How Do You Handle This - (An Open Discussion Question)

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by claussclocks, Sep 19, 2020.

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  1. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Nov 26, 2009
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    Not sure I agree in total.

    My experience has been that some of the older collectors, as evidenced by their statements & subsequently the state of their collections, were the worst offenders when it came to over restoration. Not long ago I saw an example @ a Chapter 8 meeting. A mirror clock heavily restored @ great expense, looking basically like a new repop. It was heart breaking. Many of those folks collected in an era when it was expected that antiques would be stripped, restored and so on.

    Yes, I think many would like to find “that one rare all original piece”. But as you can see from postings on the Forum, it is certainly not the only thing. Enjoy nice clean ORIGINAL stuff, too.

    No, I don’t agree. Enough platitudes. Quite a few of the few newer collectors I have encountered are looking for quality & guidance as to how to identify & find it. Junk is junk & it’s a put off & put down to them when that’s offered & pushed on them just because they are pegged as new or young collectors. These folks work hard for their money & want good value. And from experience I know that when treated right, you spend time educating & explaining, they become repeat customers who buy nice things.

    $200?? To paraphrase Alan Greenspan, irrational exuberance!!

    RM
     
  2. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Feb 22, 2010
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    I obviously do not have your experience RM. I do speak from some experience though. I have a young client who doesn't have a family (wife or kids) and likes to spend some of his discretionary income collecting clocks. He has bought clocks from me. He has sent (directly or indirectly) clocks to me for work, and he has sent me "spare" movements to do with as he damn well pleases. I do steer him away from drastic "restorations" and will often recommend approaches like the Warren method and wax for conservative preservation, cleaning and smoothing of original finishes. The guy is intelligent and has achieved a lot in a short period of time. He has a firm idea of what he wants in his collection. Sometimes he listens to me, sometimes he doesn't. My advice often ends with "If this were my clock, I'd do such and such", and "Less is more". After that, he's a young adult and knows what he is doing. There are some things I won't do to a clock, but he hasn't asked me to cross that line yet.

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  3. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    Jun 14, 2008
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    I am just curious, not trying to belittle anyone, but how many times in the last year, or the last month has a clock been shown here that was deserving of a paid formal expensive appraisal, keeping in mind that some of the folks responding on the MB are credentialed but often remain quiet?
     
  4. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Feb 22, 2010
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    I'm not aware of any Sir, but it's always a possibility, no?
    A "Formal" Appraisal need not be too expensive. There are relatively inexpensive appraisal services to be found on sites like Collectors Weekly. Whether an Insurance Company would accept them as proof of value or not, I don't know. An owner needing that type of documentation would do well to ask their insurance Agent for guidance. Our collective wisdom should enable one to separate the wheat from the chaff though.
     
  5. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    A valid and proper appraisal is seldom cheap. An appraisal done on the cheap is not likely to stand up to any loss claims if there is much money involved. Appraisals should be generally done by licensed appraisers (or acknowledged experts in the field) who are knowledgable of the market for the item being appraised. Such a party will most likely do research of recent auctions of like items, make available auction prices paid, where and when the auction was completed, and comparative photos. They will also offer a detailed description of the item, along with usually detailed photos. They will frequently want to identify where you acquired an item, how long ago, how much you paid, etc. They want that sort of information to establish or continue provenance, while at the same time better understanding the owners level of investment. It is never good to offer an appraisal of say $5000 on something the owner paid $50,000. Having such information before writing an appraisal will not change an appraised amount in a valid appraisal but having such knowledge may allow a bit different management of the hole the owner may find himself, from the appraiser's perspective.


    Asking your agent for guidance might be a starting point but what you really need are the written requirements for appraisals from your insurance provider. What the agent might say can be wrong, right, off the cuff, quickly forgotten, or just his or her quick effort to get on to the next call/complaint/claim. And I like and respect agents, but just saying, if it isn't in writing in their rule book all you may have is them happily taking your money for a service they are not obligated to provide in the event of a claim and will most likely not allow payment against the claim. And everyone needs an understanding of the difference between "household goods" and antiques. A chest of drawers may well be covered for $1000 under household goods, but declaring it to be a $1000 antique chest of drawers will usually exempt it from payment of a claim unless it is carried and itemized as an antique.


    I have about one hundred clocks here in the house/garage. Some fair numbers are quite rare and in excellent condition. Of the one hundred there are two or three worth a proper appraisal and carrying itemized antique insurance on them.


    Having dealt with insurance companies on one break-in and theft of clocks, two lightning strikes affecting no clocks, one theft in the transportation of a piece of jewelry, and one Simon Willard 1st period timepiece destroyed in moving by a licensed, bonded ,and insured moving company, I am now entirely self-insured.


    For me getting appraisals done properly, keeping them current, updating them as necessary, renegotiating with the insurance provider, and all the rest is simply not worth the time investment as well as the cost of all of the above. If the house blows away or burns to the ground the loss to me will be significant but survive able. If we all survive plague and pestilence upon us today many of our clocks will be donated in the fairly near future anyhow.
     
