Is it still possible to get a quality antique clock? Increasing numbers of people are witnessing their accumulated wealth erode in front of their very eyes as a result of the worldwide decline in stock markets and home values. Smart investors are selling their stocks and bonds and investing the proceeds in real estate.
They should invest in tangible assets that they can touch and see that will acquire value and outperform inflation. Antique clocks are one of these sought-after items, and there are many and different venues to acquire them, including general antique shops, auctions, and classified advertisements, to mention a few. This article aims to assist you in selecting a clock retailer.
Advertisements that are classified. When reading through the local or national classified advertising, keep in mind two key aspects.
- There are dishonest people who post small ads without disclosing that they are in the “trade”; unlike legitimate clock dealers, they are not knowledgeable horologists and sell through the classified section with the hope that there will be no recourse when you later find out, upon closer inspection, that your clock is not what it was represented to be. A clock that has been in the family since Noah built the ark and was just about to cease working as you stepped through the front door is being sold by a charming elderly couple.
- Note the distance to be travelled. I’ve wasted a lot of time and gas looking at clocks that had overblown descriptions during first phone calls with dealers. Despite these limitations, there are discounts available now as the credit crisis sets in and people are in need of money. Never forget the golden rule. Before you give the vendor any money, be sure the clock is indeed theirs to sell. Always ask for a signed receipt, which ideally will contain a thorough description of the clock and a list of any distinguishing features, such as the maker’s name on the dial or identifying markings on the movement.
Antique stores in general. Every town you visit appears to have at least one antique store. These range from classy upmarket antique stores, which are well-respected businesses that often sell high-quality repaired clocks for premium dollar. The downmarket back street bric-a-brac shop is at the opposite end of the spectrum; although they may sell clocks, you can be sure that they are of low quality and that they are not guaranteed to operate. This can only be seen as a lack of confidence in the accuracy of the clocks they are able to provide.
Auctions. You may discover any number of Watch auctions, auctioneers, and valuers listed in your local phone book. Some of the larger companies may hold specialised clock sales twice or three times a year. All will hold an antique auction at least once a month, as well as weekly general sales and home clearances.
All auctions will have one or two viewing days prior to the start of the sale, and the majority will publish some type of catalogue, allowing you some opportunity to look over the items. Each property is offered for sale “as is,” with all information provided in good faith. You, the bidder, are solely responsible for ensuring that everything is in order before placing a bid. To place a bid on any lot, you must first register. You will then be given a numbered card or paddle to use to communicate your intention to the auctioneer to place a bid on the property you have selected. The auctioneers will insist on clearing your check before letting you take the clock you successfully bid for if you are unknown to them. Take cash with you up to the maximum price you are willing to spend for the clock if you are unfamiliar with the auction setting.
When bidding at any auction, the golden rule is to record the highest sum you are willing to spend for each item on your catalogue the day before the sale. To avoid getting caught up in a bidding frenzy and being enticed to spend more than you had meant, turn away from any lot if the price is even one penny over the maximum amount noted. Recognize that you weren’t intended to use the clock.
There are more locations that give opportunity to purchase high-quality clocks, such as antique and clock festivals. Always be thorough and ask questions regarding any repair or restoration work, regardless of where you purchase. Don’t forget about transportation; not everyone has a car that can handle a longcase. You should only get a clock if you can live with it and truly enjoy it.