The future of Clock Collecting

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by Jay, Jun 23, 2009.

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  1. Jay

    Jay Registered User

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    #1 Jay, Jun 23, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2009
    I have spent the past years collecting and enjoying clocks of all kinds. I have noticed over the past 2 or 3 years that a post will contain the remarks"in my opinion these are currently undervalued". I am curious as to what the gurus of the MB consider as potentially "desirable" as it relates to clock collecting ? Will it be alarm clocks? Or there other areas that seem destined to be desirable? I have noticed that several members think that Westminster chime tambour clocks have been "undervalued"?

    I am really interested in what others with more experience and knowledge could share with the rest of us.
    regards,
    Jay
     
  2. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Jay, you've probably noticed some Westminster tambours are much better quality than others. These are the ones that should appreciate in value over the years.
    With alarm clocks, some are rarely seen, others very common. The rare ones will usually bring a better price. The Big Ben's and Baby Ben's for the most part are too common, found at just about every flea market.
    But rare doesn't always mean expensive. OG's for example, often have labels from obscure makers, but don't usually bring much more than the average price.
     
  3. Jay

    Jay Registered User

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    Harold
    I have noticed that OG clocks seem to bring lesser prices...eventhough the works and the cases are really nice? I guess the "rare" too often collides with the common mentality that computes rare with "extremely valuable".
    Thanks for your comment.
     
  4. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    UNlike radios and other collectibles, I believe during the short span I've observed, that clock value appreciation will be much more predictable.
    For example, a five dollar, "Charlie McCarthy" may easily bring $500. A console that sold for $300 may not bring a hundred today.
    A six dollar RCA Catalin may even reach twelve thousand.
    Not so it seems in the world of clocks. Oh yeah; I KNOW you'll cite exceptions and ther are some but in general, I believe clocks that were expensive in their day have appreciated and will continue.
    I don't see the convolution of values of other collectibles appearing in the clock world. Jes' hasn't bin thatta way.
     
  5. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
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    Hello Jay,

    Beginning about 1860 - clock manufacturing was done in factories - 7 major clock companies each churned out 100,000 plus clocks a year, and they created hundreds of case style variations and names for these clocks.

    This continued into the 20th century for about 20 years before production switched to electric clocks.

    All these "common" production clocks do not command much attention and can be purchased fairly inexpensively.

    Weight driven clocks manufactured in lower production numbers that are in original or newly original condition bring good prices at auctions.

    "Location, Location, Location" drives home values - "condition, condition, condition, and perceived rarity" drives clock values. Ebay and other electronic venues have opened a wide world for a variety items and perceived rarity has changed - items thought less common (possibly rare) are more common and vice versa.

    Information is becoming more available/accessible on many items that is educating both potential buyers as well as sellers.

    There are also alot of people trying to hype and hope clock values up. Right now clock values are low due to the recession and only the "real high end" items are bringing high prices and even in some cases less than expected because they might have an issue not realized until recently.

    Apologize if I have rambled, but clock values and why is not a simple equation. Clocks also go through rotation - some are "hot" for awhile and "cool off" and something else becomes "hot".

    Andy Dervan
     
  6. SantaFeRoute

    SantaFeRoute Registered User

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    Well put Andy. I think clock values are based on two things

    1. Am I willing to pay what someone is asking.:eek:
    2. Am I willing to outbid everybody else. :D

    John
     
  7. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    The rarer the clock is , and the more complex the clock is the more it will appreciate over the long run.

    In my opinion he most undervalued clocks today are the pre-pendulum renaissance clocks (such as those sold last month in Milano). These are expensive clocks, 70 clocks were sold for a total of about $ 3 million, for prices ranging from 9000 dollars to over 200'000 dollars each, but I consider these the most undervalued clocks today.

    But obviously clocks of which there is only one around are more tricky to evaluate and valuate.

    Complicated clocks not made in factories are likely to increase the most.

    Just my opinion
     
  8. DBPhelps

    DBPhelps Registered User

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    I for one am glad clock collecting has "something for everyone" and not just a small group chasing that "Picasso or Monet" though there is something to be said for finding that Seth Thomas #19.

    I hope there is a future for those that want to collect steeples, OGs & black mantels. Though my tastes have changed, I still light up when I see a nice example of an OG or steeple clock with a Fenn tablet. Of course, I get misty eyed when I find that Lenzkirch, 10 bell 5 gong bracket or double dial calendar clock (though my pocket book can handle few if any of those), I have an appreciation for all of them and maybe the next generation will as well.

    D
     
  9. NECCnut

    NECCnut Registered User

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    Personally, I believe that the current crop of less-expensive vintage clocks will have the most room to grow in value in the future--especially if there is a relative rarity to them in terms of style, condition, or availability. Now, this would assume a buying public that values mechanical clocks, and with the younger generation, this may be a big assumption. In general, however, items of beauty, quality and relative rarity should command prices as contemporary products are cheapened and designed to be "throw-away."
     
