Sunday, October 4, 2009

How To Find The Selling Price Of A Grandfather Clock.

By Michael Flum

Recently I have had more and more requests on how to do a self-appraisal of a grandfather clock. To remove some of the mystique, I have included in this article some of the questions that an appraiser will cover. This will not provide you an accurate price but should help with a ball park figure.

Can you do an honest self evaluation of a grandfather clock?

First you will need to step back and take the position of a critical buyer in mind. So let?s look at the grandfather clock from the buyer?s perspective. To do this let?s work from a check list and rate each of the points we will cover. Let us start by looking at the function and then the overall look and condition.

To simplify the process I have included twenty questions that you will rate from zero to five. Zero is bad or needs repair and five is great or near factory fresh. Now be reasonable and sincere; it is important that you don?t overrate the grandfather clock evaluation but at the same time don?t underrate the value either. This is where an appraiser has an advantage: they have seen many grandfather clocks and have an internal gauge, if you will ? something to compare an evaluation against. Let?s get started. Either download the ?Eval.pdf? on my website or you can use a notepad.

Grandfather clock evaluation questions.

1. Is the grandfather clock functional (running)?

2. Does the clock keep perfect time? Give yourself a zero thru four, reserving five for absolutely perfect.

3. If the chimes (bells) work give yourself a five, otherwise a zero.

4. If the clock has a moon phase dial and it works give yourself a five, otherwise a zero.

5. Rate the look of the weights (bright and clean) from zero to five.

6. Rate the appearance of the clock face. Does it look clean and well cared for? Zero to five.

7. Rate the appearance of the pendulum, (does it look bright and clean?) from zero to five.

8. Does the pendulum swing smoothly and without bumps?

9. Rate the grandfather clock hands (original, straight and bright) from zero to five.

10. If the correct hands are installed for the second, minute and hour hand, five, else a zero.

11. If the clock movement was rebuilt in the last year give yourself a five otherwise a zero.

12. Has the clock been re-oiled every 6 months?

13. Has any cabinet glass been replaced?

14. If the glass is the correct age for the clock, give yourself a five otherwise a zero.

15. If all accessories and required parts are present, give yourself a five. Starting with a 5, subtract one for every part missing, with a lowest possible score of zero.

16. Does the cabinet look good and well maintained (light discoloration is ok)?

17. Rate the case damage (many dents=0, some bad dents=1, some dents=3, minor dings, none=5)?

18. Do all the doors close tightly (1=no to 5= like the factory)?

19. Is the cabinet finish damaged (1=major damage to 5=none)?

20. Does it have major color variations (one side exposed to the sun for years)?

The Grand Total Is?

Now added up the column and total it. Do not worry about the total it is only a gauge to help you evaluate the value of your grandfather clock.

We have now the ability to gauge the value of the clock but, not its monetary value. This is where previous selling price, the history of this clock, where it was built, how often it was repaired and most importantly any and all historical information about this clock all come into play. Where it was purchased, when it was purchased, who purchased it, how many owners and whether any owners were famous can increase the value of the grandfather clock in question. I will tell you this: the more colorful a life the grandfather clock has lived the higher the selling price if the clock is in good condition and working. But a clock that is not working because it has a bullet hole in the face from a colorful and well documented fight will also sell quite well.

What did the grandfather clock last sell for?

With all this information at hand, buy a three day subscription at Antique Clock Price Guide (dot) com where you can look up your grandfather clock. This site has a list of the selling prices of most grandfather clocks, the value (most often based on an appraiser) and the place it was last sold. Now look up your clock and find the selling price and note the condition; pristine, excellent, good, fair, etc. Now looking at your evaluation, you can increase the selling price if your clock is in better condition than the last one sold. You can also decrease the price if the one sold was of a greater value.

Given you are not a full time appraiser I would suggest you reduce the price by 10% percent unless of course the grandfather clock has a very colorful history, is perfect or rather rare and then I would increase the price by 20-30% percent over what you have seen.

Putting the price tag on.

To be fair though, one of the major areas of concern is how well the grandfather clock was maintained. Is the clock movement in a well-maintained state or is it in need of major repairs? The answer to this question and the overall look of the grandfather clock will set the value in the buyer?s mind. If they do have to do repairs this only drops the price, but not the (after-repair) value of the clock. Refinishing the cabinet, changing the clock movement for a more expensive unit, adding adornments that were not on the original clock, unnecessarily replacing clock faces or hands will all decrease the value of the clock. So only fix or repair what is needed and never try to improve the value of the clock.

Some resources to help you:

A more detailed Evaluation guide in PDF format can be found on my website called Eval.pdf.

For last sold price check out:

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