Buyers Guide to Clocks

If you're new to antique clock buying, here a few handy tips to bear in mind. As with anything a little research into the items is an absolute must before making any kind of purchase.


A frequent misconception in all areas of collecting, not just clocks, is that age will automatically make an item more valuable.  Age is only one factor in helping to determine value; originality of components, condition, form and finish also drive the current clock market. In America, specifically, comparing two clocks, all else being equal, the one made during the late 18th century, the time of the Revolution and the early years of the Republic, would bring more than an earlier example. In the U.K. the opposite is true, and the late 17th century longcases and bracket clock are more highly valued than those made a century later. As with all pieces of art and collectibles the market is often heavily driven by taste, however it is important to know that taste is not universal. Understanding differences in taste can potentially be used to a collectors advantage when purchasing or selling a particular clock.

Maker, unique features or rarity, can help to determeing the quality of a clock. Clocks by some particular clockmakers achieve prices many times higher than very similar clocks by lesser-known clockmakers. While the general market for clocks has weakened in the last decade, there are clockmaker names that have always held their value. The most sought after UK clockmakers are, Tompion, Graham and Quare. In the U.S. these include the clock-making Willard family: Simon Sr., Aaron Sr., their two sons Aaron Jr. and Simon Jr. and the apprentices that they trained throughout New England. From the early industrial era Eli Terry, Silas B. Terry, Joseph Ives and Edward Howard remain extremely valuable and highly desirable.


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