Clock values

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Organist, Oct 14, 2019.

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  1. Organist

    Organist Registered User
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    Aug 29, 2010
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    What is a good way to start learning to determining a value for clocks. I'm talking about how to decide a reasonable price for sale. Most clocks encountered aren't mint condition, but they still look decent and have years of life in them.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    Nov 13, 2011
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    the market determines what something is worth. no matter what you paid for something, it's only worth what someone will pay you for it today.

    the market for clocks is soft... waaay soft. as with any collectibles market high-end pieces (immaculate, all original, known pedigrees/histories) are maintaining their values (mostly)... but for everything else the answer is: it depends.

    for any given piece, i would say the two fundamental pieces of this puzzle are 1) understanding what you do and don't have, and 2) how unique/desirable it is. as far as #1 goes, being able to point to a thread here where people are all salivating over a particular clock would be better than pointing to a thread here where people express doubts or concerns about authenticity or repairs (and remember the rules about 'no links to current auctions or sales').

    my recommendation would be to spend some serious research time on eBay, looking at current listings and then searching for similar items that sold within the last year. some sellers sell so much stuff they seem to have earned some trust (and higher resale values), but that would give you some real info.

    then, you need to figure out how you're going to sell said piece... craigslist? that means local, and annoying craigslist people standing you up or low-balling. eBay? they protect the buyer at all costs... which puts you on the line for returns, people swapping out parts before returning or making false claims, eBay seller fees, etc. (all work-around-able, but still...). auction house? they can give you an idea but will take a big chunk (25%? more?).

    if/when selling the more better photos you have, the better... and the better those clocks look, the better. i've created a website for my clocks, to show them off and to help my heirs sell (or divide them up) when i go. i've got photos and descriptions, along with family-readable-only notes on my thoughts about values, especially the marriages that might have a funky case but highly collectible movement, etc.).

    hope that helps...
     
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  3. Organist

    Organist Registered User
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    I'm not sure I want to get into ebay-- at least not yet. I've never had buying problems, but people I've heard of that have, it was in selling.

    I was planning, at least to start, renting a booth at the local Antique place. I'm not looking to make big $$$. I'm just looking at wading into the market and see what that's like. At some point I'm going to need to get rid of some of these clocks I've been accumulating.
     
  4. bruce linde

    bruce linde Technical Admin
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    i'm suggesting eBay specifically for research... how many of a particular clock are listed, how many have sold in the last year and for how much, how do they compare to yours (!), etc.

    when you say 'rent a booth at the local antique place' i'm thinking of those antique stores that have different zones for each seller... the clocks i see in those setting tend to be priced rather optimistically... but you never know.

    and... there are so many types of clocks in so many directions... as i said previously, it depends.
     
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  5. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    I don’t know your location, but in a fairly high end antique mall, you can probably fetch more of a premium than anywhere else. That is a market where you have access to point of purchase buyers with potentially no knowledge of the economics of clocks.

    you just have to figure in the monthly rent for the space plus the cut the mall takes on each sale.
     
  6. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I find that clocks in unworking condition are priced the same as clocks that work in most antique stores. Your strength might be in offering clocks that have been repaired and carry a guarantee.
    That worked for me, when I was selling antiques. Also have a good variety on hand. Chimers sell better than strikers as a general rule. Also, have your clocks running. It assures customers that they do run and will perform well for them.
     
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  7. Bruce Barnes

    Bruce Barnes Registered User

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    All comments very valid but as with all things there is an ebb and flow and types and models fall in and out of interest.
    To quote, "variety is the spice of life"and it would behoove a seller to not be heavily invested in one category unless you are selling as a specialist. Some clocks maintain a steady market and value,evidence the porcelain cased clocks, and yet others drop and stay for an unknown length of time.
    Make sure you have the time and working capital as your inventory may move slowly.
    Good Luck.
    Bruce
     
  8. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    #8 Willie X, Oct 15, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
    You will have trouble 'breaking even' if you are paying rent ... And breaking even is another word for loosing a lot money!

    I have found it better to ask around and find a secure place to place a few large attractive clocks, with your business card on the glass. Funeral homes, banks, upscale restaurants, etc. If anyone is interested in repair work, or buying someyhing, they will call you and you can take it from there.

    I agree with Bruce. Ebay is the best teacher you could posibly have. And no, I wouldn't buy anything from Ebay, you're taking to big a chance. This is the very reason you will do well selling direct localy. All this said, the market for brown furniture and all things mechanical is close to nill.

    Note, there is no set value on any clock, so don't get to wrapped up in what something might be worth. It's worth what you can get for it.

    Good luck, WIllie X
     
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  9. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Many antique stores will sell on consignment - meaning there's no rent, but they take a percentage of the sale. Often they also have the option of dropping the price after a set period of time, and that can be a negative as far as profits go. Your best bet is just going around to local stores and see what they offer, what their fees are, etc.
     
  10. 124Spider

    124Spider Registered User
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    I've been impressed (depressed?) by how the prices of clocks have dropped quite significantly in the last 20 years or so. That's especially true, I think, for tall case clocks. I think the market has been flooded by old clocks coming available as people die/downsize, and younger people these days have no interest in mechanical clocks (especially large ones).

    I've kept a list of how much I paid for each of my clocks, and when I bought them. In my estimation, few of them are now worth what I paid for them, were I to sell them. But if I were to sell them, I think I'd get them into an auction at a good auction house, rather than trying to sell them retail (although I might try something like Craigslist).

    Mark
     

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