Will Clock Prices Ever Rise Again?

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by ClockCollector, Jul 9, 2018.

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  1. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I think the point is to be in command of and use technology but don't become dependent upon nor enslaved by it. Use it to accomplish things that otherwise might not have been as readily achieved or not achieved at all.

    For example, I love the internet and the technology (iPhone and desk top) that I use to access it reliably and instantly. I can explore and look up things with an ease that I couldn't have imagined before. I've used it to learn much. I still critically assess that info and not accept it as gospel truth. Furthermore, I also understand its limits, faults, risks and caveats of the internet and the associated technology...so I have a pretty good reference library at home using the technology developed by Gutenberg in the 1400's.

    RM
     
  2. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    No. Shrinking demand, growing supply.
     
  3. Levi Hutchins

    Levi Hutchins Registered User

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    Huzzah!

    All
    blessings are mixed.

    I recall Art Buchwald's delivering possibly the greatest (and most succinct) commencement address ever: “Remember, we are leaving you a perfect world. Don’t screw it up.”

    Time exacting it’s toll on contrivances that attempted to take its measure is to be expected, but, fortunately, clocks through the ages have insured their survival through a diversity of objectives. The technical genius, innovation and workmanship that made them marvels of engineering have been accompanied by a bequest of aesthetic sensibility and expression, a venue for the skills of the cabinetmaker, the engraver, the painter, the gilder, the casters and tuners of bells, gongs, chime rods, and tubes, all serving as a candid ambassadorial delegation from our forbears, all true to their times and bearing a legacy for ours. Preserving that legacy whilst adding to it seems the responsible thing to do, despite not knowing how it will be received.

    After all, that is what they all did, and just look at us!
     
  4. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    Rob
     
  5. MartinM

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    Rarity will always be a factor. As it is in anything.
    I feel the days of the utilitarian design are behind us, forever. Nobody's looking for a plain wood square clock, anymore.
    Sadly... The body of mechanical clocks that were revered for their durability or accuracy are similarly unable to recover unless the steampunk folks greatly reduce their numbers.
    Some may be able to hold on because of their unique or high quality sound, but even those have a limited fanbase/audience in the modern world.
    So... The clocks that will best be able to hold or increase in value are those with individual historical significance or that display well and appeal to folks for their superior craftsmanship or artistry.
     
  6. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    this thread has really taken off. I have really been enjoying all the comments and perspectives posted here. its nice to see the contributions of older and younger members. the youtube inbeds are a treat also. the one thing that I feel can be taken away from this is that there are a few outliers, but the opinions are generally about 80% in similarity.
     
  7. ClockCollector

    ClockCollector Registered User

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    Depends. Right now the modern “style” is having black, grey, and white furnishings, and antique clocks for the most part do not fit this style (some art-deco clocks do). I wonder if modern high quality clocks have fared better than their antique counterparts in the market. Some people might argue that we will revisit some of the older styles. I personally love Victorian style homes, but I know that they aren’t in style.
     
  8. MartinM

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    All of the folks I know who go that route will take a quartz clock, every time.
     
  9. mauleg

    mauleg Registered User
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    #59 mauleg, Jul 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
    Or maybe something like the German-made modern Hermle below. Relatively inexpensive (typically ~US$100 new), aesthetically compatible, and interesting enough to be a conversation starter. I admit it, I have one and like it. Yes, it's flimsy at best, but it's a good timekeeper and gets more admiration than clocks that are far superior, go figure...

    HERMLE-Table-Skeleton-Mantel-Clock-mechanical-8-day-movement.jpg

    As a collector with no mind to ever resell, the current bear market has allowed me to dramatically expand my collection. The implications are open to interpretation, but greater accessibility to the marketplace for those with a passion, yet limited means cannot be all bad.
     
