Antique clocks appear to consistently draw ardent collectors from around the world. Its artistic worth endures, competing with more recent, sophisticated, and technical clocks. But depending on your interest, the subject’s scope can range from somewhat broad to somewhat confined.
Since its creation in the 16th century, the straightforward object has become a necessary component of our daily lives. And to keep up with the times, the general design (design, appeal, color, or material) is constantly evolving. A certain antique in your collection should be checked for value and identification.
For local collectors, the chances of finding an authentic antique clock continue to be quite slim. And with multiple clocks produced through highly advanced marriage or reproduction, the market isn’t quite trustworthy. Knowing the fundamentals of antique clock identification and value is crucial if you want to find the genuine treasures.
However, as the insatiably curious collectors of antique clocks that we are, we try to comprehend the process and strategies used in vintage clock identification and price guide.
Table of Contents
Identification of vintage clocks
An antique clock that isn’t an antique cannot have a certain value placed on it. So, check your clock carefully before doing anything else.
The first step is to search for telltale signs of expert handcrafting (vintage clocks are generally handmade). Examine the case’s fine woodwork and detailed details; these should provide a hint.
Other components of the clock, like the glass, dial, and hands, as well as the case materials, possess dates and manufacturer stamps that could indicate antiquity.
The clock’s design or antique clock identification is another essential component. Their various shapes, together with the nation, the clock maker, and the year they were first created, have all been recorded, indicating a traceable history that may serve as a reliable reference.
It should be much better if the maker’s signature and label are still legible and present, as this makes it simpler to estimate the clock’s age. The movement is your greatest chance at identification if none of this information is accessible, but it is extremely difficult and intricate.
Value of an Antique Clock
You undoubtedly want to know if you’ve uncovered anything of value that might increase in value over time, whether you discovered an antique longcase clock in your grandmother’s attic or discovered an original Black Forest cuckoo clock at your neighbor’s thrift store.
To value an antique clock, you must first understand what constitutes an antique. Any desirable object that has a high value due to its age is considered an antique, whether it be a piece of furniture, a work of art, a ring, or a clock. For something to be regarded as an antique, it typically needs to be older than 100 years.
However, not every antique is valuable, and because markets are cyclical, what may be for a lot one year may be worth so little 10 years from now.
Despite the competitive market, there are several factors you may consider when determining the worth of an antique clock you either own or are thinking about buying.
Here are seven things to keep in mind about when appraising an antique clock’s valuation.
You must first correctly determine the type of clock. Check the clock for a label or the marker’s signature. Investigate the casing, mechanism, and face. Unmarked clocks are less valuable than clocks that are labelled or branded with the maker’s name or a trademark. You must determine the type of clock if there isn’t a label or stamp on it.
Advertising, deck kitchen, anniversary, bracket, longcase, carriage, atmos, cuckoo, lantern, mantel, skeleton, pendulum, and wall clocks are only a few examples of the numerous types of antique clocks. Different antique clock types are valued differently. For instance, elaborate German cuckoo clocks are more valuable as collectibles than commercial kitchen clocks.
Once you are aware of the type of clock, you may find out whether it has any historical importance by doing some research. A clock with a noteworthy origin and an unusual ownership history will be worth more. Remember that personal value is arbitrary, so even whilst you may think your grandfather clock has a fascinating origin tale, an appraiser or buyer might not be interested in it.
The manufacturer’s reputation
Unsurprisingly, a clock manufactured by a respected craftsperson or company will be valuable more. The value of the clock will rise greatly if it bears the signature of a reputable clockmaker.
Numerous things can be characterized for antique clock’s rarity. If very few clocks were manufactured in the first place, yours might be unique. It might also be uncommon if lots of them exist, but their owners don’t want to sell them, making them hard to find in markets. Everything is based on supply and demand. There are thousands of antique parlor clocks, so even one that is 150 years old won’t be as valuable. A genuine antique Black Forest cuckoo clock, however, is more valuable since collectors deliberately seek them out.
Your vintage clock needs to be the real deal to have any value. A 20th-century replica of a German cuckoo clock from the 18th century won’t be very sought-after. The value of an antique clock will increase if you can confirm the time. Its value also drops considerably if it is missing any original component.
The sort of material utilized also has an impact on the antique clock’s worth. For instance, a clock with parts that appear to be bronze but are made of spelter, a mix of metals that resembles bronze, will be valued far lower.
The value of the clock increases with its mechanical brilliance. For instance, an eight-day cuckoo clock is preferable to a one-day clock that needs to be wound every day. A clock that plays music in addition to telling the time is more impressive than one that only displays the time. A clock featuring moving figures is likewise valued higher. Most collectors will view the antique as worthless if any of the clock’s mechanisms have undergone major repairs or if any of the movements are not original.
