What is the value of my grandfather clock? This is one of the most frequently asked questions, or FAQs, we receive, particularly by telephone. More often than not, the caller will have little or no available information about the grandfather clock, or even the markings that may appear of the grandfather clocks dial or face or on the back of the clock movement.
Our general advice in valuing the replacement cost of a grandfather clock is to find the most comparable grandfather clock we currently have for sale. Sounds easier than it is for many people. Aside from the grandfather clock brand or maker, most people do not know the difference between a chain-driven grandfather clock (which is wound by pulling down on the usually 3 chains in the waist of the grandfather clock to bring up or effectively therefore wind the weights) and a cable driven grandfather clock (which is wound in the dial or face). Then there is the question of whether the clock is a single chime grandfather clock, generally with the Westminster Chime (like the one in the Big Ben Tower Clock in London’s Parliament building), or a triple chime which generally includes the Whittington and St Michaels chimes, or very occasionally, the Schubert Ave Maria and Beethoven Ode to Joy clocks chimes.
Then there is the condition of the grandfather clocks both inside and out. Most people who want a grandfather clock value don’t even know if their clock is in good working condition, or whether it has all of its grandfather clock parts. Can you imagine trying to attain the value of a car without even knowing if it is in working condition!
The age of the grandfather clock is also critical. A true antique grandfather clock, one that is over 100 years old, will have varying degrees of additional intrinsic value based on its maker, what we will call its inner substance, including the quality of the grandfather clock movement, and what special grandfather clock features it may have, such as nested bells, spiral gongs, tubular chimes, mercury pendulums, rocking ships or other grandfather clock automata or unusual features. Some antique grandfather clocks or grandmother clocks have 30 hour movements vs an 8 day movement, which generally makes them less valuable. Occasionally one may come across a grandfather clock regulator that may have a 30 day movement. Who made the clock, whether it is all original, and whether and where it was signed by the maker also can make a huge difference.
There are many inquiries where people somehow expect us to telepathically tell them the worth of their grandfather clock. It is not possible.
An inherent conflict of interest can also be present when individuals ask us to do grandfather clock appraisals. How can we appraise a grandfather clock when we might also be making an offer to purchase the clock. This is stark conflict of interest to which we or any reputable arts or antiques dealer needs to draw clear boundaries.
But thanks for asking us about the value of your grandfather clock.