  10. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Some very interesting comments have been posted. Now my turn to ramble and hijack the discussion a bit more.

    What I find most interesting is how the postings reflect the tastes and aspirations of the poster. And that's as it should be. We should like what we collect and collect what we like. However, current value (ie, price) and future value (ie, did I make a good investment) invariably are considerations. For some the main ones, but let's face it, of interest to all who collect.

    The current price structure has permitted me to acquire some interesting (operant word for me) clocks. That's just fine. When it's time to sell will I make money or lose it...don't know. I suspect the latter.

    Also remember that based upon price, most American clocks are assigned to a relatively low rung on the general antiques ladder. Yes, the best Willard banjo or tall case or Howard Regulator can command a 5 to low 6 figure price. Some of the finer English and European clocks bring 7 figures, but these are not just clocks, they're truely art and that's how they're being evaluated and bought. But compared to the best American folk art or furniture, most American clocks remain in the chump change category for those with expensive tastes and deep pockets. Yes, there have been one or two willing to pay $50K for a pillar and scroll. Rotsa ruck, kiddo. You made the auctioneer and consigner happy.

    What also strikes me are how ill defined the terms are and maybe the distinctions they imply are a bit artificial. For example, what is meant by manufactured clocks? Ripple fronts are "manufactured" clocks that have (at least at one time) brought goodly sums? Furthermore, I believe that the Willards spoke of their "clock manufactury" in Roxbury, where the 100's if not 1000's of clocks produced were made on a semi-industrial basis, albeit with more human power than machine power. No, Mr. Willard and his sons did not sit in "Ye Olde Clock Shoppe" hand cutting each gear.

    I also have to comment on collecting contemporary clocks. Some are quite nice having been based upon the designs of a significant industrial designer or really representative of the design trends of the time and/or are made from materials considered daring in their use (pewter, copper) or novel (bakelite, plastic, plywood) for the period. Some can be quite valuable with the growing interest in 20th century decorative arts. Look at the prices some of the Stickley clocks bring. The rest, well, might be a way to keep warm in the winter. Sorry, that's how I feel.

    To me, there is no neat clean answer and no one has a crystal ball.

    Collect don't accumulate. Enjoy what you collect.

    RM
     
  11. Bruce Barnes

    Bruce Barnes Registered User

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    Excellent comments all and good reading as material to contemplate.........I sometimes find it very difficult to be objective in a subjective venue and collecting clocks for me is wandering back and forth.
    Bruce
     
  12. Steven Thornberry

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    I have to agree with RM in what he posted. good food for thought. My own tastes currently run to what I find interesting for various reasons, and they may not qualify for great in some's mind, but they appeal to me.

    My concerns for the future of this "sport" center around the next generation or two. Currently, we are very much a throwaway society, likely to change cell phones and computers more often than our socks. Don't get me started on cheapy, modern quartz clocks (not all, BTW, so qualify). (And I find that too many current school children are inept when it comes to telling time from an analog clock - good old digitals, where the numbers lay it out clearly and concisely - but that's another matter). Who needs clocks when cell phones and computers tell you the time. I bought my son an analog watch (quartz :D) for Christmas - I wait interestedly to see whether he wears it.
     
  13. lpbp

    lpbp Registered User
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    I believe from a collectors standpoint, that OG's are underpriced, especially ones with unusual labels and unusual movements, between the plate alarms, etc.. Will they appreciate in price, probably not. Seth Thomas Adamantines are carrying a premium price now, who knows if it will hold. I saw another "rare" clock, advertised the other day, had a quartz movement, wow really rare.
     
  14. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    I would love to give advice on clock collecting...... but I am still trying to figure it out myself :?|
     
  15. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Bingo! Ain't that the truth.

    RM
     
  16. NECCnut

    NECCnut Registered User

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    You'd have to ask where is there room for growth in price relative to the market. My feeling is that high-end antiques will still command high prices but will not rise as much since relative few can afford these. More moderate antiques, such as OG's, or even what are now "vintage" pieces, have more room for growth. I don't think relatively low value items like German mechanical 400 day clocks and even Hermle movement American and European clocks can be discounted from this trend. If they are attractive, and have some emotional or historic connection for the collector, and work, then they will be collected and demand higher prices when supply is small.
     
  17. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    As long as the prices at the bottom end stay relatively low, we might attract enough new collectors to our hobby to keep it vibrant. With a good eye, there's still lots of pristine antique clocks to be had for under $100. For instance, the last two clocks I posted in the Seth Thomas thread cost me $160 for both of them:D.
     
  18. Bruce Barnes

    Bruce Barnes Registered User

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    I agree with Harold and RM,you have to be diligent and ferret them out..........my last purchase,a J C Brown, was for $100.00.The Blue label Sharp Gothic ,C Jerome 8day,was $70.00
    It was almost surreal that no one else bid.
    Bruce
    -> posts merged by system <-
    The photo of the C Jerome................
     

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