Art Peritus
Who We Are Art Advisory Art Appraisals Collection Management Home


Art Image
Thomas Moran  (1837-1926)
Fort George Island, Florida, 1892-1895

Art Peritus Departments » Bio

David A. Sperling M.D.
Dr. David Sperling received his B.A. from Columbia College with a dual major in science and art history. He received his M.D. from New York Medical College. He had a full time private pediatric practice in Morris County, New Jersey, for thirty years.

David became interested in Americana and clocks in 1966 while serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Tacoma, Washington. During the years of practice he was primarily a collector. In the early 1990’s he joined with his son, Ed, to form Father & Son Antiques, specializing in the buying, selling and appraisal of fine American timepieces.

After retiring in 1997, David became a regular horological feature writer for the Maine Antique Digest. In addition, he has also written several articles for the Arts and Antiques Weekly and the Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC). He is a lecturer for the New Jersey Council for the Humanities on Colonial and Federal clockmaking. In that capacity he regularly uncovers and publishes previously unknown facts about American clockmakers and cabinetmakers of that period.

From a purely academic point of view he has written an unpublished manuscript, The War of 1812: Timely Reflections, which details the artists and engravers who inspired the ornamental painters of Federal clocks and looking glasses to depict the naval battles scenes of the War of 1812. That manuscript has been donated to the libraries at Winterthur, and to the New Haven Colony Historical Society.

David helped to publicize a newly discovered autobiography of clockmaker John Nichol of Belvidere, N.J., dictated by the clockmaker to his eldest daughter, Mrs. Marget N. Brown, during the winter of 1859-60. David donated a copy of this document to the library of the NAWCC in Columbia, Pa.

He was the first to uncover and publish an article on the apprenticeship of Daniel Porter of Williamstown, Ma. to master clockmaker Samuel Burnap of East Windsor, Ct.

Working with the town historian of Providence, R.I. he discovered the true identity of David Brown, whose name appears on the dial of a Rhode Island banjo clock advertised by Israel Sack, Inc. as being “by an as yet undiscovered clockmaker”. David Brown is identified not as a clockmaker, but rather as a jeweler and an assembler of clocks which he sold in his Providence shop.

David has done clock appraisals for antique dealers, insurance firms and appraisal firms, as well as for private individuals. He has also done arbitration appraisals, mediating between individuals and insurance firms. For the past three years he has worked for a firm based in Canada doing online appraisals of fine American and Continental clocks.

What began as an avocation has grown, in retirement, to become a multi-faceted and most enjoyable vocation.

Back