Listed below are three basic methods of selling an antique clocks, each with their own range of sales techniques, options, benefits and drawbacks. The best method for you will depend on a number of factors, including how fast you want to sell, how proficiently you can use a computer, how much time, effort and expense you want to put into the sales process, whether your clock is relatively common or rare, whether you have just one or two clocks or a whole collection - even your geographic location.
Click on the individual methods to learn more.
• Print classifieds: You'll find classified ads for antiques in a wide variety of publications, from your local newspapers to national newspapers and specialist magazines. There are two main drawbacks of using classified ads: cost and security issues. It can be costly to advertise in newspapers and magazines, especially if you have to renew your ad because your clock didn't sell the first time through. There is also the issue of personal safety. You'll probably have to invite prospective buyers into your home to show them your clock. While usually not a problem, you can be vulnerable to theft or robbery. If someone calls in regard to your classified ad it's always a good idea to ask for their phone number and call them back before giving directions to your home. Of course, you should always have a companion with you when you meet prospective buyers in your home.
• Online classifieds: There are many web site where you can place classified ads. Some may charge a fee; others are free. There usually is the advantage of being able to exchange emails first before having to talk by phone, and your field of potential buyers may be much greater. You'll still have to deal with the same security issues if you are going to show the clock in your home. If the buyer lives at a distance you might avoid home security problems by transacting the sale without actually meeting them in person. You will have other issues to deal with, including sending or emailing photos of the clock, shipping and payment collection. The following web sites accept classified ads. We do not endorse any site in particular, nor do we profit from your use of any of these sites. If you think we should include any other sites for online classifieds, please let us know.
• "Brick-and-mortar" auction houses take consignments of property for sale to the public. They will offer prospective buyers a limited time to view the auction items in person, usually a few days before the sale or for a few hours on the sale date. The auction house usually publishes a list of the items to be auctioned. These lists may range from free, text-only photocopies with brief descriptions to slick catalogs with full color illustrations and detailed descriptions costing $20 or more. Most auction houses will give you a range of what they think your clock will sell for at their auction. You'll be charged a commission on the "hammer price" of the sale. The commission may range from as low as 10% of the selling price to 40% or more, depending on the individual auction house. Additional fees may be charged for insurance, photography and shipping. You may be able to place a "reserve" price on your property, meaning that you will not have to sell your clock if the bidding doesn't reach a certain minimum price. However, the auctioneer might charge you a fee for this privilege, and not all auction houses allow reserves to be placed. Be sure to check the details of each auction house's selling policies before you consign.
How to find auction houses that will accept your clock for auction:
• Check your local Yellow Pages under the "Auctioneers" category for those in your locality. You can also search the web site of YellowPages.com for auction houses outside your locality.
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! They may have to transport the clock, store it, clean it, repair it, or otherwise invest additional time and money to get it ready to sell. Paying you 50% or less of the retail price is not uncommon.
Some dealers will take your clock on a consignment basis and take a percentage of the selling price if they sell your clock. Make sure you have a clearly written agreement specifying the terms and conditions of the consignment. Consider issues of insurance while the dealer has your clock, the length of the consignment period, what happens if the clock doesn't sell during that period, how soon you'll be paid if it sells, the commission charged, and other related issues.
You might find a local dealer who will buy your clock outright or take it on consignment. Check under Clocks - Dealers in your local Yellow Page directory. There are also a large number of dealers with web sites. Visit their sites to find out if they sell your type of clock and if they'd be interested in yours.
Lists of antique clock dealers with web sites: The Antique Clocks Identification and Price Guide lists a large number of antique clock dealers with web sites. See the Resource Links section.
National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) lists hundreds of its members with web sites. Most buy and sell antique clocks and watches.
The Horological Foundation lists hundreds of antique clock dealers from throughout the world, many with web sites an/or email address. Click on the "Market" link on their site to view the list.
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. To learn more about appraisals, see this guide's section on Antique Clock Appraisals and Appraisers
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.