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How much should you ask for a clock that you want to sell? There is no easy answer. What you can actually sell it for will vary depending upon individual circumstances. Your answers to these questions will influence how much you can get for a clock:
These factors can affect the selling price you'll be able to get for your clock.
• how you intend to advertise it: will it be through the local paper, internet classified, online auction, contacting local, national or international dealers, friends or family, etc.
• the size of the clock: smaller clocks are generally easier to sell. Shipping and transportation costs are less, and most people have more space available for a small clock than a big piece of furniture.
• the amount of time you have to sell a clock: a forced sale or short selling time may require you to settle for a lower price than what you can get if you can wait for the right buyer.
• a clock’s condition: a clock in excellent condition will sell for much more than the same clock in average or poor condition. An unrestored or unaltered, all-original, clock with its original case finish; a clock which has its maker’s label or signature intact; a clock with its original glass and decorative elements; a well-preserved, clean, working movement – all can increase the value of a clock considerably.
• a clock’s provenance (documented history): if you can prove that the clock belonged to a celebrity or someone of historical importance, you will usually be able to get more for your clock.
• identifying marks: a label, signature, or other marking that can tie the clock to a well known clockmaker or highly regarded manufacturer can add value to a clock.
• the clock’s overall desirability, style and/or rarity: fashions change; what is "in" one year may be "out" the next, although what is considered desirable in clock collecting changes much more slowly that fad collectibles such as Cabbage Patch Kids or Beanie Babies. Even so, Art Deco clocks may be avidly sought-after for a period of a few years and then fall out of favor as the desire for a different style comes into fashion. Many clocks that were almost unsaleable 10 or 20 years ago because of their style are quite popular in today’s market.
• guarantees: are you willing to guarantee a clock’s authenticity or condition (if selling online) or offer any sort of a "money-back-guarantee-if-not-satisfied"? If so you may be able to command and more buyer interest a price for your clock.
• geographical considerations: different regions and countries may value clocks differently as well. For instance, early American clocks may sell for more in the eastern United States than in the western states or in a different country. English clocks may sell for more in their country of origin than in other countries.
• Auction Prices in this guide can help you find what similar clocks have sold for at different types of auctions. They provide a guideline as to what you might be able to get for your clock at a similar type of auction.
Don’t forget that you will pay a commission to the auction house - usually 10-25% of the selling prices. However, an auction that specializes in selling clocks usually has a mailing list of past or potential buyers, and can often obtain higher prices for your clock because of their marketing expertise.
If you decide to auction it yourself using an online auction such as eBay or Amazon, the commission you pay will be much less, but it requires more time and effort on your part. If you are not a dealer, and cannot offer any guarantees, return privileges, or other buying incentives, you may also have to settle for a lower price.
Remember that if you sell your clock to a dealer, they must buy it below the retail price in order for them to resell it at a profit and stay in business!
Comparing your clock to a dealer’s retail asking price may give you misleading information. His asking price be unrealistically high, or may be a bargain. Unlike auction prices - actual sales, which are a matter of public record - you may never find out the final price the dealer actually got for the clock, or how long it took to sell.
Important Tip: If in doubt about the identity or value of your clocks it may be wise to consult a professional appraiser who can give you an expert, unbiased opinion. You can search the online directory of the International Society of Appraisers to find a qualified appraiser in your area, or call toll-free 1-888-472-5587.
To learn more about different types of clock values, you can return to the first page of this chapter.
Part 2: Where to Sell Antique Clocks
Find out what dealers and collectors have actually paid for antique grandfather, mantel or wall clocks like yours. Covers American, European and Continental clocks of all types.