  10. claussclocks

    claussclocks Registered User
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    #60 claussclocks, Jul 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
    My wife has written a sci-fi type book around a group of clock keepers and an alien life-form that live in mechanical clocks. Partly because she likes to write and also hoping to attract some younger attention. It is meant to be a series if interest prevails

    We need more attention to attract interest. To many people we are almost a "Secret Society". When you were in school and studied about the industrial revolution and the rise of American Industry did any teacher you had or book you read ever mention people like Seth Thomas, Simon Willard, Elias Ingraham, William Gilbert as even remotely playing a role in American business. It was all Ford, Edison, Whitney, etc...

    They were as important, if not as large as any of these people to the making of Amercian history and industry. I will get off my soapbox now.
     
  11. ClockCollector

    ClockCollector Registered User

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    I'd assume that people admire it more because they can see the entire movement running, which draws attention from a lot of people. It's easier to tock about a clock when people can see it tick (I'm sorry :confused:)
     
  12. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    It is interesting what a non collector admires. I have a few
    very nice looking un jeweled dollar watches that I have shown to
    friends and they are as enamored with the
    dollar watch as with the high grade RR watches I've shown them. To them they are both pocket watches
    that look old and cool. They judge a watch by the dial and case.
    I like the dollar watches too.

    Rob
     
  13. ClockCollector

    ClockCollector Registered User

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    I think part of that has to do with knowing what to look for. When you have knowledge on what you're collecting, you tend to start becoming impressed with the smaller points of detail and signs of quality. Non-collectors don't scrutinize items nearly as much as collectors do.
     
  14. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    Unfortunately, rarity is more of a subjective concept than an objective concept.

    In addition, even an object that all would define as rare meets just one-half of the equation that defines high value - demand (or desirability, if you wish).

    Regards.
     
  15. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    H'mm...no, not sure that it is more subjective though I agree it's not entirely objective. I do agree that it has become an overused superlative along with others like "genius" and "brilliant". Einstein was a genius.

    You're correct in saying that rare does not necessarily mean valuable though interestingly some would say calling something rare implies that is not just infrequently encountered but also of great value. Probably "scarce" is a better word?

    Anyhow, I do believe that the perception of rarity has changed as discussed and is a factor in declining prices.

    RM
     
  16. novicetimekeeper

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    All the clocks I collect could be considered rare, if not unique. They were not mass produced, and were made to order, rarely are two found alike.

    However that does not make them valuable, which is just as well or I could not afford them.
     
  17. ClockCollector

    ClockCollector Registered User

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    Agreed. Also, I think it’s fair to note that regular people don’t desire to have more than 1 or 3 antique clocks in their home, which effectively limits the market more or less to collectors most of the time.
     
  18. David 62

    David 62 Registered User
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    I think that the correlation between antique clocks and antique furniture both being depressed speaks to the fact that young people never caught the bug,or perceived value in old hand made furniture and mechanical clocks.It needs to start with a appreciation of time travelers from a different era,a time with out electricity that produced objects that would be very difficult to reproduce in our modern time with modern machines.One needs to appreciate history and enjoy knowing that a antique was used long ago and owners lived in homes without plumbing,read about civil war battles,as well as Pearl Harbor much later and so on.The appreciation generates a hunger for knowledge about makers and methods of manufacture which enhances the appreciation of the history and skills needed to get up a clock or highboy in the 18th.or 19th.century.Books on antiques or antique clocks are commonly sold at the end of a auction of a collectors estate.The books probably were procured as that collector fed the hunger for knowledge that grew from the appreciation.
     
  19. Jim DuBois

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    In the 40's, 50's, 60's and perhpas even a bit longer it was not uncommon for people who liked antique furniture might well have an antique clock in each room of a house featuring a lot of antiques. It was common at least for these folks to have at least 1 banjo clock, a tall clock, and a pillar and scroll, all in different rooms. These folks seem to be generally hard to find these days.

    And then there were some old time clock collectors who had huge collections. One fellow I knew had over 350 double dial clocks, another had over 300 tall clocks, another (Mudd) had a warehouse with over 5000 clocks. Not too many of those folks around these days. Fred Ropkey, Indianapolis, had 50 tallclocks and 60 army tanks......short of a couple collectors/dealers in the New England area there are not so many outrageous collections existing these years. There are also a couple of pretty outstanding tower clock collections still.
     
