Inexpensive used grandfather clocks everywhere

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Elliott Wolin, Jan 11, 2020.

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  1. Elliott Wolin

    Elliott Wolin Registered User

    Nov 18, 2019
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    I'm seeing used grandfather clocks for sale all the time, on Craigslist and in antique and second-hand stores. They seem to be going for a few hundred dollars or less, and I imagine they cost way more originally. Or perhaps there's a source for cheap grandfather clocks I don't know about that's feeding this. They go for less than I can make one for, even less than what the movements cost, although in most cases I can't tell what movement is inside.

    Anyway, is the market being flooded with decent clocks, depressing prices? Or are there lots of cheap, junky ones floating around.

    I understand it's difficult to tell for any particular clock, I'm wondering if there's some sort of trend going on.
     
  2. gleber

    gleber Registered User

    Jun 15, 2015
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    I think fewer young people want them (or antiques in general), so supply exceeds demand.

    Tom
     
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  3. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

    Feb 9, 2008
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    Yes,
    This has been going on for some time. I think it got started in earnest around 2008 when the stock market crashed. Lots of older people had to downsize and the clock market was already soft. So, over the next few years things went from bad to worse. The dislike for 'brown' furniture, the total lack of interest by younger people, cell phone mania, just to name a few.

    I wouldn't suggest you get involved in this market unless it's on a strictly personal level. It's a buyer's market, if ever there was one. Not quite as bad as pianos though. Piano owners usually have to pay to get rid of their baby grands, or just abandon them when they move ... sad. Willie X
     
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  4. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

    Jan 20, 2017
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    we should start a thread detailing all the various antiques with depressed values. the list is sadly very long.

    Elliot, people will ask all sorts of prices for items they sell. when it comes to grandfather clocks, those made after about 1960(unless its a herschede 9 tube) are pretty much worthless from a monetary standpoint.
     
  5. 4mula1fan

    4mula1fan Registered User

    Sep 24, 2016
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    I still get a few calls to service them. I get them for parts. The cases are pretty much crap, but I get the movement, chains/cables, weights, pendulum and glass out of them. I refurbish some movements and keep them on hand. The nice ones I keep in one piece. My son and I have 6 real nice ones now, and got them cheap.
     
  6. PaPa_Clock

    PaPa_Clock Registered User
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    Sep 22, 2014
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    I have been involved in this market for a few years now and I agree the bottom has fallen out. I think part of the problem is that people don't have the ability or desire to adequately move and set them up for timekeeping. I pick them up for less than $100 and have a hard time selling them for $200 serviced, delivered, set up, and guaranteed for a year. At one time I had 15 between my house and garage. I now only buy high end models or antiques and even those are difficult to market. Bottom line is I just enjoy bringing the dead ones back to life. Just a retirement hobby that keeps my mind and hands busy. I recently picked this up from the 1920's for $100 just because the owner wanted to get rid of it and he was getting no responses to his ads. Wonderful clock. Moderator, I hope I am not infringing on the no talking of values in this forum.

    IMG_4696.jpg IMG_4697.jpg IMG_4698.jpg IMG_4699.jpg
     
  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Nov 26, 2009
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    At the risk of being seen as a contrarian.

    This topic has been covered many times on the MB with the same explanatory hypotheses proposed repeatedly. Ikea, a changing and aging demographic, changing tastes, the lack of appreciation for antiques by "young people," etc., have repeatedly been suggested as the Great Satans behind it. Kind of beating the dead horse at this point?

    Honestly, I see a component of a necessary correction for what Mr. Greenspan called "irrational exuberance" but in the antiques market. Like the "high tech bubble". Some really nutso prices were being paid for things. Couldn't last forever. Ouch! I bought a lot of stuff at the top of the market. Not happy about it, but that's the reality.

    My experience with some recent auctions and shows is that good stuff is still selling for strong prices. Yes, maybe not as strong as they were once. Good stuff, especially "smalls" are sought and people are paying good money to acquire it. Honestly, I got blown out of the water on just about every lot I hoped to buy for stock. Somebody is making money off this stuff!

    What to do? See it as an opportunity to acquire things that one may not have been able to acquire just a few years ago.

    Looking to down size and sell?? Well...accept that you may not get your money back for everything. If you were a price buyer, purchasing a lot of the more common, restored or badly restored by yourself (overpasted dials, heavily refinished and so on), well...

    I will also comment on something I've observed and give an example. I recently attending a NAWCC chapter meeting. I had for sale a very nice sleigh front. Great original colorful matching Fenn glasses, wonderful rosewood case in a excellent original finish, original untouched faux tortoise shell columns, original unmolested gold leafed column capitals and bases, wonderful label, great dial...I could gush on and on. Okay, Brooks Palmer isn't coming back from the dead to buy it. But a very nice example. I had bought it with other stuff and had already made my money so I offered it for next to nothing. The buyer had nothing but positives to say including how low the price was. However, you would have thought I was offering a Da Vinci for 8 figures. What the hell? Why was it so hard?

