Keeping an auction ticking along will be right up the alley of man-with-the-hammer Todd Foster on Saturday when he tries to sell lots of clocks.
There are about 160 of them in a collection built-up over the years by Napier man and career public servant Tony Dench, who died at the age of 74 in September, leaving wife Adrienne to decide what should happen — keeping them, an auction, or a second-hand dealer.
She decided she they should go to Maidens and Foster in Tennyson St, Napier, where auctioneer Foster will open the doors for viewing from 8am, and start winding-up prospective buyers with the start of the auction as some of the clocks tick past 10am.
They're all wind-up clocks, no batteries, no quartz, and Mrs Dench assures, all are in working order.
It's just that her husband didn't have time to wind them all up every couple of weeks, but he would usually have a few going in the large garage which he found to be the dream home for a bit of clock-watching when they moved to Napier from Auckland about 2001.
She reckons he only married her for her grandfather clock, which once belonged to her grandmother, and in any event she had always found something calming and soothing about clocks that ticked and tocked and peeled and chimed through the night.
Holidays had always been an opportunity for clock buying, including one particular chimer he bought in the UK — his pendulum of interest having swung from American to English clocks.
Having made the purchase he worried about how he was going to get home, so he bought a suitcase for use as carry-on luggage, and packed it with the clocked wrapped in some of the wife's finest.
The inevitable happened on the way home when a customers officer asked him to reveal the contents.
"He opened it up," she said. "The first thing he (the customs officer) saw was my knickers. He just slammed it shut and said, you're on your way."
He bought others on line, but there was "never a dud", says the vendor.
She had collected pots for a while, but the clocks took priority over space. She said: "It's a pity he didn't collect something smaller, like stamps."
The auctioneer says he has sold other collections, but not clocks. There has been some interest, but he doesn't anticipate selling the lot as one lot.
"It could take an hour and a half," he reckoned. "We should be over by lunch."