Selling Antique Clocks - Factors to Consider
How do you intend to advertise it? Will it be through the local paper, internet classified, online auction, contacting local, national or international dealers, friends or family, etc.
What is the size of the clock? Smaller clocks are generally easier to sell. Shipping and transportation costs are less, and most people have more space available for a small clock than a big piece of furniture.
How much time do you have to sell the clock? A forced sale or short selling period may require you to settle for a lower price than what you can get if you can wait for the right buyer.
What is the clocks condition? A clock in excellent condition will sell for much more than the same clock in average or poor condition. An unrestored or unaltered, all-original, clock with its original case finish; a clock which has its makers label or signature intact; a clock with its original glass and decorative elements; a well-preserved, clean, working movement all can increase the value of a clock considerably.
What is the clocks provenance (documented history)? If you can prove that the clock belonged to a celebrity or someone of historical importance, you will usually be able to get more for your clock.
Are there any identifying marks? A label, signature, or other marking that can tie the clock to a well known clockmaker or highly regarded manufacturer can add to a clock's desirability and value.
What is the clocks general desirability as regards style and/or rarity? Fashions change; what is "in" one year may be "out" the next, although what is considered desirable in clock collecting changes much more slowly that fad collectibles such as Cabbage Patch Kids or Beanie Babies. Even so, Art Deco clocks may be avidly sought-after for a period of a few years and then fall out of favor as the desire for a different style comes into fashion. Many clocks that were almost unsaleable 10 or 20 years ago because of their style are quite popular in todays market.
What are the geographical and/or cultural considerations, if any? Different regions and countries may value clocks differently as well. For instance, early American clocks may sell for more in the eastern United States than in the western states or in a different country. English clocks may sell for more in their country of origin than in other countries.
Are you offering any guarantees? You may be able to command a higher price for your clock if you can make the customer feel their purchase is risk-free. Are you willing to guarantee a clocks authenticity or condition (if selling online) or offer any sort of a "money-back-guarantee-if-not-satisfied"?
What have similar clocks sold for at auction? Auction records can help you determine home much you might be able to get for your clock, or guide you when setting an asking price.
Dont forget that an auction venue that specializes in selling clocks usually has a mailing list of past or potential buyers, and can often obtain higher prices for your clock because of their marketing expertise.
If you decide to auction it yourself using an online auction such as eBay or Amazon, the sales commission you pay will be much less than what you would pay to a "brick and mortar" auction house, but it requires more time and effort on your part. If you are not a dealer, and cannot offer any guarantees, return privileges, or other buying incentives, you may also have to settle for a lower price.
What prices are retail dealers asking for similar clocks? Comparing your clock to a dealers retail asking price may give you misleading information. His asking price be unrealistically high, or may be a bargain. Unlike auction prices - actual sales, which are a matter of public record - you may never find out the final price the dealer actually got for the clock, or how long it took to sell. However, in the absence of auction sales data, retail asking prices will at least provide you with a price range.
Remember that if you sell your clock to a dealer, they must buy it below the retail price in order for them to resell it at a profit and stay in business! They may have to transport the clock, store it, clean it, repair it, or otherwise invest additional time and money to get it ready to sell. Paying you 50% or less of the retail price is not uncommon.
Important Tip: If in doubt about the identity or value of your clocks it may be wise to consult a professional appraiser who can give you an expert, unbiased opinion. To learn more about appraisals, see AntiqueClocksPriceGuide.com section on Antique Clock Appraisals and Appraisers
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