Tower Clock Valuation?

Discussion in 'Tower, Monumental & Street Clocks' started by hickorydickorydoc, Mar 1, 2009.

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  1. hickorydickorydoc

    hickorydickorydoc Registered User
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    Hello,

    A town whose tower clock I maintain has asked me what the clock should be insured for. As far as I am concerned, it is irreplaceable and I'm having a hard time setting a value limit on it, but that's my biased view. Any ideas on what to tell the town? Should we use average auction prices?

    Thanks!
     
  2. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    I think that finding the replacement cost would be a good first step. If you can find similar clocks that have been auctioned, I guess that would be a reflection of the value.
     
  3. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    I think you could check the Balzer's web site for an idea of replacement cost. Balzer Clock Works
     
  4. Grant Perry

    Grant Perry Registered User

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    In my mind I can't imagine how you could put a value on an antique clock of this calibre. Tough job
    Grant
     
  5. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    #5 Jim DuBois, Mar 4, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
    There are litterally thousands of tower clocks around and many of them surface for sale from time to time. There are a small number that were done by famous makers making them on ocassion more valueable, at least intrinsically speaking. But many are production items and it is easier to establish some sort of value on them. Photos of the clock of which you are asking about would be useful, by the way I am guessing, but you understand it is against MB rules to give opinions of value and the like?

    With that said, part of the town clock value would be dependent upon the maker, but importantly condition and originality also come into play, significantly. Has it been butchered/electrified?

    Now as to a value, often we see "replacement value" as suggested above. In this case that could be as simple as an estimate from the Balzers to provide and install a new clock of their making, that coresponds with the form fit and function of the current mechanism. That would not be a small number but they have a great product.

    To obtain a proper (original) replacement (price/value) would be more problematic, as would your approach of "average auction prices". To that point I bought a Howard T/S tower clock that was sitting outside in the weather for years, missing its entire escapement and escape wheel for $1200. The fellow I bought it from bought it from his town selectman for $500. I replaced the missing parts, located a proper period pendulum, generally cleaned it up, polished pivots, rebushed a couple of places and had the clock running and was making it ready for paint when a fellow offered me $5000 for it.

    He then completely restored the mechanism to near perfect, better than new, with all the proper paint colors, proper gold leaf, proper pin stripe, etc. He sold it to a mall developer for something in the lower 6 figure range, and who knows what the developer sold it to the final mall owner for? That was in the mid 1990's by the way.

    Today, there are far fewer people developing malls, and the interest in tower clocks as display pieces seems on the wane.....I at one time had an open buy order from one such party, but no more. My guess is tower clocks today on the open marketseldom bring less than 50% of what they brought in the 1990's. I am no expert but I have bought and sold a couple dozen tower clock movements in the last xx Years....

    So, how does all that help answer your question? It doesn't really, other than suggest you will need an expert opinion as to value, and experts opinions differ greatly...
     
  6. mr.jeepster

    mr.jeepster Registered User

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    I'm having the same problem with my tower clock,My insurance company wanted a value on mine( I didn't tell them -how much I really paid for it,mine was a great deal -the guy I bought it from needed money right now) I email the company that took over joyce whitchurch and he couldn't tell me because it is too old 1850's and I been looking online and can't even find anything or a picture on my clock to give a value on it.I called 2 clock people and they told me they don't know and there still looking been 4 months now,they don't want to guess either.One guy told me if I only had the movement it would be around 5k but with the face it came with :???:? Good luck with yours.
     
  7. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    I think the key to this discussion is "Insurance Appraisal." By definition, insurance appraisal is replacement cost. For a town with a clock in a tower, that is almost certainly the functional replacement item (hence the reference to Balzer). If the item has historical significance or rarilty that goes beyond the functional replacement, those can be factored in, but insurance cannot recover them, it can only compensate for their loss.

    If you really want the second type of appraisal, you need to estimate the current market value of the item. Without sales of comparable items that will be very difficult to obtain. The market is very thin and the supplies are almost equally thin.
     
  8. Dr. Jon

    Dr. Jon Moderator
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    I like Tom's suggestion of Balzers as a source.

    From what I have seen on this thread, I suspect the primary hazards requiring insurance are damage by "Acts of G-D", fire, and vandalism. Theft seems very unlikely given the market for tower clocks, unless this one is very special.

    You might conisder insuring against these hazards and Balzers or a similar outfit can estimate the repair and restoration costs.
     
