Antique clock appraisal

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Mearto Specialist:


Delia has nearly 30 years of experience at regional and international auction houses in the United States, and is also currently the editor of an art and antiques trade publication that tracks market trends, auctions and antiques shows. Delia is a generalist in glass, ceramics, silver and other metals, fine art, textiles, antiquities, wines and spirits, stamps and currency, collectibles and dolls and toys. Additionally, she is a specialist in 15th to 21st Century furniture from around the world. Her extensive professional network of appraisers, curators, dealers and collectors has proven to be an invaluable resource in her work for Mearto.

Antique Clocks: A Valuable Collector's Item

Antique clocks are one of the most coveted items by collectors, especially those who are into antique items. The art of clock making has had a long history. Even in the earlier centuries, it is a recognized skill. Clocks also showcase technological and mechanical expertise of its maker. This adds to the value of these clocks, even after decades or centuries since they were made.

Determining the Value - Antique Clock Price Guide

The value of antique clocks ranges depending on the style and age of the clocks. However, all antique clocks are of a certain value – it is up to you to evaluate what type of clock you have and what its market value is. Read on in the antique clock price guide and you will find out how you can determine the value of your clock and what factors you must consider.

We help a lot of customers to find the value of their antique clocks. Here are a few antique clock appraisals:

A Mahogany Longcase Clock, circa 1970's, English, in the Georgian style. $450 to $550

Seth Thomas - A Slate & Ormulu Mantel Clock, American, late 19th Century. $550 to $650

Types of Antique Clocks

When talking about antique clocks, you will find that there is more than one type available. The type of clock that you have will heavily impact how the item is valued. Over several centuries, the manufacture of antique clocks happened at a steady pace resulting in a variety of styles and types. To determine the value of your clock, you must begin by understanding the different types of antique clock:

  • Antique Lantern Clocks: This is the oldest type of antique clock that is also a collectible material. Lantern clocks are usually made of brass. It originated in the 1500s but became popular in the 16th century. By the 1800s, lantern clocks have become obsolete.
  • Antique Mantel Clocks: This is one of the most celebrated types of antique clocks. It is relatively inexpensive and this has contributed to the high level of demand for mantel clocks. The first mantel clocks were manufactured in France in the mid-18th century. It is often compared to bracket clocks but mantel clocks are typically smaller. Ten years after they were manufactured in France, the English started manufacturing them too.
  • Antique Bracket Clocks: Bracket clocks were first manufactured in Holland during the mid-17th century. However, their peak of development took place in England. The name of this type of antique clock is derived from the fact that they are often mounted on brackets.
  • Antique Carriage Clocks: This type of antique clock was first produced in Austria in the 19th century. Carriage clocks were manufactured by the French in the 1800s and then in England, too. The durability and charm of this mechanical timepiece add to its elegance and market value.
  • Antique Wall Clocks: A wall clock is another common type of clock in the market. The case of this clock is mounted on the wall. It is one of the oldest types of clocks that are designed for use at home.
  • Antique Art Deco Clocks: As the name implies, this type of clock is named as such because of its art deco influence. It is characterized by the geometric architecture that was prevalent during the industrial age.
  • Antique Atmos Clocks: This type of clock is unique and sought after because it is unique as it powered by atmospheric changes.
  • Antique Alarm Clocks: The use of alarm clocks has had a long history. The first alarm clocks that were manufactured for household use was released in the 1620s. They are designed to create a loud sound at a specific time.
  • Antique Longcase Clocks: This is the most sought after among the long list of antique clocks. In the US, this type of clock is also known as tall case clocks or grandfather’s clock. The first long case clocks were produced by William Clement in 1670.

Other types of antique clocks not mentioned above include advertising clocks, anniversary clocks, retro clocks, skeleton clocks, kitchen clocks, and antique marine chronometers.

Mechanism Type Matters

The type of mechanism on your antique clock will significantly determine its value. In particular, the complexity and construction are what is looked into by expert appraisers. The presence of the three “trains” is what appraisers would look for when evaluating the cost of antique clocks. These “trains” are the time, melody, and strike.

There is also a significant difference in value with antique clocks that are wound daily versus the ones that are known as eight-day clocks. The latter is considerably higher in value.

Originality Counts

Another common factor to consider when checking an antique clock for its value is its originality. For example, appraisers will look for signs if a particular clock is an original production. On the other hand, any type of reproduction of older antique styles is not as valuable as the ones that are manufactured in the 19th century. One of the first things you need to know if you have an antique clock is to determine if it is original or a reproduction.

Moreover, the value of a clock also decreases when it contains non-original parts. It does not just refer to the clock as a whole but the parts are also taken into account.

Trademark or Label Adds Value

There are several forms of identification in an antique clock that would determine its maker and the period in which it was manufactured. If you own one, you should look for these labels and trademarks. You will find them in the face, mechanism, or the case of the clock. If your antique clock is unmarked, it might be difficult to value them as there is no point of reference for the appraiser. On the other hand, if you have these stamps and trademarks present in your antique clock, you stand a chance of selling them at a higher value.

Condition Speaks Volumes

The working condition of an antique clock is the first thing that potential buyers see. Hence, you will be able to get a higher appraisal on clocks that are in good condition. However, antique clocks that are unaltered or all-original bring higher value. It is therefore ideal to keep the genuine case, finish, and decorative elements of an antique clock.

Provenance Adds Value

Is there a significant story (preferably something with historical value) to your antique clock? Does it have a unique story or previous ownership that would give it more value? It will provide an important selling point that will make your antique clock more valuable aside from the intrinsic value of the clock itself.

Caring for Antique Clocks

Antique clocks are not manufactured the same way that modern clocks are. Hence, they need some level of maintenance. Cleaning the exterior of the clock can be easily done at home. You must simply wipe and polish the exterior of the clock.

However, when it comes to the movement and case, you need to know the proper procedure. To clean the clock movement, it must be completely disassembled so that the individual parts could be cleaned thoroughly. It is best left to the professionals as each part is interconnected. If you damage just one part, you can damage the entire clock.

As for cleaning the case, you must use only high-quality wax. Make sure that it is also recommended for the type of case on your antique clock. If you use a cleaning product that is too harsh, it could damage the finish. When the finish is damaged, the clock could lose its value.

What our customers say:

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I received a response and information regarding my items in less than 48 hours, which I appreciated. The appraiser was very knowledgable.

Kristal Hicks Torpey

I highly recommend Mearto if you're curious of the value or background of any item in your home.
The appraisal I received from Mearto was detailed and thorough.

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I received a quality appraisal in less than 48 hours. I also acquired a second opinion of an industry expert who concurred with Mearto's appraised value.  

Todd Roper

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