Now that the Super Bowl is over, and many households may be heading back to some semblance of normalcy, it may be the time of the year for the hot dog and peanut and beer salespeople to start peddling grandfather clocks. Can you hear it resonating throughout the football stadium; “Get your grandfather clocks here”, “Grandfather Clock Sale here”, “Grandfather Clock Discounts and Sales … gert them now while they last”.
Interestingly, a segue that had not occurred to this author as the post was first being written. We are asked an average of at least once a day if we would appraise a grandfather clock, wall clock, mantle clock, pocket watch collection, or entire clock and watch collection. We say no almost all of the time, with some notable exceptions. We will also need to explain why we generally say no to clock and watch appraisals. But back to the segue – one group for whom we did literally hundreds of appraisals for was individuals who lost their clocks, especially grandfather clocks, to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Home of the newest Super Bowl Champions! (whomever one was rooting for, I would like to think every American took some pride in this Super Bowl Win as Katrina is still a Phoenix rising from the ashes, but with even more pride, and still some way to go. Especially Ward 9, which can and never should be forgotten or given short shrift!!!
So when Hurricane Katrina victims called us “needing” appraisals for their ruined antique and new grandfather clocks, and special wall and mantle clocks, we felt a duty to respond. We did many many appraisals, and never charged a penny for any of them!
We also make exception for fire, hurricane, and smaller flood situations where the owners are sometimes literally grasping for straws by the time they get to us with their clocks or watches collection.
Here is why we are so wary of timepiece appraisers and doing clock and watch and pocket watch appraisals. In our experience, we encounter appraisals most often when an individual is looking to sell a timepiece, and they bring along the associated Appraisal. In our experience and opinion, and even setting aside current market realities, the sour economy, and many luxury items being seen as ever more discretionary, we find Appraisals, in our opinion, to be GROSSLY OVERSTATING the value of the item which is being appraised. Now why might this be? Adjusting for changing markets, and general market swings from time-to-time in Antique timepieces, which are very real, we still see a wide gap in our view of value and the Appraisers view of value.
Simply put, our experience and resulting opinion is that because Appraisers generally charge hefty fees (which is of course subjective), they want their “clients” to feel good about having paid a large amount for an Appraisal. Therefore, there is an inherent bias in making the Appraisal number so large that the customer will be thrilled both with the Appraisal and the Appraiser. In fairness, it should also be noted that many Appraisers employ many methodologies in establishing a value for a new or antique grandmother clock or grandfather clocks, and there are many legitimate “market value prices” for, say, a particularly special antique grandfather clock where it to sell at Sotheby’s, vs. sitting in a high-end antique store for a year, vs. sitting for a year in a decent general antique store, vs. a quick sale approach, vs. a well-placed eBay auction, vs. a non-trusted or not well listed eBay auction (again, the timing length can be critical), vs. word-of-mouth, vs. Dealer consignment, vs. Craigslist, and on and on. Not to mention that the same identical item could reasonably sell for widely divergent prices depending upon the dynamics and participants in an auction on any given day.
One point not to forget – any Dealer who gives an Appraisal has an inherent conflict of interest in that the Dealer may well be either interested in purchasing parts or all of a collection, and/or may be offered that very opportunity.
Now this post started about grandfather clocks discounts, and has moved on to grandfather clocks appraisals and some of the limitations that may well be inherent.
Grandfather Clocks discounts rule. In the midst (hopefully rapidly fading, especially in the dark employment picture) of the Great Recession, grandfather clock shoppers are more proactive than ever in seeking out discounts. We welcome that and are pleased when people call us to see what the best deals are that we may offer on a particular clock.
So go for the discount! Just don’t ask anyone for an Clocks Appraisal until after your new or antique grandfather clock has been in your home for some time.