  9. ElectricTime

    ElectricTime Registered User
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    Do you have photographs of the clock ?
     
  10. SamS

    SamS Registered User
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    Although I'm sure there are exceptions, insurance companies usually require a written appraisal from a qualified appraiser to insure specific items (jewelry, valuable musical instruments and art work for example). Appraisers normally charge for this service and provide a proffessional document on their letter head and signed. The question is, who, if anyone, is qualified as an appraiser of tower clocks?

    If no qualified appraisers exist, a quote for a "replacement" may be a reasonable option, but that will depend on the insurance companies position. I don't really think the e-bay sales numbers will be appropriate as the cost and value of installation, weights, motion works, and getting it all working are part of the value of an installed and operational clock. The clocks on e-bay also often need very expensive and extensive restoration work.

    I am interested in the result of this inquiry as I will soon be installing a Howard #2 striker in a mill my wife and I own, and would very much like to have it insured.
     
  11. Schwalbachfan

    Schwalbachfan Registered User

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  12. mr.jeepster

    mr.jeepster Registered User

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    I email him with picture's of mine with that guy link above and never heard back from him?? Over 2 weeks ago-nothing!!! I was wondering do I get a free valuation being a member of our nawcc:???:?
     
  13. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Probably not, MJ. If this guy does appraisals for insurance companies, he isn't likely to give free samples.
    But, Here is my free appraisal for you.
    You are one of a kind, and priceless:thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
  14. mr.jeepster

    mr.jeepster Registered User

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    Maybe I wrote it out wrong Harold but what I might is, I know it would cost me 150 -200 for the appraisal from him.I was talking about our club.Don't they do appraisal's for members for freeeeee? This guy is the third guy I talk to about my clock and nobody come's back about a clock?? The tornado season is almost here and I want some insurance on the clock and I want to know too..
     
  15. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    There isn't, to the best of my knowledge, an appraiser on staff. You may want to talk to your insurance agent. If you find some similar clocks that sold on ebay, or any other auction site, he may be satisfied with what you come up with as a possible replacement cost. This is one way an appraiser would come up with a value.
     
  16. Jim DuBois

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    It is always curious to me why someone thinks I (or others) should supply several hours of work for free. Free appraisals are worth precisely what you pay for them too...appraisals are no different than refinishing a clock case, or overhauling a movement. They take time, knowledge, skill, and experience, not to mention professional accreditation is desireable.
     
  17. mr.jeepster

    mr.jeepster Registered User

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    Jim ,I was joking around when I said that -I know they are not freeeeee !! And I know it takes time !!! And I would pay for it too!!! The 3 people I wanted to give money to -they never came back to me!!!! Because- it will be a hard one to find:???: or get the right price for it:???: And other club's I belong too, we help each other out .If someone did it for me from the club I would offer money or donate to the club. I already donated to this club/site and gave away 2 clocks parts for freee to club members who needed parts for there's clock!!! I'm not a free loader!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  18. gvasale

    gvasale Registered User
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    Are you going to put up a photo here so we can see what you're asking about? I believe you were asked already. We are curious.
     
  19. DanJeffries

    DanJeffries The Tower clock man
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    Yes, please post a picture so we can all see what you are asking about. I have several tower clocks in my collection and they are all rare to me, but that doesn't mean much as far as insurance. In the case of tower clocks they are all rare, they aren't mass producing these things anymore........:)

    Anyhow, I think everyone on this thread would be able to help you out a lot more if you could post a picture of the referenced tower clock movement. I sold a Seth Thomas #16 quarter strike last year and was able to right up a value estimate for my buyer and that was sufficient enough for his insurance. I put it on my clock business letter head and just stated that this was a only "estimate" of what it would cost to replace the clock, but this was no official value since value of these movements can be volatile and they do not sell that often. Especially in this case, how often do you see a ST 16 Quarter strike go up for sale:???::???: Of course my buyer wanted me to treat the clock as if it was restored (place a much higher value on the movement) and I told him, it would truly have to be restored before I would even consider placing a higher value. I spoke with his insurance agent and he said the main issue was being able to back it up. If you are going to place a value on the clock or anything, you must have a comparable movement, with a comparable price, etc and keep the information. I just made a file of what documentation I used for the valuation and that is all you can do. That is all an appraisal is, is someones best guess at what something is worth, and I hope they can back it up. In a former life, I worked in banking and I was an Appraisal review officer.
    Anyhow, pics would be great.
    Thanks
    Dan
     
  20. mr.jeepster

    mr.jeepster Registered User

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    here's some of mine .Joyce whitchurch from england
     

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  21. DanJeffries

    DanJeffries The Tower clock man
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    Nice clock there, and it looks like you have the entire set up, face, motion works, origianl weight...........