  20. bkrownd

    bkrownd Registered User

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    People also need stability to hang on to a lot of possessions like antiques, but a lot of younger people spend their 20's, 30's and even 40's moving from job to job and home to home every couple years. My relatives have dispersed all over the country. It's getting harder to keep antiques in the family. My great grandfather apparently had dozens of clocks among his repair projects, which I vaguely remember. I don't think more than a couple of them stayed in the family.
     
  21. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    I never get sick of looking at the clocks in my collection. Not sure if you can or need to put a price on that satisfaction......
     
  22. novicetimekeeper

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    Nor do I :)
     
  23. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Don't discount your knowledge of early clocks. It definitely gives you an advantage so that you can buy that "sleeper" which others may not understand nor appreciate.

    One thing about rarity and value I forgot to mention and it's something I've experienced personally. In the past, there have been clocks where the general consensus was that they were "rare". Then on my part, and others as well, the sometimes "stupid" price was paid with the rational being even so, I had better buy it now because who knows when I might see such an nice example again. Well many of those clocks can now be found with some frequency and reasonably on eBay.

    I remember that there was a fellow in Haverhill, MA who had clocks under every bed and apparently filling floors of empty factory buildings (of which there are many in that city). Not to mention collections of Model T's, Stanley Steamers and some really fine antiques.

    Don't forget, a number of folks in their 30's and 40's are doing quite well and have a relatively stable existence and disposable income. The issue often is that if the latter is substantial enough, they're buying Hans Wegner not Chauncey Jerome.

    However, the sad fact is that many are now graduating college with crushing debt. Often they are forced to take jobs that don't pay much or offer little stability or "fringes", i.e., they are contract workers. They may be either sharing a tiny cramped overpriced apartment in a major city or returning to the home of their parents. They SHOULDN'T be buying antiques! It doesn't make sense under those circumstances.

    RM
     
  24. James Foster

    James Foster Registered User
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    Pardon me if this point has been made earlier in this thread.

    I believe most “standard” mechanical clocks were made as tools to know when to be somewhere when you are expected to arrive. The majority in an era when labor was cheap and technology was expensive, therefore time consuming features impacting their beauty was cost effective to increase the desirability and salability to the masses.

    Higher quality, higher value clock production was tied to the requirement for precision. The owners of the above mentioned standard clocks many times aspired to own a higher value clock for status or to be envied. When that aspiration or desire was born the means (money) could not be allocated for the sake of status. Later in life people tend to allocate more to fulfill those desires. One possible reason a midsize car from the ‘60s brings more than $100,000.

    A collectible’s desirability I believe in general is motivated by memories. In other words, a personal connection to the past. The decline in clock values is likely tied to the fact people who remember winding a clock, standard or precision, to be somewhere on time are dying.

    There will likely always be a segment of the population that appreciate the beauty of antique clocks, I’m afraid the demand will never equal the supply so the values will reflect that ratio. Given the beauty of the cases I’m thinking this ratio will be slow to change. For example; a dear friend died whose father was also a collector, as was mine, had a smorgasbord of clocks from tabor cases to Herschedes tubular bell. His widow is trying to dispose of the clocks that were not displayed in their main living area. Being in the clock restoration business, the case-less movements have value to me for parts but the market value of a standard non working tabor clock won’t support storing it. The reluctance to pull out the movement and take the cases to the landfill supports the supply portion of the value formula.

    The bottom line for me is I inherited a couple of hundred nice clocks, purchased a home large enough to accommodate them, never moving again, my memories of growing up with the clocks already outweighs there market value so I guess I’ll die with them. There value will be someone else’s problem.
     
  25. shutterbug

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    Adding to the problem is lack of familiarity with analog time. Most kids graduating college these days never learned how to read a clock dial! So the desirability of old clocks is pretty much isolated to us old folks, and in time clocks will be relegated to museums....and given enough time, even those will be gone.
     
