcards that were purchased in Italy during WWII by my father while stationed there with his regiment – the Hastings & Prince Edward Regiment – better known as “Hasty-Ps”. The scenes are mostly from Rome, unused and have printed subject titles and dates from the 1940s. While I am curious if they are marketable, these are treasured keepsakes and will be passed on to the next generation. Thank you for your help.

A. The marble sculpture of Moses made by Michelangelo resides in Rome in the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli (Saint Peter in Chains). An extremely popular tourist destination like this results in the sale of a large number of postcards with this image. Many have survived and this is a fairly common card. Interestingly, the fact that it is not in use can be appealing to some collectors while others prefer cards with written stories and postage stamps. Other key factors affecting the value are the subjects (disasters are popular), photo cards are preferable to lithographed cards, the condition and location of the scene. The internet has increased the attention and demand of buyers, while increasing the supply, which drives down values. Your specific cards sell for between $ 2.50 and $ 12. They are a wonderful family heirloom and a treasure.

Q. I inherited three of these signed prints some time ago. It is called “House with the evening tide”. I know Wallace MacAskill was a renowned photographer and you can see his talent in these photos. They are approximately 3.5 x 5 inches (9 x 13 cm) and come in their original packaging – something like flimsy onion wrap. What can you tell me about him and his work?

A. Wallace R. MacAskill (1890-1956) studied photography in New York City during the first decade of the 1900s – a time when the Pictorialist movement, led by Alfred Stieglitz, strongly influenced MacAskill. One of the techniques of pictorialism was “soft focus” which emphasized atmospheric characters such as misty mornings creating impressionistic moods. Once established in Halifax, it became his trademark. Many of his “catches” were taken from 1911 to 1930, before his pursuit and love of yachting in the 1930s when he won the Prince of Wales Cup several times. His pictures of the famous schooner Blue nose are consistently valued much more than most, one of which was used for the Canadian postage stamp. Collectors will pay around $ 175 for your trio.

John Sewell is an antiques and fine art appraiser. To submit an article to his column, go to the ‘Contact John’ page at Please measure your part, say when and how you got it, what you paid for and list any identifying marks. A high resolution jpeg photo should also be included. (Only email submissions are accepted.) * Evaluation values ​​are estimates only. *

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