    As far as trying to come up with a value for the clock of course you are not going to find many Joyce Whitechurch clocks just sitting around. I think you had mentioned you had contacted Smith of Derby, who took over their operations....... I would try them again. I have a John Whitehurst of Derby 1830's Time and Strike chairframe and they were able to give a ball park figure of a value. You just have to be very detailed with them, give them as much info as you can.
    Another way to come up with a value is look on Ebay and see what single train tower clock movements are going for. Good example was the single train Howard that went a couple weeks ago.....It went for $3200 (I think) and it also have a face, etc. There was a single train John smith and Sons that sold on Ebay UK for $1200US. with original weight motion works, but no face. Yours is a single train so don't use values for tower clocks that are time and strike, etc. Again insurance companies want them justified and you can't justify a value using a different type of clock.
    To be honest right now the value of everything is dropping due to the poor economic conditions and everyone has a "deal". I wouldn't sell any of my tower clock or any clocks right now for that matter, I wouldn't get what "I" think they are worth.
    In my opinion and my "tower clock experience" (limited other than some repair work and collecting, never really sold many as a business) I wouldn't place much more value on a European movement over the American made tower clocks, and I say that owning 6 European movements and only one E. Howard. I have owned several other movements including several Seth Thomas movements and they sold very quickly and for much more than I ever thought they would, the European movements took alot longer and a lot of times I broke even or made very little. The European movements are many times much more complex or better put together, but they have to have something to make them "pop" to gain the extra price. The European movements are rare to us in the US but in Europe they are all over the place. Of course with the tightening up of the Historical laws in Europe they are getting more and more scarece as well. But in my dealings the American tower clocks, S. Thomas, E. Howard, etc have always fetched a much greater price tag than the Europeans, I hope others in the tower clock gang on the forum will back me up on this, but if not then I stand corrected. Am I right guys or at least on the right track:???:??
    Of course I think all tower clock are priceless, but I have learned that something in only worth what someone is willing to pay for it......
    Hope I have been somewhat of a help and maybe I have given you a starting point of attaining a value.
    Thanks
    Dan
     
  22. mr.jeepster

    mr.jeepster Registered User

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    I have a guy doing this for me right now and he said this is a hard one to do. He said first of all jb joyce whitchurch is the oldest(1690) in the world, and is the best tower maker known on earth back then and had a hand in building big ben. All records for early day's burn in the fire they had . He said he wish I had a seth thomas or a howard clock because they are all over the place and they sell all day long . He found only one on ebay and it was a joyce whitchurch regulator wall clock and sold for 3900.00 usd. He doing this homework between work job's ,because the time it's taking. Also my clock is complete and run's too. He said ball park $ around guess 10k or more. Thanks for replying Dan
     
  23. DanJeffries

    DanJeffries The Tower clock man
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    Well I'm glad you found someone to do an appraisal for you. Sounds like I need him to appraise all of mine........ I would make sure that he could back up his numbers though. I'm not trying to be a pessimist or put a damper on things, but I have not seen a single train European movement sell or even listed for that much in quite a while (years).......I guess I need to think of replacement value as far as someone having to fabricate all the parts...... Again I guess I have worked on the appraisal side of things before and believe me if something does happen, most of the time the insurance companies don't just say "okay, here's your check".........

    Anyhow, hopefully soon he will have you a number and you can get it insured and you will then have peace of mind.

    Hey just wanted to let you know that I'm finally going to post pics of my Howard on the other thread. I think you were the one wanting to see pics. Also I have a youtube page with all my tower clocks and videos of them. Nothing spectacular but a lot of people have asked me to post videos so they can see them in action.
    Thanks and good luck
    Dan
     
  24. hickorydickorydoc

    hickorydickorydoc Registered User
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    Hi everyone,

    Thanks very much for all the input; sorry I haven't been back on the MB for a while. I am hereby trying to attach a photo of this Stevens clock - at least to show the movement but not the pendulum or bell + hammer.

    Hope this works..
    Thanks again for the advice. I will probably try to get an estimate for replacement of a 'similar' clock.
     

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