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1876 Muller Baseball Clock
Starting Bid - $1,500.00, Sold For - $4,930.00
The Muller clock is one of the most beautifully designed and rarest of all baseball antiques. Named for its creators, brothers Nicholas and Karl Muller, this extremely rare nineteenth-century clock with cast-iron face has a very elaborate design sculpted in high-relief. The design features six figures. While these figures are not identified on the clock, it is universally accepted that the two players flanking each side of the clock are Bob Ferguson, outfielder and manager of the Brooklyn Atlantics in the 1870s, and Bobby Mathews, renowned pitcher for the New York Mutuals in the 1870s, and that the two gentlemen below the clock face are Henry Chadwick and Alexander Cartwright. Chadwick, of course, was the most famous sportswriter of the nineteenth century. He is featured holding a writing tablet, pen in hand, with his easily recognizable heavy beard clearly defining his profile. Alexander Cartwright, "The Father of Modern Baseball" and one of the founding members of the Knickerbockers, is captured with his distinctive low-cropped beard and trademark top hat. The two children at the top of the clock appear to be watching a game and are commonly referred to as representing the future of the game. The clock is sixteen inches tall, thirteen inches wide, and the case is made of wood. This clock is listed in the 1876 catalog of the American Clock Company. Karl Muller is renowned as one of the most important American baseball figural artists. He is very well known both for the design of this clock and for his highly regarded series of 1868 baseball figures. His brother Nicholas was responsible for the casting. The wood backing of the clock can be opened; inside is the original paper label (6 x 6.25 inches) which advertises for the Waterbury Clock Company of Waterbury, Connecticut ("Sales-Room, No. 4 Cortland Street, New York City"). The Muller clock is one of the most fascinating of all nineteenth-century baseball pieces in that it is the earliest baseball art piece which pays tribute to the history of the game and its most important pioneers, honoring both Chadwick and Cartwright for their immense contributions to the game. This clock is one of the earliest and most important pieces of American baseball sculpture. It is also very rare, with fewer than ten examples known. Even the Baseball Hall of Fame did not have an example until 1998, when Barry Halper's Muller clock was purchased by Major League Baseball and donated to the Hall of Fame. The clock face has a half-inch tear. The mechanics appear to be complete and in working order, but as with any antique piece with delicate mechanisms, we cannot guarantee that the moving mechanisms are in perfect working order, and it may need maintenance or repair to be in perfect working order, if desired. The iron face has only very minor wear from normal handling. It is in spectacular Excellent condition. The Muller clock is a magnificent work of art of great historical significance, and one of the finest nineteenth-century decorative pieces related to baseball in existence. Reserve $1,500. Estimate $3,000/$5,000. SOLD FOR $4,930.00
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