Selling your antique clock – some simple and effective strategies

So, how to sell your antique clock?

Unless a clock has a distinctive provenance or, is rare, it is difficult to make any sort of profit on an antique clock today. Some unique clocks, ones with a special history or, those made by famous clockmakers (those in the clock world know who they are) have retained their value and are highly desired by collectors.

Just because something is old does not necessarily mean it has value. A 100-plus-year-old common antique clock is worth very little today because thousands were made by many manufacturers over the years and quite a few have survived to this day. For example, there was a time before the internet came along that ogee clocks sold for $300 or more but are much cheaper now thanks to online for-sale sites that have depressed their value. It’s all about supply and demand.

Selling an antique clock can be a challenge but a few simple rules to follow will make it easier to part with your clock.

Does it run?

If the clock is running and was recently serviced by a competent repair person, state it as such. If the clock is running but the movement needs to be cleaned, state that it requires cleaning and possible issues that might need to be addressed such as running too slow or too fast or stops after a while. If the clock is not running say why or simply state you do not know the reason.

Describe excessive wear, damage, or missing pieces such as crowns, finials, keys, glass, and trim pieces.

Ogee style clock

Preparing the clock for sale

A clock in running condition will be worth more than one that is not running. If you are handy and know your way around clock movements, and can service a clock yourself, a serviced clock will command a higher price. A clock case cleaned of grime will present better than a dirty one unless you are a stickler for “patina”.

Missing hands or dial glass will adversely affect the price. Items such as these are not costly to replace and parts are typically available from clock suppliers but it means the buyer assumes that expense.

Mantel clock


Honesty is the best policy when selling your clock and if it has issues it is better to let the buyer know beforehand. It is therefore important to let the prospective buyer know as much as possible about the clock so that surprises can be avoided. A clock that is a marriage, a case with a similar but with a replacement movement, should be stated as such. Disclose issues such as replaced glass, newer dial, replacement crowns and finials, case repairs, or full case restoration.

Wall clock, known as a schoolhouse clock

Determining a price

Setting a price requires a little research on your part. What you paid for it originally may not be the best indicator of its value. What you think it might be worth may be far removed from the price you will finally realize.

Check eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and other for-sale sites for clocks that are similar and price yours within that range. Pricing too high will discourage inquiries but price the clock lower if you are eager to get rid of it.

Woodworks clock with a missing crown or topper

Where to advertise

There are various methods of selling a clock. Word of mouth is certainly the most rudimentary while the internet provides many more selling advantages. Facebook for-sale sites, local online for-sale sites like Kijiji, eBay, flea markets, consignment shops, and auction houses are popular places to sell a clock. Setting up an account for most online sites is a prerequisite.

For national or international sales, factor shipping into the price. Advertising locally and delivering the clock to the new owner avoids the hassle of shipping and the potential for breakage and of course other headaches.

Grandfather clock

Photographing your clock

Few cell phones are capable of capturing a detailed image but for most purposes, it is enough. Out-of-focus images are a no-no and will put off prospective buyers.

Several images from different angles as well as a photo of the inside of the clock case are much more helpful than simply one photo. During daylight, place the clock near a window and position yourself between the window and the clock to take a series of photos in natural light. If there is damage or wear take closeup photos of those areas.

If you have a dedicated camera experiment with artificial light take the best angles to get optimum results.

Description of your clock

Crafting an ad is an art in itself. You must be concise and accurate and not too wordy. There is a delicate balance between too little and too much information. Too much information or very little information means fewer inquiries from prospective buyers.

State the clock’s maker if possible, the model if possible, the year it was made or a reasonable estimate, the type, (time-only, striking clock, chiming clock), and the style of clock, whether it be a mantel, wall, shelf, parlor, Ogee, tall-case, and so on as well as any distinctive features.

A steeple clock with an alarm function or a clock with a second hand or calendar are examples of features that might attract specific buyers.

Well, there you have it. I think I have covered the most important points and if I have missed any, let me know. Good luck with your sale!

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