    RM
     
  8. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I saw a very nice Portico in a second hand store the other day. Quartz movement installed. $75.00. I asked if the original movement was still available? Nope. So sad!
     
  9. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #9 Chris Radano, Jan 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
    I have been buying a lot of clocks, due to the price drop in the last few years. I told myself a few years ago I wouldn't buy too many more clocks, but it is too much fun to pass up at these prices. Clocks seem to be the only thing I repeatedly buy. I call myself a "controlled hoarder".
    When I first became interested in clocks around 20 years ago, clock prices were higher. I got the impression a lot of experienced clock people looked down their noses at me, a younger person at the time, as I tried to get my feet wet. So I try to treat new clock people with respect, they are the ones who will carry on with clocks into the future. If you are not happy about the way clock prices are going, encouraging everyone new or young interested in clocks is something everyone can do on an individual basis.

    I can tell some real issues younger people have today that hinder involvement with any hobby, like clocks. They haven't much money, and are moving residences frequently. Grandfather clocks don't fit in with today's "moving" society. Also, many people that have to work are facing increased demands on their time and attention, due to their career. Even when technically they are "off" work.
    I've had been working the same job for 23 years, I work 50+ hours a week frequently. Then there's stuff I have to get done around the house when I'm not working my day job. This limits my time to spend on clocks. As a result, it takes me a long time to restore my clocks. However, I am obsessed with clocks. I have learned a great deal of history, and life through clocks. Clocks have been my most consistent hobby, and collecting interest ever. I make sure I have time for my clocks. But I realize most other people, perhaps the vast majority, aren't like me.
     
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  10. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I can only have a reasonable collection because prices are so low, but I can't afford all the ones I want. A 30 hour dial and movement in an incomplete and incorrect case went for £1250 at auction yesterday and it was beyond my budget. (It was by Chris Gould though)
     
  11. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    #11 brian fisher, Jan 12, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
    pendule de paris movements are really easy to find. i would have bought it anyway....? we have a local junk shop that bought out some clockmaker well over a year ago. the junk shop is going out of business in march. he has most of it left over. among the detritus, i counted 11 stone french mantle clocks with typical round french movements. all of them non working to various states of incompletion. its not that he is asking too much money for them either. most are around 35-40 bucks. i would guess no one can be bothered to pull the trigger on them because of the reasons above and the fear of buying something they may not be able to make work. i am going to go in there in a month or so and clean that stuff up for little to nothing.

    other than the 50 hr work week, this pretty much describes me to a tee. like you, i keep stockpiling clocks that i hope to one day restore. i guess ive only been doing this for 3 years or so....when i first started, i bought anything as long as it was old and cheap. now days, i am a lot pickier as to the examples that follow me home. they have to be what i would perceive as high quality, collectible, or something along those lines.....
     
  12. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    My Dad was a Antique dealer. Wholesaler actually. In an era that has long gone. I grew up with lots of antique furniture, china and clocks. As a young kid I I drooled over clocks I could never afford. Banjo, Calendar and Pillar and Scroll. It saddens me to see the decline in the market but on the bright side I have recently purchased a Seth Thomas Pillar and Scroll, an Ithaca Parlor 2 1/2 and a Chelsea Banjo. All at prices I can now afford. They will all have a good home :)
     
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  13. ImPondering

    ImPondering Registered User

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    I agree with Willie that the young people do not like "brown furniture" as it is referred to. It's pretty common to go into an antique store and smell paint. These brown items, now white are selling. Go figure. Sometimes in the future they will be stripped to reveal the beautiful wood beneath.

    I went to an estate sale recently and all the items were marked down to today's prices. That was nice to see as many are still chasing yesterday's value.

    I collect old watches (mostly Omega) and have not seen any dramatic drop on them.

    Bordens has just declared bankruptcy. The millenials are drinking more milk alternatives and affecting that market too. As long as Blue Bell is still around, I'm ok!

    BTW, what were prices like at the National Convention? Anyone know?
     
  14. Raymond Gocken

    Raymond Gocken Registered User
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    Well considering I am approaching 3/4 century mark, I am pretty near and antique myself. All of us who repair clocks are antiques also. Heaven only knows what will happen when we move on. No one can fix them.... competently... I end up gathering donations as when people find out what it costs to repair their clock compared to what its worth, they drop them off and say goodbye.
     
  15. Tommy Thomas

    Tommy Thomas Registered User
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    What a part of history lost when they do that. I am hopeful that it will all come back into fashion one day. Maybe like vinyl records. Oh, I recently purchased a reel to reel. :) Meanwhile I enjoy looking at my clocks everyday. I am not 3/4 Century yet but I am not too far behind you :)
     
  16. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    They say everything old becomes new again. I kind of hope so. Right now there are some good bargains out there.
     
  17. Willie X

    Willie X Registered User

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    I did 4 service calls yesterday. Customers ages were 95, 88, and two at approximately 75 ... Willie X
     

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