How Much is Your Antique Clock Worth?

Published: 05th November 2009
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The one thing that determines the value of an antique clock is the timber that the casing is made of. This goes for all types of antique clocks but not for bracket clocks, these have no wooden parts except the walls.

There are a number of further parameters such as shape, color, and sizes. Further elements for determining the value of the longcase clock are the state of the clock and the patina.

Let's look at one of these factors to get to know what decides the value of an antique longcase clock. We'll take the different timbers that the clock is made of. A grandfather clock can be made of oak, yew, mahogany, fruitwood, walnut, rosewood, pine or a combination of any of these. Although the clocks can be made of any of these types of timber, you mostly will find clocks made of oak, walnut, mahogany or pine.

We will only concern ourselves with the wood that is visible; you will find other types of wood hidden in the casing. For example, an oak casing will be made of all oak, but can have glue blocks made of an inferior quality timber. These pieces are often made of pine and can be leftover from other constructions. But these do not affect the value of the clock.

Next we come to the clocks backboard, these are often (even in more valuable clocks) made of pine or oak.

Oak is the better choice, simply for the reason that this is not so prone to get woodworm, as opposed to pine.

Where you almost always find oak backboards is in London clocks, as in a Lancashire clocks.

But most other clocks have pine backboards. Sometimes chestnut or elm can be found. The type of wood used in the backboard has practically no effect on the value of the clock. More important is the condition of the wood, wherever it may be in the clock.

The reason that pine was often used to build a clock was because it was easily available and it was cheap. The only exception was Norway pine as this had to be imported. You can also find clocks made of deal, this type of wood we would now call pine.

You will often find furniture in the stores made of pine. These can be called waxed pine, white pine or stripped pine; these are basically all made of pine with a visible grain shining through the hard polish, wax, or paint.

To see whether the timber is pine, find a place on the furniture that is not easily visible, the put the nail of your thumb on the wood and press. If this leaves a mark, then the wood is pine, as no other timbre is as soft as pine.

In the 17th through to the 19th century you could buy a pine clock for roughly half the price of an oak clock. But this only applied to the case. The price for the clock itself depended on whether was a 36 hour or an 8 day clock. The latter cost approximately twice as much.

Pine used to be a cheap alternative, but today old pine grandfather clocks can be quite rare, as there are not so many around anymore. Many of these pine clocks have ended up being burnt because they were ridden with woodworm holes.

This means that well kept pine longcase clocks can be quite rare and therefore not exactly cheap. A lot of course depends on the condition of these antique longacase clocks.

pendulum clocks.

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