Do you want to sell your grandfather clock? If you wish to keep your treasured heirloom for future generations or you’re looking to sell it at a profitable price, it’s essential to know how much your timekeeper’s worth so that it won’t go to waste, and you can make the best out of it.
In this article we’ll talk about your grandfather clock, how to know its worth, where to sell it and where to get it repaired or restored if it isn’t working anymore. We’ll also share with you some of the rarest and most valuable clock types.
A prized grandfather’s clock can be good savings for retirement and a key to further education and more ventures. But to get a fair price out of your treasured heirloom, you need to know your vintage clock’s value. It is worth noting, too, that just because your timepiece looks old or antique doesn’t mean it’s valuable. So here are some tips that will help you find out your clock’s value:
- Check your clock’s label or signature
One of the most significant factors influencing your clock’s value is the manufacturer, so you’ll need to scrutinize if there’s any signature or label from the manufacturer. You can look for it on the dial or face of the grandfather clock. Most of the time, the case and dial’s manufacturer’s name is painted or engraved on the timekeeper’s face, and the trademark or copyright symbol is often on the dial. If there are markings or labels of a specific maker, then your clock’s authenticity will be confirmed, and it’s worth will increase. But if you don’t find any, don’t be downhearted because it doesn’t always imply that your clock has a low value.
- Search for evidence that it is handmade
Craftsmanship is another reason why antique clocks are so valuable and coveted. So, if your timekeeper is handmade, it must be deemed high-prized. But you’ll need to examine your clock to look for signs that would tell if it is handmade. One of the main signs you’ll have to look for is its slight irregularity. If it is handmade, the curves and other symmetrical arcs may not be sculpted perfectly. If your timepiece contains
dovetail joints, it’s a great place to look for irregularities. Sometimes, the clock may have different types of hardware in it rather than one consistent shape.
- Find out its style category
It will also be easier to know your clock’s value if you’re aware of its style category, whether it’s a grandfather clock, a longcase or a skeleton clock. So, it’s essential to look for different clock styles to find a way to describe them.
- Examine for signs of age
While it isn’t always the case, most older antique timepieces tend to be more valuable than newer ones, so it is imperative to look for signs of the clock’s age as well to help you determine it’s truly a vintage piece. Some of the indicators that you can look out for are the wear in its moving parts, the single slot screw and the telltale “old wood” scent.
- Compare online pricing guides
After getting an idea about the clock’s manufacturer and style, you may then look for its value on online price guides, where you may see its worth based on how others have sold their timepieces.
- Get a reliable in-person appraisal
Lastly, you’ll need to have an in-person appraisal as well, even if you already found an estimated value online. Appraisers can help you examine your vintage timekeeper’s quality and give a more accurate price. However, if you’ll choose to pay for an appraiser, you need
to ensure that he/she is reliable and a member of a professional appraiser’s organization. It would be best to pay per item and not a percentage because the appraiser could inflate it. Other than the previously mentioned factors, the mechanical soundness, appearance and rarity of the timepiece can also influence its value. Find out what clocks are more valuable than others to get more idea about your timekeeper’s worth.
What clocks are more valuable than others?
Grandfather clocks are one of the most sought-after timepieces globally, not just because their beautiful design is worth treasuring and they command higher prices. It’s more valuable than others that even if they can be battered, dusty or stored in the garage for a long time due to their non-working condition, they could still sell from hundreds to thousands of pounds.
Although we always encourage collectors to repair grandfather clocks before pursuing a sale, because chances are you’ll receive more in the sale & the repair job won’t cost very much.
According to an expert, a standard oak-cased 30-hour longcase clock may sell around £600to £800 at an auction, but Bonhams & Brooks have sold one with attractive dials for £4,500.
An Eight-day longcase with a painted dial would fetch around £800 to £1,200, while an eight-day mahogany-cased with elegant silver dial could sell about £2,000 to £3,000 at auction.
And Marquetry clocks tend to fetch around £3,000 to £4,000 because they are usually much more desirable than mahoganies and oaks. If designed by a famous clockmaker such as Christopher Gould, it could be anywhere between £10,000 to £15,000. But if it’s a Thomas Tompion creation, it can range up to £100,000.
So if you have a Tompion clock laying round and you’re wondering how much its worth, you’re in luck, but the chances of this are exceedingly rare, as most of Tompions pieces have been discovered and catalogued.
Which clocks are the rarest?
