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Antique and Vintage Clock Collecting: A Quick Guide For Beginners


Antique alarm clock

If you’re a collector of anything – whether it’s sports memorabilia or vintage glass – you understand that it can be easy to get carried away with your obsession. Clock collecting is one of those obsessions, and as our society becomes more enamored with technology and everything digital, antique or vintage clocks will become rarer. This, of course, adds more to their allure.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what makes a clock valuable and provide a couple of tips if you want to start your own vintage or antique clock collection.

What Makes a Clock Valuable?

As with anything that people collect, rarity is a quality that people are looking for in clocks. Very few people get the opportunity to own a rare beauty or add an antique clock to their collections. Many of the clocks from hundreds of years ago are now in museums or very private collections.

There are a few things to look for when collecting clocks:

* Manufacturer – Here’s a list of 10 popular antique clockmakers.

* How old it is

* Condition

* Design and embellishments – The more unusual, the better.

* Type of wood or materials

* Provenance (history and ownership of the clock)

Some of the more valuable clocks are handmade and decorated with unique details and/or precious metals such as gold and diamonds. American clocks are considered more valuable if they have the original features. European clocks can still retain their value even if some of the cosmetic features are replaced because the mechanical parts are considered more important.

Vintage mantel clocks are highly desirable. These types of clocks first came out of France and had handles so that they could easily be picked up and moved to another surface or room.

Tips For Beginning Clock Collectors

When starting out on your clock collecting journey, make sure to do your research and find someone who is highly knowledgeable about vintage or antique clocks. There are plenty of resources and articles online. You could also join the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors. There is a message board full of different discussions and How-To articles.

There are many places where you can find clocks including your local antique stores, online auctions (make sure to check out or monthly estate online auctions!), estate sales, or online marketplaces such as Etsy. If there’s a particular type of clock that you like to collect, enlist the help of an antique dealer who specializes in clocks.

For more clock collecting tips, we highly recommend reading this article over at Antique Collecting.

Do you have any tips to add for beginning collectors? Share your experience with collecting clocks on our Facebook page.