  26. ClockMogul

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    With all the doom and gloom about prices, noticed a 1920's Howard just sold for over 150,000.00 USD. When ever a E Howard Astro shows up forsale they are well into the 6 figures . I also recently dumped my Howard Astro and was quite pleased by what it fetched too. The top end "GOOD STUFF" still brings great prices and things one may have thought was "RAREBIRD" now most likely are no longer rare birds..Mint rare perfect original jewelers regulators do very very well in this down market. Chelsea clocks 10 inch ships bell and above bring huge bucks too as I just found out..
     
  27. Jim DuBois

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    Some clocks bring really great money....

    20150413_061846.jpg
     
  28. Time After Time

    Time After Time Registered User
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    One can always point to auction results where two or more one-percenters go at it for bragging rights. Was it Tina Fey who said "Ninety-Nine percent of the One-Percenters I've met are jerks."? :chuckling: I hope that prices, in general, do go back up. I just don't hold out much hope (if any) that they will. Is that Doom and Gloom pessimism or just realism? Anyone got a Crystal Ball handy? Maybe we can answer the OPs question. If not, guess the Market will just have to answer it for us.
     
  29. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I don’t know if you realize how close to the mark you are with regards to certain individuals?

    RM
     
  30. RAK

    RAK Registered User
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    I like the new prices. I purchased the majority of my clocks at pre-recession, stupid, astronomical prices and I'm done with that. I've never been a One-Percenter. I'm probably not even a 50-Percenter. So buying a Seth Thomas Adv. clock that at one time would have commanded $2,500 for $600 is OK with me.

    To be honest, if the prices didn't come down, I would not be buying clocks anymore. Part of that is due to the fact that I already have a reasonable number of the clocks I'm interested in and part of it is due to the fact I only have so much wall space available for clock display. I think many of you reading this are in the same boat. So now it takes something special to get me to open the checkbook, even at the new low prices.

    When it comes to selling clocks which I do occasionally, I ask myself if I enjoyed the clock and learned something from owning it. Then I think of the difference between buying price and selling price as the cost of the enjoyment of ownership or the knowledge gained and move on.

    Bob
     
  31. Time After Time

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    That's a good way to look at it Bob. If you're searching for money making investments, it's probably better to try your hand in the Stock Market rather than with Antique anythings. You might do better with the Dow. Then again, you might not. :eek:
     
  32. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Yes, I too put together a goodly part of my collection as the market was going up and then around the peak of the market. Probably won't see a return on the investment and most likely a loss.

    Yet, I still enjoy them and love talking about them.

    I have also found that if one is still interested in clocks and finding interesting things to add to your collection, there are some wonderful opportunities in the current market. Another plus is that now with tools not as available 10-20 years ago, like the internet, if used wisely and discriminately, they facilitate the process.

    RM
     
  33. novicetimekeeper

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    It's very likely you are already in the top 1% in the World, or a lot closer than you think.

    Are You in the Top One Percent of the World?
     
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  34. Chris Radano

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    I saw a couple more clocks like this one,
    Black Forest painted dial clock with front pendulum, surrerwerk, alarm, etc.
    that were unearthed and sold in Germany, for significantly higher than what I paid for mine. One was over 2X as much as mine (which was one year ago).
    Was the clock in the link less expensive, because it was restored? Because mine has plexiglas side doors (which I love, but can easily be removed)? Were the recently sold more expensive because it appears they were out of the same collection? Who knows?? But clock prices can still rise significantly. For most clocks, the trend is down. But I have re-evaluated my opinion, clocks that I like and have collected have rebounded at least somewhat. Sure, triple fusees are priced lower than 15 years ago, but they're still not chump change to most folks.
     
  35. Jim DuBois

    Jim DuBois Registered User
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    A large number of clocks were sold a couple of months ago in Georgia. I didn't see any that I would consider "pure," many of them had repainted glasses, and some fair number of them were not well done. The cases, dials, labels movements mostly showed more wear/damage/replaced parts than one desires, but several of them had Georgia labels, even though they were made in Bristol Conn. The specific clocks I am speaking of included several C. & L.C. Ives empire cased 8-day clocks, some wood works, some Birge and Mallory 8 day clocks, including ogees, etc. Most of these clocks sell for $225-$375 bearing their normal Bristol Conn labels. But these, with the Southern labels, brought a lot of money.