Types of Demanded Modern Antique Clocks
For the contemporary versions, there are various clock styles that you will see. Additionally, the variety of traditional ones is expanding without end. However, experts can divide the current fashions into different groups. You should be aware of the variations, specializations, and features of each type.
Additionally, the designation is used for continental, railroad, military, and astronomical time. It alludes to a clock that runs from midnight to midnight each day. The featured number was then repeated from 0 to 23.
The design is meant to promote something, much like a promotional clock. To assess the product/event requirements, it might appear in a wide range of designs. A carved wooden view is one of the elaborate elements.
Antique Anniversary Clock
This type has a 400-day runtime that runs continuously to cover a year. Additionally, it did away with the need for routine winding. Old ones were used in the 17th century to track developments in the 18th century.
Antique Alarm Clock
The fundamental alarm system is thought to have been created by the ancient Greeks circa 250 BC. It is one of the earliest varieties to arrive in Europe, nevertheless. However, there is no possibility of locating a genuine piece from the 15th or 16th century.
Art Deco Clock
The style incorporates imitations of well-known buildings. In the 1920s and 1930s, numerous clockmakers were influenced by it. The movement’s leaders continued to be the French and the Swiss.
The name comes from the way it looks like a banjo. The clock was created in 1802 to identify improvement and obtain a patent. Original Willard clocks hold value despite the market’s abundance of variations.
Atmospheric pressure and temperature variations were used as the mechanism. It avoids winding, human involvement, and improper intrusion. Many industries benefit from the scientific development that helps them keep proper time.
The clock appears to be a sizable table clock that may be hung on a wall. Not to mention that it needed a stylish shelf to be kept out. Pendulums are incorporated into several early models to enhance the looks.
The most well-known vintage clock designsinclude an unsettling cuckoo. Due to numerous cartoons, practically everyone is familiar with this kind. In the 1800s, designs with German roots were very popular.
The tall-case/short-case type building stands directly on the ground. A weekly or daily winding was necessary for its weight-driven pendulum. The dwarf or granny versions of the clocks from the mid-17th century also made an appearance.
The design is in fact an early version of small-scale clocks used today. The operating system is still rather different. The user may take it practically anyplace thanks to the built-in handle on the outer side.
The first clock that employ brass to decorate home preferences was called Lantern. It was about the early advancements made to standard clocks to meet the standards. Nobody, however, was able to corroborate that it looked like a lantern.
Affordable kitchens found their way to middle-class and lower-class homes. In the 19th century, the American shelf-style design was mass produced. It provided additional kitchen decor while supper preparation was underway.
The lighthouse shape incorporates a cylindrical pedestal with a tapered foot to display a dome glass. It was acknowledged as the first clock made in America. Top-mounted alarms with additional highlights are a hallmark of early models.
Marine Chronometer Clock
The clock from the 18th century is praised for being of the utmost help at sea. It was also known as a ship clock, sea clock, or nautical clock. The first model was created after 31 years of research by John Harrison.
To enhance the beauty, the internal clock continues to run. The 18th and 19th centuries’ predilection became well-known as a decorative element. To hold the exposed pieces, though, protective shielding was necessary.
The most well-known home clock, the Wall, has a lengthy past dating back to the 16th century. It is a type that is obviously appropriate for common residential applications. Almost every type that corresponds with its likely design can be found, too.
Taverns were known to utilize the large, plain-style clocks most often. To add one to your collection, you must, of course, check into a wide variety. Because of how it was made, normal clocks were spared war taxes.
The design of clocks underwent strange but fashionable alterations in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Users can add more decorative flourishes to retro designs. For decades, almost every significant type of clock had to be checked for changes.
Nevertheless, there are numerous designs with unique names available. The hardest, yet most significant, part of identification is knowing the types. And without lining up further information with the type, you cannot expect any successful investments.
The Tricky Facts About Clock Identification
There have been significant diversifications and modifications during the past more than 500 years. And the history is still marked by a few odd facts that are worth noting about the vintage clocks.
- Wooden movements were usually used in American shelf clocks until the 1820s.
- It was preferable to use adamantine veneer to mimic marble, slate, and wood grain.
- Only in 1905 did the common plywood design make it to the clock material.
- The late 18th century saw the first introduction of antique wall regulator clocks.
- Every imported clock into the USA must have the nation of origin clearly engraved on it.
Antique Clocks’ Auction Values
Even though there is what seems to be an unending supply of antique clocks, there are a select few designs and manufacturers that people frequently return to. There always appears to be someone on the other side of the auction prepared to fork out a ton of money for these common collectibles, despite their wide range in size, age, and price.
