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  1. #16

    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions

    It certainly seems to work to pick your auctions, I would never have got my ebonised bracket for that price in a UK auction even allowing for carriage costs.

    I can't agree about the clock breakers though, fine if beyond economical repair or already a marriage but breaking a perfectly good clock because its parts are worth more than the whole is just wanton vandalism in my book and not done by anybody with a passion for clocks.
    Last edited by novicetimekeeper; 06-17-2017 at 05:33 AM.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  2. #17
    Registered user. Chris Radano's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions (By: novicetimekeeper)

    I don't agree with clock breakers, I don't buy parts I know are taken from a good clock. But if these parts are being sold, is this in theory not a bad thing? We've been complaining about clock breakers forever. But someone is buying parts. I realize I have no control over things I don't like. Personally, I don't have any clocks are less than 95% complete...that is my advice to stop clock breakers - only buy complete or nearly complete clocks.

  3. #18

    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions (By: Chris Radano)

    I have bought parts, but where possible I prefer to fit new if available. When restoring houses I would fit new and I take the same approach to clocks. Not having a lathe means that sometimes I need smaller parts second hand, as some parts are just not made unless to special order.

    Going forward though I'm getting more annoyed about clock breaking and more likely to buy new or commission parts.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  4. #19

    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions

    Some very good observations have been shared here. I hope I don't drag down the level of the conversation for once.

    Specifically with regards to clocks, then.

    RE: the internet and prices.

    I will state straight off that my presence at a number of live auctions these days is on-line. Sometimes I have gone to look at lots. Other times, the auctions are 100's of miles away or the time inconvenient for me to be physically present. I have found auction houses are generally rather accommodating about providing condition reports and/or forwarding additional pictures. Internet bidding is a great tool when used wisely. I accept the higher premium as the price for the convenience though I do figure it in when bidding.

    I do believe that it has caused an overall downward pull on prices. This is multifactorial.

    I believe one major factor is the very changed perception of what is "rare". I remember when certain American clocks were designated as "rare" by even knowledgeable auctioneers and accepted as such. Well, with the emergence of eBay and such where there seem to examples of previously labelled "rare" clocks popping up with a certain frequency now, it's really changed those perceptions and consequently the prices achieved. Furthermore, those readily accessible prices are now accepted as the benchmark.

    There is the flip side. Besides the laughable overuse on eBay of terms like "rare" and "mint". Namely, that a seller has a ridiculous price on an item because "that's what I see them selling for on-line, go look". Sorry son, but that's what they're listing them for, sometimes over and over again, as a 29 day auction.

    My personal experience is that I get clobbered by the internet competition at live auctions. I think on some lots they buoy up the price. I've seen internet bidders pay a real premium for stuff, sometimes things that are really a total mess and you wonder if they really knew what they were bidding on...or if they cared? I also feel that internet bidding slows down a live auction in a number of ways.

    I believe internet bidding at live auctions has emptied the auction room. Some of the local auctions I go to are well attended as it is also a way people can interact and "network", make those parking lot deals, deliver merchandise previously sold, etc. However, many times the room is sparsely populated with a majority of the lots "going to the internet" or "to the book". Almost all auction rooms now have employees manning banks of computer screens. Many even prominent auction houses now have "on-line only" auctions regularly. Come look, but bid on-line.

    RE: cannibalism.

    This has been debated rather frequently on the MB.

    I guess I cannot get too bent out of shape if someone buys junkers for parts and pieces. I have a pile of totally trashed empty ogee and ww cases stacked in my garage that donate glass, mirrors, pieces of nice old veneer, hardware like cut nails, off-center slot screws, and so on. I use them to appropriately restore not just clocks, but other old things.

    I have no tolerance of someone who buys an intact clock or one that is eminently restorable and cannibalizes it. There's one guy around here who attends all the local auctions who does that with the usual rationalizations. He's parted off some rather nice stuff.

    And that is my sermon for today.

    RM
    Last edited by rmarkowitz1_cee4a1; 06-17-2017 at 07:02 AM.

