Antique Longcase clocks like antique artwork or other collectable items are so individual in nature that it is almost impossible to make a fixed valuation on them. Unlike motor vehicles there is no standard value list guide, antique clocks hopefully go up in value, whereas motorcars depreciate the moment you drive them off the sales room forecourt
A price asked for and offered is determined by the personal interest of the seller and the buyer, and also on the market trend, but it is interesting to note that the antique markets, like all other markets are cyclical and are in and out of vogue.
The antique market seems to be correlated to the housing market. When the housing market is in a boom period the antique market is in a slump, which has been the case in the UK for the last twelve years. People have been investing their money into bricks and mortar and not putting their money inside their homes.
It is inevitable that at some time the housing market will reach a bubble, and house prices will stabilise or fall and people will once again put their money where it will make the most gain, into a rising market, antiques. This housing cycle is about fifteen years in the UK so by the end of this year 2007 or into early next year we should see interest in the antique market increase and the value of works of art and collectables go up.
It is interesting to note that although the antique market has been in decline for a number of years, in the antique furniture industry, clocks have held there own with a small increase in value and sales are still strong. This I believe is because we look upon a clock especially a grandfather clock, as a working living piece, to which we form a bond and get attached to it as it seems to have a heart, but not so the chest of draws or tallboy.
There is also the fact that there is no capital gains tax on clocks which makes it a great investment as clock prices have been rising at about 10% a year which is better than some pension plans and stocks.
You can find many publications on the value of antique clocks but these never seem to be current and never take into consideration regional variations, they mostly only cover the top end of the market which are high value pieces. One of the best places to find the current range of prices for clocks is at your local sales and auctions, you can go there and compare your clock like for like to the ones being sold, remembering that variations on movement and dials, also type and quality of case can make a great difference in valuation.
If you don’t have the time to spend at the auction most auction houses publish a catalogue which they will mail to you, and by consulting this you will get a guide for the reserved price which as been placed by the seller. Many reputable auction houses do have professional appraisers and valuing service but this is not always free. You can find a full list of UK and global antique and auction sales from antiquestradegazette.com where you can get live auction prices and view the many current catalogues online. Also take a look at antiqueclockspriceguide.com for comparisons.
It goes without saying stay clear of dealers actively engaged in buying and selling antiques as I’m sure you can understand they have only there own interests at heart.
Always use professional appraisers attached to sales rooms, and official appraisers of local probate courts usually can give prevailing price values.