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anyone know anything about antique grandfather clocks?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by ScotO, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    A guy at work has one for sale (tall case), its been in his family for over a hundred years.......and it has an antique auction listing that's glued inside of from 1894 that said it was a hundred years old THEN!! That puts it in the 1790's range. It needs some restoration, and the clockwork needs repaired, cleaned and what-not as it hasn't been used in decades. So, any idea of what it may be worth? I want to make her a fair offer on it. I'll restore it and put it in our dining room. I've been looking for a colonial clock for YEARS.....this one has local provenance!

    IMG950374.jpg IMG950487.jpg IMG951289.jpg IMG952964.jpg
    fishingpol and Billybonfire like this.

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  2. Bocefus78

    Bocefus78 Minister of Fire

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    I know nothing other than this: I wouldn't touch that thing other than repairing the mechanicals if possible. Is the 2nd pic showing a reglued joint on the door? (difference in flash reflectivity) I may be way off, but I think a refinish job would hurt the value. Look for a manufacturer/model/etc. and go from there. Without that info, I wouldn't go over $100. Just cuz its old, doesnt mean its valuable.
  3. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Bocefus, I ain't going to refinish it. If I get it, it'll get cleaned up, maybe tighten up the loose wood, repair the crack in the back, and get it running again. I was thinking of going no higher than $400.00. I have to go and look at it in person to get an exact idea of what it is worth to me...
  4. thewoodlands

    thewoodlands Minister of Fire

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    Have fun.
    http://www.antiqueclockspriceguide.com/labelstrademarks.php?lm=Seth Thomas
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  5. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Scotty, I don't have an idea on value but $400 doesn't seem that much for such a piece of furniture and machinery. I maintain a similar clock and may have some suggestions for clockwork cleaning and operation should you end up with it.
    In general I like the looks of it. The finish looks quite old although its hard to tell from photos. You might check the top for missing finials. It looks as though there might have been one in the middle and perhaps on either side. It seems to have a nice hand painted face that looks to be in great condition, a little scratch where the hour hand rubbed but not bad at all. I'd check the pendulum and weights to see that they're original. You may also be able to open the weights to see what was used for ballast. In ours its old bullets.

    Edit: Seeing as it has winder holes it probably won't have weights. My mistake.
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  6. Billybonfire

    Billybonfire Feeling the Heat

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    No idea what it's worth in the US Scotty, but that is a beautiful clock, saw something similar in an antique shop in Harrogate Yorkshire for £1500.
    Good luck with it, sure you will make a fine job of restoring it back to its full glory.

    Billy.
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  7. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Thanks Billy. I'm not sure if I am going to get it or not. We'll have to look at it in person, and see what she's thinking in terms of price. There are some obvious repairs that I can see in the pictures, so I already have some numbers in mind. I am not getting my hopes up yet, though......
  8. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Semipro, thanks for the tips. I found some similar ones on the interweb, that look a little nicer, and they are in the 700-1000 dollar range. I don't want to cheap out on the lady that owns this, but I also don't want to over pay for it. There are some repairs. Do you think that the face is original or repainted? That's a big question I have, and I need to see it in person to answer it......

    I know for a fact it has never worked since in the current owner's hand, and I don't think it worked for the relatives that owned it before her. I'm hoping all the parts are there to get it working again.
  9. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Again, no expert here, but the patina and fading on that face make it look quite old, probably original. If that's a restoration someone did a good job. The little nicks where someone inserted the winding key are a good sign too. Is that face raised? It looks like it might be.
  10. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    I does look like a raised center area on the face. But I'm not sure. I'm going to talk to the guy tomorrow and see if I can swing out some evening later this week to look at it......before I make an offer.
  11. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    not much about clocks but usually cleaning restoring devalues things.
    I am sure you will do the right thing Scotty.
    Make her a fair offer you are comfortable with and if you find out you over paid look at it as helping out a fellow person.
  12. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    That is a nice looker with that patina. I also like that it is not perfect. See if the movement has a manufacturers name on it and it may get you closer to the date of manufacture. Make her a reasonable offer and work from there. If you really want it, let her know it will remain in your family and you are not going to sell it. Sometimes people feel better that it will always have a home and it will be easier to part with. I'd fix the cosmetic issues and have the movement repaired/cleaned/replaced if necessary. I'd love to hear it sound out. It would fit in great with the character of your home.

    As far as the case, look inside very carefully for nails, screws and other fasteners that can indicate age. I'm trying to figure the tree out. Palmetto?

    [​IMG]
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  13. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    Noticed it only has two key wind holes. Chances are it is a bim bam clock. Looks like mixed wood. Clock parts are easy to come by on the net. I have a grandfather clock that cost us a couple grand. (Howard Miller) Not an antique. New real parts will cost you about $300. Or you can put in digital ones, with authentic sounds, for a little under a hundred and not have to wind it every seven days. Otherwise you have to have a clock man come every few years to clean it and make adjustments.
    I'm about to rebuild an old mantel clock. I'll keep the removed parts just in case the next guy wants to put it back to original and mess with the cleaning etc. I have several clocks. Some old and some new. The ones I like best are the ones that are dependable and aren't a lot of maintenance. Visitors think I am nuts when they hear them play one after another.
    Make sure your ceiling is high enough. My clock is 95 in. tall.
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  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    To determine age I'd want to look at the innards of the clockworks. If it is very old there will not be a lot of screws. They used wedges to hold things tightly together before machined screws.
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  15. save$

    save$ Minister of Fire

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    You might want to ck with an antique dealer. That lock isn't working. Might need repair parts that will need to be hand made. Or have the parts changed out. That clock is old. It is real wood. The face you can bet is hand painted. The are no viewable working parts like chains and weights, moon phase etc.
  16. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Same experience with visitors here . . . the Howard Miller case clock (relatively new) chimes and the German cuckoo clock goes off on the half hour and hour . . . and after awhile you get used to it . . . it's a whole new experience for visitors though.
  17. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, we've gotten used to ours but have to disable the chimes when we have visitors.
  18. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    I don't know about clocks but my hubby collects antique pocket watches. It surprises me sometimes that some of the "workman" or railroad watches the 1870’s in full working order can be only a few hundred bucks, running and if they aren't running, can cost more than they are worth to fix. I don't know exactly were in central PA you are but just within a 20 mile drive here, there are quite a few repair shops, I'd check around you first for some guidance before buying it but if you get it, it's awesome! Good Luck!

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