Seth Thomas was a well-known clock builder who produced a variety of exquisite streamline clocks during the 19th century. He didn’t confine his approach to just one type of clock, using both mantle clocks and long clocks. But because of their more affordable costs and clear, accurate design, today’s clocks made by this maker are very well-liked. Antique Seth Thomas clocks often fetch between $50 and $300 at auction, while some exceptional examples can fetch hundreds of dollars.
Antique Clocks at Auction
Clocks by Ansonia
The Victorian clocks produced by the Ansonia Clock Company are its best-known products. You may easily identify an Ansonia by its exceptionally finely crafted carvings and vibrantly painted finishes. Although these clocks often sell for between $100 and $200 on the open market, exceptionally excellent ones can fetch close to $1,000 each, thus their distinctive appearance doesn’t much affect their desirability at auction.
Antique Clocks at Auction
Carriage clocks by Drocourt
The 19th century saw the introduction of carriage clocks, which gained popularity in the second half of the century due to their small size. Even though there were other outstanding producers, Pierre and Alfred Drocourt were possibly the best-known of these latter craftspeople. Their clocks were almost always built with a gilded finish and feature a recognizable square form. Novice collectors may occasionally mistake pieces with this golden tint for mid-century pieces, but those pieces often fetch much greater amounts at auction. Despite their small, these clocks can fetch a sizable sum of money, typically in the low to upper thousands, as these recent auction examples demonstrate.
Antique Clocks at Auction
Clocks by E. Howard & Company Clocks
- Howard & Company, one of the most well-known historical American horology firms, produced a range of wall and standing clocks in the 19th century. Despite its popularity, one of the company’s less expensive clocks costs only a few hundred dollars. However, the appropriate buyer can pay thousands of dollars for a unique or uncommon timepiece.
Antique Clocks at Auction
Appraisal of Antique Clocks
If you wish to get your antique clock insured, especially because an appraisal is frequently a requirement, you might want to have an official written appraisal for it. Don’t ask an antique clock dealer or pawn shop to value your clock if you’re considering selling it. A dealer will want to purchase your clock as cheaply as possible so that he may later sell it for a significant profit. Instead, you should request an appraisal from an objective expert who has no significant stake in the object you’ve brought them.
Look for an appraiser who is a qualified professional appraisal society’s member to ensure you’re using a qualified, certified appraiser. Try to locate an appraiser from one of the following three groups:
- American Society of Appraisers (ASA)
- Appraisers Association of America (AAA)
- International Society of Appraisers (ISA)
Online Price Guide for Antique Clocks
There is an internet database with information about and prices for antique clocks. Two partners, Ryan Polite and Jeff Savage, created the Antique Clocks Identification and Price Guide; Savage has 33 years of experience as a professional antiques appraiser, while Polite is a knowledgeable IT specialist with a focus on information sites.
Using a database of more than 21,000 descriptions, images, and prices for antique clocks, their resource shows you how to identify and date your antique clock. Additionally, you may obtain advice on purchasing and selling antique clocks as well as conduct searches using their database of more than 10,000 clock and watchmakers. Alas, a monthly charge is required to access all the site’s features, but there are also a lot of free resources available.
To validate the clock’s antique worth, you might consider dating it. However, it necessitates an additional fee for carbon dating or accurate assessment. However, ordinary collectors may certainly make things simpler by remembering a few facts.
You can prevent making bad decisions by having a thorough understanding of the topic. That’s why, you shouldn’t ignore the points when determining the best collectibles.
Is there a label or trademark on the antique clock?
An antique clock can be identified in several ways that reveal its maker and the era in which it was made. It could be challenging to appraise an antique clock if it is unmarked. On the other hand, if your clock bears certain stamps and trademarks, you may be able to sell it for more money.
How are vintage clocks maintained?
Modern clocksare made in a different method than antique clocks. As a result, they require some level of upkeep. You only need to clean and polish the clock’s exterior. However, you must be aware of the correct procedure when it comes to the movement and casing. If you want to clean the case, you must only use high-quality wax. Verify that it is also suggested for the design of your antique clock’s case. The finish could be harmed if you use a cleaning agent that is too abrasive. The clock may become worthless if the finish is harmed.
What qualities should an antique clock have?
A clockmaker’s logo or insignia etched on the clock’s movement can frequently be used to verify an antique clock’s authenticity. A clock that is simply attributed to a particular maker without these indications or a corresponding label will probably be worth less.
We sincerely hope that our article on Antique Clock Identification and Price Guide is helpful to you and enables you to quickly decide whether a clock is antique or not.
In the comments section, you are free to ask any vintage clocks related query. We would be delighted to answer your queries.