  6. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Feb 22, 2010
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    Jim,

    You've touched on quite a few points.

    Once a clock has been identified, this is often easily done these days on the Internet. LiveAuctioneers.com casts a fairly large net. I'll often refer to it for my own purposes, or in trying to answer informal value questions on the Message Board.

    I only brought up the possibility of a formal appraisal if one of us have dealings with a customer/heir who has no solid information on the value of a truly rare and valuable heirloom clock. Given enough information, we may be able to come up with an informal "ball park" appraisal for the member to pass along to his or her customer. It would then be totally up to that customer to determine the appropriate course of action for their set of circumstances. If you ever watch the "Antiques Roadshow" program, you've no doubt watched as their appraisers suggest a monetary figure for Insurance coverage when something rare and valuable pops up. Honestly, the only expensive (for us) clocks that I've worked on belong in our collection.

    We'll have to see what happens. :eek:

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I decided to have separate insurance for my collection. It was years ago and the collection was much smaller and really nothing like it is now. I was directed by my insurance agent that the way to go was a "valuable items policy", separate from my homeowner's policy. It required a formal appraisal by a professional appraiser. By the way, it is my understanding that not all states require an appraiser to be licensed unless they are a residential appraiser, i.e., they appraise dwellings, buildings, etc.

    The appraiser and his partner spent a lot of time examining, describing, photographing and assigning a value range based upon auction information. They like that as it is a public record. But they provide a range and if possible, justify the upper range based upon comparing your item to the one that sold in the upper range. What do they look for when doing that comparison? ORIGINALITY, LACK OF REFINISHING, RESTORATION, ALTERATION, ETC! It's not just about looking on line and finding a similar object that sold on something like Live Auctioneers. Unless you find the appropriate "comps", the insurance company will just turn around and find the example that sold for bupkis and insist that is the value.

    In his report, the appraiser had to include a pretty complete list of his credentials and experience, almost like a CV, and that he was a member of the Appraisers Association of America. Because, at least at that time, MA did not license fine arts appraisers, so any Joe Blow could have put together an appraisal. The reputation and standing of an appraiser matters to an insurance company. Otherwise, they may dispute the appraisal. They will probably try to do it anyways.

    Furthermore, an appraiser familiar with the local market and values is important. An appraiser from New England might not do justice to a collection antique Southern furniture.

    The appraiser had to state that he had no financial interest in the values or the collection. It is a clear violation of ethics to appraise something then offer to buy it. Finally, and I learned a bit of the hard way, that specialized collections, like clocks and watches, should be appraised by someone with an appropriate background. I found that a general fine arts appraiser may not be the way to go for a specialized collection.

    Anyhow, it was very expensive which is why, at my great peril, I have not bothered to go through it again. Probably penny wise and pound foolish. If my house burns down or blows away, I will be screwed. I am considering having appraisals of just a number of the rarer items.

    By the way, auction houses and dealers offer appraisals, too.

    I have seen those on-line appraisals. Done on the basis of photographs. They are a feature column in some of the free "throw away" publications kept in a pile near the door of some of the group shops up here. Forget it. You get what you pay for and I doubt that any insurance company would accept them.

    RM
     
  8. Bruce Alexander

    Bruce Alexander Registered User
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    Okay. Thanks for the education Jim and RM.

    I can relate as I do have experience with obtaining Real Estate Appraisals. Very thorough and well documented efforts. In the end, they all still come down to a considered opinion. In my experience there were THREE done on a residential property in a family member's estate. There was some disagreement among interested parties which threatened a partition. The fourth appraisal, conducted by a Lending Institution's agent, settled the matter. No one was entirely happy. Differences in the three estimated values were significant. Something else to consider is that Appraisals have a limited shelf-life. It seems that only rare clocks have held on to their value.

    Got it. However, you never know what might pop up from time to time.

    Regards,

    Bruce
     
  9. Dick C

    Dick C Registered User

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    Assuming an appraisal for your antiques was done 5 or 10 years ago and given that the market for antiques has tanked what are the insurance company payouts that might occur if a disaster occurs? Will they take the appraisal and discount to current levels?
     
  10. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I haven't run into many new collectors recently, but when I do they are often young people without a lot of spending money. They frequent auction houses and on line auctions as well as thrift stores to fill their desire to acquire clocks. Very often they are not terribly educated in clock quality, and instead will buy based on looks and running condition.
    Those are the same people who will become more educated in time and start trading clocks for better examples when they run out of room to store them. They will also be more likely to delve into restoring their own clocks and/or start selling restored clocks online.
    Personally, my taste is for the unusual. The rolling platform clock, the Dickory Dickory Dock, the ball clocks in several varieties, the Grasshopper escapement .... stuff like that. My collection is not huge .... just odd :D
     

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