Photos: Ansonia figure clock; French clock with a painted porcelain dial and painted scene.
It was 1964, the year my wife and I bought our first house in Long Beach, CA. In those days it was our custom to drive down to San Diego almost every weekend to visit our parents who lived in an area of town called Mission Hills. Karin’s grandmother and mother each lived alone in separate houses, and they were always happy to see her for a few hours every week or two. My own parents lived a couple of blocks away, so we could see all of the relatives at once.
On one of these Saturday visits to our hometown, we patronized Consuelo’s Mexican Restaurant on the corner of University Ave. and 3rd St. in Hillcrest. Upon finishing lunch at the restaurant, we returned to our car in the rear parking lot and discovered quite a few people wandering around the house located directly behind and adjacent to the parking lot on 3rd St.
We also noticed a sign on the property that advertised a sale of clocks. A clock repairman was retiring. He lived in the house at the front of the lot, and he had clocks for sale in his workshop at the rear of the property. Being somewhat curious about what was for sale, we stepped through the gate and entered the old workshop. There were several other people wandering about in the shop looking at the merchandise, and we did the same. The place was stacked floor to ceiling, with clocks of all types, and they were all for sale.
We knew absolutely nothing about clocks and their values. We had just bought a house and were not in a position to spend much on a clock, but we did have an empty fireplace mantel in our house that needed something to sit on it, and we thought a clock would be just the thing.
We settled on an Ansonia figure clock that came with two urns; we thought these items would cover most of the mantel and add a little class to our living room. The price was $75 for the three pieces, and we could manage that.
As we were about to leave, we noticed a nice little French clock with a painted porcelain dial and a painted scene above the dial. The clock was topped with a metal finial, the bottom half of which was also porcelain. The case was some kind of gold-colored metal and it was quite ornate. It also cost $75, so we wrote a check for $150, and we were very pleased as we walked off with our purchases. It never occurred to us to even look inside the cases to see if there were any works or to inquire if the clocks were in running order. We simply exchanged our check for the clocks and put them in the car.
Upon returning to Long Beach, we put the Ansonia on the living room mantel and the French clock in our bedroom. We wound them up, and as luck would have it, they both ran perfectly for many years. We were fortunate in buying the clocks from a clock repairman who kept his collection in good running order.
Anyway, that is how I became interested in clocks, and my interest remains strong to this day, and naturally, our collection has expanded significantly over the years. -Rich Schag (CA)