A clock can be considered rare if it’s the only one in its unique design or it is one of a limited number of timepieces of a specific style or type. In this case, the clock may be valued more. However, it can also be rare if many of them exist, but owners don’t intend to sell them, making them rarely found on the market. So, even if an antique clock is 150 years old or older, it won’t be that valuable if there are thousands of them. Other factors that can affect the clock’s rarity and value are the condition, clockmaker, decoration and adornments, type of wood and materials used, provenance, and other unique characteristics or features.
Some of the rarest clocks and also the most expensive timepieces ever sold at an auction are the following:
● Duc d’Orléans Breguet Sympathique Clock: The timepiece that tops the list is this limited edition Sympathique timepiece. Only ten clocks that have this mechanism remained functional. That’s why it became popular and expensive in the market.
● Chinese Ormolu Clock: This intricately designed timepiece dates back between 1736 and 1795, and it was sold for $4m in a Hongkong in 2008.
● Rothschild Faberge Egg: The beautiful design, precious metals and rare
gemstones in this egg-shaped clock make it one of the most expensive ever sold at a jaw-dropping price of $13.5m in 2007.cIt was designed by Faberge for the Tsar’s family before their abdication in 1917.
● Thomas Tompion Clock: This rare clock created by renowned clockmaker Thomas Tompion of England around the 18th century was sold for $2m in 1999. There were only three clocks in this style, and it’s made of rare gilt brass and tortoiseshell, so it’s no surprise that it was high-priced.
● Cartier’s Flamingo & Lotus Clock: This timepiece made by Cartier in the 1980s had 190 carats worth of diamonds, and it was sold at an auction in Hongkong in 2013 for $1.2m.
There are many other types of antique clocks that can sell for a great price. But the question is where you can sell your valued antique timepiece.
Where can I sell my valuable clock?
You can sell your grandfather clock by auctioning it on e-commerce sites such as eBay, advertising it through classified ads or selling it to another dealer, but it’s worth might be 50% less than that of the retail dealer’s price. That is because most buyers expect to get a bargain when they buy from individuals or at an auction where antique clocks are usually sold “as is” without guarantees.
On the other hand, retail selling price is higher because when the buyer purchases from a reputable dealer, it often means that the antique clock has been examined, cleaned, repaired and adjusted and is in good working condition. Knowledgeable dealers may also provide warranties or guarantees of its authenticity, share about the clock’s history and
maintenance, and offer trade-in allowances. These factors justify their higher selling value.
However, there are instances where an auction value is higher than the retail store’s price. It may be caused by its rarity, emotional factors or maybe just an uninformed decision done by a buyer.
Can I find somebody to repair my valuable clock?
If you want to get your precious antique clock repaired or restored so that you can enjoy it for more years or pass it to younger generations, Tic Toc Clock Repairs is more than happy to get the job done for you. Whether your timepiece is a longcase/ grandfather clock, carriage clock, French or Vienna weight-driven piece, the team has the right tools and parts for a
wide range of UK timepieces and expert craftsmanship that you can trust.
With 20 years of experience in the job, you can rest assured that your treasured antique will be carefully repaired and restored into its fine working condition. But another question will arise, and the answer is also worth considering before getting any work done.
How Does Clock Repair and Restoration Affect Value ?
If your antique clock needs some repair, it is plausible for experts to restore it to its former glory. It is also worth noting that unrestored clocks with no history of repairs and has original features, and in exceptional condition often sell at higher prices. Therefore, even if restoration can enhance its appearance and functionality, it doesn’t always improve its
monetary value. In fact, if its mechanism was extensively repaired, or the movements are not original anymore, most collectors would not deem it valuable, so it’s imperative to keep its parts authentic and unreplaced to maintain their value.
However, most buyers desire an antique clock in good working condition, but it may not work perfectly due to its age, and this is where restoration is necessary. But before undergoing restoration, it may be needed to have your vintage timepiece appraised by qualified professionals. And when it comes to enhancing the clock’s sentimental value, getting it
restored is an excellent way to preserve the timekeeper and ensure that future generations will enjoy and make use of it.
Selling your grandfather clock can earn you a significant amount, especially if it’s rare and a special edition, but since its price may continue to inflate over time as it becomes rarer, keeping your precious timepiece is also an option worth considering.
If you want to preserve your antique grandfather clock and wish to pass it to future generations, cleaning and repairing the parts that badly need repair is essential to keep them in their best shape and working condition.