  5. #20
    Registered User Jim DuBois's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions (By: rmarkowitz1_cee4a1)

    As a recent exercise in foolishness, I did a scan of every antique clock listed on a certain large online site. 7973 items to be precise. I sorted them by highest to lowest starting bid/or current price. More than 80% of the clocks offered in my opinion will not sell at the starting bid price, or buy it now prices, and many are completely foolish starting bid prices. Only about 6% of the clocks had a bid at the time of my review. I just looked at the 800 highest priced clocks at the so-called auction, not a single bid on the top priced 800 clocks? A couple of them are most likely fairly priced. But advertising clocks for $88,000 and cast iron black mantel clocks for $999.99? Really now? I have to assume some of these so called sellers subscribe to the greater fool theory...but it is getting increasingly difficult to come up with greater fools with large bank accounts..what assumptions can we draw from all this? It seems as though the site is being used more and more as an advertising medium rather than an online auction site. There is no realization of today's clock market values by so very many of these listers..can't call them sellers in most cases. Since listing is not free and some of these clocks have been for sale for 12 months or more at these crazy prices, it does give cause to ponder a bit...what the heck is going on? I go to live auctions and see decent clocks being passed with no bid, or being sold for $.10 on the dollar or less, then see the same clock or one very similar on the big auction site for 40x or even more. I remain confused and am getting more so....

  6. #21

    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions (By: Jim DuBois)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DuBois View Post
    As a recent exercise in foolishness, I did a scan of every antique clock listed on a certain large online site. 7973 items to be precise. I sorted them by highest to lowest starting bid/or current price. More than 80% of the clocks offered in my opinion will not sell at the starting bid price, or buy it now prices, and many are completely foolish starting bid prices. Only about 6% of the clocks had a bid at the time of my review. I just looked at the 800 highest priced clocks at the so-called auction, not a single bid on the top priced 800 clocks? A couple of them are most likely fairly priced. But advertising clocks for $88,000 and cast iron black mantel clocks for $999.99? Really now? I have to assume some of these so called sellers subscribe to the greater fool theory...but it is getting increasingly difficult to come up with greater fools with large bank accounts..what assumptions can we draw from all this? It seems as though the site is being used more and more as an advertising medium rather than an online auction site. There is no realization of today's clock market values by so very many of these listers..can't call them sellers in most cases. Since listing is not free and some of these clocks have been for sale for 12 months or more at these crazy prices, it does give cause to ponder a bit...what the heck is going on? I go to live auctions and see decent clocks being passed with no bid, or being sold for $.10 on the dollar or less, then see the same clock or one very similar on the big auction site for 40x or even more. I remain confused and am getting more so....
    I quite often see clocks I've seen at auctions then offered on ebay either in parts or complete at inflated prices. I have tackled a few with misleading descriptions but Ebay won't deal with them

    One was a bracket clock sold at auction, condition report said it was a marriage, hammer price £850. Sold on ebay for £6000 described as the most original clock the dealer had ever seen, and part of a private collection fresh to market.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  7. #22

    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions

    Quote Originally Posted by novicetimekeeper View Post
    I quite often see clocks I've seen at auctions then offered on ebay either in parts or complete at inflated prices. I have tackled a few with misleading descriptions but Ebay won't deal with them

    One was a bracket clock sold at auction, condition report said it was a marriage, hammer price £850. Sold on ebay for £6000 described as the most original clock the dealer had ever seen, and part of a private collection fresh to market.
    I've seen the same many times.

    Now, to play the devil's advocate. It is possible that the object passed through several pairs of hands before reaching the eBay seller who wasn't aware of the problems. How about, I have also seen items that were incorrectly catalogued by the auctioneer and it was better than they thought.

    By the way, what you describe is not new nor more characteristic of one selling venue than another.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DuBois View Post
    As a recent exercise in foolishness, I did a scan of every antique clock listed on a certain large online site. 7973 items to be precise. I sorted them by highest to lowest starting bid/or current price. More than 80% of the clocks offered in my opinion will not sell at the starting bid price, or buy it now prices, and many are completely foolish starting bid prices. Only about 6% of the clocks had a bid at the time of my review. I just looked at the 800 highest priced clocks at the so-called auction, not a single bid on the top priced 800 clocks? A couple of them are most likely fairly priced. But advertising clocks for $88,000 and cast iron black mantel clocks for $999.99? Really now? I have to assume some of these so called sellers subscribe to the greater fool theory...but it is getting increasingly difficult to come up with greater fools with large bank accounts..what assumptions can we draw from all this? It seems as though the site is being used more and more as an advertising medium rather than an online auction site. There is no realization of today's clock market values by so very many of these listers..can't call them sellers in most cases. Since listing is not free and some of these clocks have been for sale for 12 months or more at these crazy prices, it does give cause to ponder a bit...what the heck is going on? I go to live auctions and see decent clocks being passed with no bid, or being sold for $.10 on the dollar or less, then see the same clock or one very similar on the big auction site for 40x or even more. I remain confused and am getting more so....
    I'm not sure which site to which you refer, but if it's "1stdibs" (can I say that on the MB?) then I'm not surprised. I've also found a similar phenomenon on the auction sites like "bidsquare", "invaluable" and so on.