    From a friend who was at the auction ;
    "The Greensboro label triple decker’s were crazy! $3700, $4200 and I think the most expensive was $4700! He bought lot #103 that hardly had any label in it for $3700! Nice clock but waaaaayyyyyyy too much! One guy, who didn’t even know what he was buying other than they said Greensboro and he lives there…… he bought three totaling $12,500. He came up to me and several others from the clock club and asked, so what’s the big deal on these:???::???:"

    My point is sometimes local interest, or a lack thereof, can do some really strange things to prices, these prices, given their conditions, as well as being fairly common clocks (other than the labels) were absolutely crazy. So, whatever we think we know about clock prices today and the overall market, we can still be entirely wrong under special circumstances.

    IMG_3855.jpg IMG_3856.jpg IMG_3847.jpg IMG_3848.jpg IMG_3851.jpg IMG_3852.jpg IMG_3870.jpg IMG_3876.jpg IMG_3872.jpg
     
  36. sylvester12

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    I live up here in Kitchener, Ontario Canada. The prices of clocks has basically stayed the same, nice clocks still bring the money. Have had a booth the last two weekends at the Aberfoyle Antique Mall, a lot of interest and brought in good money for the clocks I sold. When I go clock hunting at the antique places I don't see a difference in price from a year ago. I can buy a rough clock for practically nothing and have to pay more for a nice one. I think the biggest comment I get from people is the cost of getting them fixed if they break or don't run. Ordinary folks can't repair their own clocks. I know the American market is different, there's more clocks and more variety than what's available here. I don't see much of a difference on Flea Bay either. Then there's the inbred moron who asks 3 times what the clocks worth and it looks like Red Green restored it.

    DSC04541.JPG DSC04542.JPG DSC04543.JPG DSC04544.JPG DSC04545.JPG DSC04547.JPG DSC04548.JPG DSC04549.JPG DSC04550.JPG DSC04551.JPG
     
  37. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Even with Southern labels, those were ridiculous prices. I think they represent an instance where auction prices are a fluke.

    Remember, there was an under bidder! An example of the greater fool theory?

    RM
     
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  38. RAK

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    Going to drop in on the National at York on Saturday during the day. Will definitely be checking out prices at the MART to see which way the wind is blowing on prices. My expectation is a bit of an up-tick in prices asked (not necessarily realized). ST #2's are always a good barometer. If you see a young handsome guy, walking around with a name tag that says "Bob"... That's not me. I'm the old frumpy, 60-something guy down the isle looking for advertising clocks :D

    Bob
     
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  39. brian fisher

    brian fisher Registered User

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    lol. we are expecting a concise ten page double spaced report with citations on Monday morning!;)

    I think there will be some exciting finds changing hands. after all, most of the "good stuff" is in that neck of the woods anyway. my guess is that even though the Dallas mart last year was full of treasures, this one should (in theory) knock it out of the park. my guess is that the average run of the mill items will have to be heavily discounted to sell in a place like that.

    I'm starting to see Seth Thomas #2's with hammer prices well below 400.00 at traditional auctions now days, but then they really are not a rare clock.
     
  40. ClockMogul

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    I can tell you from first hand knowledge that Seth Thomas #10, #14, #16, #19, #60, and #63 in Walnut do extremely well in this doom and gloom clock economy..! E Howard Astro's also do very well too...
     
  41. RAK

    RAK Registered User
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    Hey Brian,

    If concise is what is needed I think I can accommodate! ;)

    First thing I realized as I cruised past what seemed like several hundred tables is that I know less than nothing in regards to prices for a wide variety of clocks. So many of them looked like good deals. I was especially drawn to an OG that had a nice etched glass with a sticky on it that said nothing but "Brown $125". I'm sure $100 would have done and it looked like a great project. Then I remembered I know nothing about these clocks and let it pass.

