Current market for English lantern clocks?

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by rstl99, Nov 4, 2019.

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  1. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Some of you may be more aware of market trends than I am, but I am wondering what is the state of current market for English lantern clocks? I'm referring to original clocks from 17th and early 18th centuries, either with original balance wheel, or later verge or anchor escapements.

    I understand that the antique clock market has been on a downslope for a few years, value wise, but am wondering how original English lantern clocks have fared in the market. Are we in a buyers' or sellers' market, and would this be a good time for someone to try to get into the market and make a few judicious acquisitions?

    Thanks.
     
  2. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    They are still holding up, precious few would be original balance, perhaps reconverted.Originality and good name still at a premium. You saw the Smorthwaite then?
     
  3. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #3 Chris Radano, Nov 4, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
    I think you can get an anchor and long pendulum lantern clock relatively inexpensive. Verge escapements more expensive, along with famous makers. Balance wheel are rare, I'm not sure the market...although there is a balance wheel for sale at an auction in a few weeks. I think I read Brian Loomes, he said probably all balance wheels were reconverted (English lantern clocks).

    In the German speaking clock world, there are Gothic Iron Chamber clocks that have original balance wheels. There are a couple sold at auctions every year. They are expensive.

    Japanese foliot lantern clocks are expensive.
     
  4. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    French lantern clocks I think are the least expensive, especially anchor. Some are 8-day duration. A few hundred dollars may buy a French lantern with anchor. Verge escapements are more as usual.

    USA lantern clocks are very rare and expensive. I saw one sell last year, it was by a maker who made clocks in England, then moved to the USA and made clocks. His lantern clock was made in England. But a famous maker.

    That about covers all the types of lantern clocks I can think of.
     
  5. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Thanks Nick and Chris, that's very useful to know.
    I have an affinity for French timepieces so should look up those French lantern clocks you were referring to Chris, might be easier on my pocket book.
    Yes I can imagine that any English clock with balance wheel should be considered as a probable reconversion.
    I have a copy of Loomes' book and need to spend some quality time reading and educating myself. He doesn't cover continental clocks in it, but obviously he had enough on his plate just covering the breadth of English clocks!
     
  6. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #6 Chris Radano, Nov 4, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2019
    I figured you were referring to English, but I kept thinking of more!

    Brian Loomes "Lantern Clocks & Their Makers" (2008) has a small sample of lantern clocks outside England on pages 356-361.

    The cheapest lantern clocks I mentioned, I see on Ebay.fr. Search "lanterne", "horloge", or even "comtoise" under art + antiquities. I am amazed at how inexpensive some have sold recently, especially in the Summer "off" months, if they can be found. Of course, they are in need of restoration, and may be missing parts. So it helps to know what you're looking for. Furthermore, not all sellers will ship to North America. Also, the French lantern clocks can date more recently, up to the turn of the 19th century. I think most French lantern clocks were in floor standing cases at one time.

    With English lantern clocks, almost always they have been changed, or modified at some point in their history. This should be expected and is the norm. Lantern clocks may not be for people who need "perfect".

    For English lantern clocks, the less expensive are usually the later, 18th century. Square and arch dial lantern usually aren't quite as expensive as the classic form lantern clocks. Many square or arch dial lantern clocks have a verge, which is a plus. Many of the Turkish market lantern clocks are 18th century, and may be easier on the wallet.
     
  7. zedric

    zedric Registered User

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    Another term to search is capucine - while this is used in English to describe a particular type of portable clock from the 1800s, it is often used to refer to lantern clocks in France.
     
  8. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I have an arch dial lantern with rear pendulum verge escapement, 1730s perhaps. Bought in Portugal.

    I would love a centre pendulum verge one, that's my aim now.
     
  9. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    I see English lantern clocks for sale stateside ever so often. I have bought two in the last year or so. Neither was any sort of money at all. Of course, both were in need of a bit of work and I would not describe either one as wonderful. They have both moved off from me. One was evidently a crown wheel conversion where the other had always been a conventional verge escapement. I would say both were at the very bottom end of English lantern clock desirability and I certainly would not recommend either as an "investment." I paid $550 for the better example and a measly $150 for the lesser of the two. I was recently offered a fairly decent example for about $1800 and a really nice example for $3800. I suspect you could spend a lot more for a balance wheel example, or for a lantern by one of the more well-known makers. But, I don't generally seek those out as I don't know much about them and don't have a lot of people looking for them.
     
  10. rstl99

    rstl99 Registered User
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    Thanks for the French search terms for a "french lantern clock". I'll keep an eye out for something interesting.

    Jim, thanks for your insights about English lantern clocks in the US, and the kinds of prices one can find. In some cases, as you suggest, some of these old clocks sell for not much money, due to lack of interest in, or knowledge about, them. In the UK, these old lantern clocks are venerated as part of the English horological heritage and the prices seem to be aligned with the deep affection that clock collectors hold for them over there. There often seems to be a very significant price difference on either side of the pond. Mind you, with all the internet based auction sites and robots, I'm sure that UK buyers are keeping an eye on what is up for sale on this side of the Atlantic, and even factoring the hefty shipping costs, they are probably occasionally snapping up English clocks to add to their collection. In a way, it's nice when that happens because the products of English makers are thus repatriated to their homeland...
     

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