    First, many of the dealers on 1stdibs, a few of whom I know, charge and surprisingly get more than premium prices because of whom they are and the well heeled clientele that they typically deal with. Often it's people who are decorators and spending someone else's money and rather freely at that. It's about a certain look.

    RM
    Last edited by rmarkowitz1_cee4a1; 06-17-2017 at 08:41 AM.

  8. #23

    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions (By: rmarkowitz1_cee4a1)

    No, the ebay seller bought it at the auction. He said the description was a mistake and it was too late to correct it. (I suggested deleting and starting again but he was not prepared to pay the listing fee.)

    I had the condition report and all the additional photographs, it wasn't right.

    I agree, I buy things all the time at auction that have been misdescribed. Just bought a waywiser this morning described as a nautical clock.

    However there are usually enough of us involved in an auction to see past the woeful auctioneers' descriptions, this went for ten times their estimate.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  9. #24

    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions (By: novicetimekeeper)

    Quote Originally Posted by novicetimekeeper View Post
    No, the ebay seller bought it at the auction. He said the description was a mistake and it was too late to correct it. (I suggested deleting and starting again but he was not prepared to pay the listing fee.)

    I had the condition report and all the additional photographs, it wasn't right.

    I agree, I buy things all the time at auction that have been misdescribed. Just bought a waywiser this morning described as a nautical clock.

    However there are usually enough of us involved in an auction to see past the woeful auctioneers' descriptions, this went for ten times their estimate.
    As I say, just playing the devil's advocate.

    RM

  10. #25

    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions (By: rmarkowitz1_cee4a1)

    Quote Originally Posted by rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 View Post
    As I say, just playing the devil's advocate.

    RM

    Oh I think you are right, it certainly happens. Don't we all hope to get a bargain.

    In this case though it was just a dodgy seller.

    Sometimes I see things on ebay and wonder why they bother, a buy it now price that isn't much above what they paid at auction including fees and on top of that they had to collect it.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  11. #26

    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions

    Quote Originally Posted by novicetimekeeper View Post
    Oh I think you are right, it certainly happens. Don't we all hope to get a bargain.

    In this case though it was just a dodgy seller.

    Sometimes I see things on ebay and wonder why they bother, a buy it now price that isn't much above what they paid at auction including fees and on top of that they had to collect it.
    What perplexes me even more are that there are some sellers on eBay who have listed and relisted the same item at an absurd "buy it now" price or opening bid for months to even years!

    I guess that gets back to a belief in what Jim refers to as the "greater fool" hypothesis... in this instance, keep listing it and hope some day one will come along?

    RM

  12. #27

    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions (By: rmarkowitz1_cee4a1)

    i assume you can relist for free unsold items? I watched a clock for a couple of years before buying one by the same maker at auction, i think the other is still for sale.

    There is, I think, an element of advertising involved as suggested.
    Nick, lots to learn, late starter.

  13. #28
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    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions (By: timepast)

    Another factor is the Economy. Collectibles have always been driven by disposable income. Since about 2000, the Economy has been in a slump. It seems to be roaring back. We can hope this will drive clock prices up.

  14. #29
    Registered User Jim DuBois's Avatar
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    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions (By: SteveC1964)

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveC1964 View Post
    Another factor is the Economy. Collectibles have always been driven by disposable income. Since about 2000, the Economy has been in a slump. It seems to be roaring back. We can hope this will drive clock prices up.
    I am quite successful at driving up clock prices. All I have to do is bid on something of interest and up it goes. Usually WAY up. Lucky that way I guess?

  15. #30

    Default Re: Sad and Happy with the low prices at the auctions (By: Jim DuBois)

    Glass half full or glass half empty?

    The glass half full collector would think low prices are great to allow the accumulation of a collection without breaking the bank.

    The glass half empty is that the value of clocks have declined with a lot of cheaper clocks no longer worth restoring. This probably results in less work for clock restorers and therefore the gradual loss of restoring skills.

    Now more than ever collectors should be sticking to quality clocks which are more worth than the cost of restoration. For those who have the inclination and capability of restoring themselves.... happy days indeed!!!!

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