Why Age Alone Does Not Determine the Value of an Antique Clock

I receive mail from folks who are often surprised the antique clock they just purchased has less value than they think when provided with an explanation.

Throughout history, people have often equated age with value. It is a common assumption that an object or idea that has been around for a long time must be worth preserving and treasuring. However, just because something is old, it does not necessarily mean that it is valuable. In fact, there are many instances where age can actually detract from the value of an item.

A $2 thrift store find

One example of this is technology. As technology advances at an exponential rate, older devices become outdated quickly. A computer that was top of the line ten years ago is now essentially useless in today’s world. Even if it still functions, it would be extremely slow and unable to run current software. Therefore, just because an object is old does not mean it is valuable in terms of technology.

A $10 find – Mission-style wall clock by Sessions

Similarly, some antique clocks may not be worth much at all. While it may be beautifully crafted and well-preserved, and represent thousands that were made it may not be in demand or fit with modern design styles. In some cases, the age of an object can actually detract from its value, as it may have damage, wear, or alterations that cannot be repaired without diminishing its historical significance.

A $60 auction win – 1-day ogee clock by the Hamilton Clock Co. (Canada)

Age alone does not determine the value of an object. While it is important to preserve history and cultural heritage, it is also important to recognize when something is outdated or no longer relevant. When assessing the value of something like a clock, it is important to consider its historical significance, reputed make, provenance, current demand, and whether it is still relevant or useful in today’s world.

What makes an antique clock valuable?

Antique clocks can be valuable for several reasons, including rarity, historical significance, or provenance when associated with a famous person, clocks that represent an important step in the development of timekeeping technology or the history of clockmaking, quality of craftsmanship as in the work of a noted clockmaker as well as clocks in excellent condition that contain their original parts.

The value of an antique clock depends on a combination of these factors, as well as the current market demand for such clocks.

However, just because something is old does not mean it is valuable.


One thought on “Why Age Alone Does Not Determine the Value of an Antique Clock

  1. Thanks Ron,
    Words of wisdom. In my early days of collecting had a incoherent and scattershot approach to buying. If it was old it was sold. Essentially, ended up with “SEJ” (Someone else’s junk). Still here in never visited boxes taking up valuable space.


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