    Using my canary in the cave, the ST #2, I saw a lot of them in a wide variety of conditions in the $400 to $700 range except for one that was marked $2600 because of some provenance. None of the $400 to $600 ones were show stoppers however. Some strong prices on a few E. Howards. One heartbreaking price on a tall clock case that looked to be a hundred years old... $25. :confused: And so it goes. I thought the place was really well attended, but the afternoon rain put a damper on the activity. I saw one fellow running to his car with a wall clock tucked under his arm. Hope he wiped it down when he got it out of the rain.

    Bob
     
  42. roughbarked

    roughbarked Registered User

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    I only care that they bring them to me to repair for as long as I casn still do it.
    I only hope they'll come and take away the ones they never came back to pick up.
     
  43. shutterbug

    shutterbug Super Moderator
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    I have three that have been waiting for their owners for over a year :(
     
  44. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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  45. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Robert Fleetwood died in 1794 so this isn't early 18th century, more mid. It is missing the alarm hammer which would be attached to the verge so that isn't a cheap repair. It is missing the side doors. It is, presumably, missing its spikes as it looks to be a hook and spike. It has a damaged case and lacquer is not easy to repair. I don't think the case is original to the clock.
     
  46. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    I know it's probably not a great example, but the US version
    of the Antiques Road Show has a feature that they show an
    older episode from 10 yrs ago(or older) and update what the values
    would be today. Most of the items(not an understatement) of all
    types have lost measurable value or have not increased in value
    over the past 10 plus years. Paintings, and anything with precious metals always
    seem to go up in value. Yes demand has decreased and there is a fair
    amount of supply(even more when large collections get liquidated quickly)
    but there was probably a Bubble in the prices.



    Rob
     
  47. The Treasured Clock

    The Treasured Clock Registered User
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    Having a computer is a a good thing. It is a tool. It helps use stay connected. Downside, we loose that face to face interpersonal and social contact. Another downside we may not be able to actually inspect a clock up close. Prices vary widely when it comes any timepiece. Like that nice young couple that, as one of posters mention, was captivated by one of the clocks being sold. Sounds like they wanted a battery operated clock instead of winding one up. Yes, it seems trends do change. Of course there are cycles in the market. Prices goes up and then cycles back down. One day people are interested in clocks, then they focus their interests on something else within a month and back again. Cycles, trends, the market is fickled. Scripting a famous clockmaker sounds likes a play write to me. Good suggestion!
    Jonathan Lee Jones
     
  48. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Its a very good point Rob. Have prices been falling or were they just over inflated 10 years ago and simply going back to the long term trend?

    Nick's example shows some clocks still sell well. Not sure why that one......
     
  49. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    I think the prices follow fashion. Brown furniture has tanked. Minimalist and white is still in. Personally I think a fine marquetry longcase still looks good in that environment, and they do still command higher prices though not what they once were.

    People have less space and less time, so 30 hour longcases needing winding each day are out, the smallest and oldest bracket clocks are still in.

    This hooded clock is tiny, a good maker though a late clock of its type I could see it selling well, just not that well.
     
  50. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    I do not think there is a "one size fits all" explanation to Rob's post.

    The shows to which Rob refers were originally filmed 20 years ago, in the late 1990's and very early 2000's. At that time, the economy was booming (dot com era, Y2K spending by corporations, pre-9/11, etc.), so it is not surprising that some of the values from 20 years ago were inflated.

    Some of the items that have decreased in value are toys, dolls, and most pottery, which makes some sense.

    Items containing precious metals have increased, as the price of gold and other precious metals and gems have increased.

    Furniture and art work, IMO, shows a definite, cyclical shift in tastes. Some have increased, some have decreased. As I have mentioned on a few occasions 18th and 19th century furniture has decreased in value and mid-century modern furniture is currently as hot as 18th and 18th century furniture was 20 or so years ago.

    Artwork also shows a cyclical nature to its desirability. Paintings from the Buck County Impressionists, scorching hot 20 years ago, has declined somewhat, and other styles and periods have risen.

    Regards
     

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