Lantern clocks

Brian Loomes Antique Clocks

Brian & Joy Loomes

Calf Haugh Farmhouse
Pateley Bridge, Harrogate
North Yorkshire HG3 5HW

Contact us or Tel: +44 (0)1423 711163 - 9.00 a.m. till 4.00 p.m. - otherwise answerphone

We have 11 pages of clocks for sale on the web site, a large archive of sold clocks, and over 118 articles by Brian Loomes on clock collecting, clockmakers and clock care and identification. For more information, please click the links on the right.

Winners of the 2001 BACA award for excellence under the category of specialist clock dealers, judged on 1. quality of service, 2. consistent quality of stock, 3. depth of knowledge.

Antique Clocks

Clock how-tos

Care, maintenance and identification of antique clocks
How to assemble and set up your pendulum clock | How to look up the maker of your clock
How to set the calendar dial of your clock | How to set the moon dial on your clock
Finding out about your antique clock | Our service for locating a clock by a specific named maker or ancestor
British clock types

Our Service for Locating a Clock by a specific named maker or ancestor

Brian and Joy Loomes

OUR SERVICE. We have for over fifty years offered a specialist service in searching for, tracing, and purchasing for a client, examples of clocks by specified makers, often ancestors of the client - or clocks by a maker of a certain surname, or made in a certain town or village. In some instances we have found several clocks by a certain clock-making ancestor, where several different members of a family wanted to own one. Some are ongoing searches. We can offer you email addresses of satisfied customers for whom we have located such a clock, and who initially had no knowledge of clocks and had to reply purely on our know-how and assessment. This service costs nothing until and unless we buy such a clock for you, or sell you such a clock from our own stock.

There are several ways we can operate this service - you can choose which. Ultimately you need to know how much such a clock will cost you. I can only tell you this when an example comes to light, usually at auction, and often I have only a day or two to view, assess and buy the clock. This means I have to act rapidly at that time, and there is then no time to get into lengthy explanations. For this reason I need to try to explain as much as possible at the outset (NOW), then we can act quickly when the time comes. I also need to give you at this stage some parameters of the sort of price to expect - of which more below.

I learn day by day about every named clock going through auction in Britain, roughly 450 auction rooms, who hold a sale every month or two, or more often. Each day I scrutinise a list of from twenty to a hundred or more clocks going through auction in the following few days. If I am looking for a clock by a certain name, I will not miss it. If you ask me to search one out and I don't contact you, it is because one has not cropped up yet, or else it was one not worth pursuing because of some serious fault. Part of the service I offer includes my vetting the clock for genuineness (or getting it vetted by someone else), and my guarantee that any clock we buy is genuine or is what you wanted - more of that later.

I have a list of maybe 100 names of makers, examples of whose work I am seeking for clients at any one time. Some names have been on my lists for over 20 years with no success - yet. Others, by more prolific makers, turn up within months. Recently I located the first example of a clock by a maker whose work I had been seeking since the 1980s. When I contacted the client, whose ancestor made the clock, he explained that he had retired and could no longer afford to buy one!

As it happened it was a good clock, so I bought it anyway, just for stock.

FIRST STEPS: So, if you are interested, how do we proceed.?

First - I need to have an instant means of contacting you. Phone numbers at home and at work, addresses, especially email addresses. The latter are especially useful as I can probably email you several images ahead of the sale. Even an email address for a friend or neighbour would do - there may not be time to send posted photographs. I also need to be advised if you change any of these.

Second - don't ask anybody else to search for a clock for you at the same time. If you do there is a danger of more than one dealer coming across the same clock, and of our bidding against one another to buy a clock to sell to you, thus forcing the price up to an unacceptable level.

A STRAIGHTFORWARD SALE. If the clock is a good, or handsome or interesting or in some way appealing example, I may well try to buy it for stock anyway. I will then give you first option to buy it from me at its recognised market price. You can decide yes or no, based on various photographs or a personal inspection if that is possible for you. It makes no difference to me. If you don't buy it, we will restore the clock and put it on sale in the normal way. You will have the option to buy it as it is, with no restoration at all; or to buy it as it is and have it restored by someone of your own choice close to your own locality; or to have me get it restored for you (in which case I will oversee the work but you will pay the restorer direct, not me. I make no profit on restoration, but will suggest restorers and oversee any work and advise you on it as part of the service). Any of these options is possible once I own the clock.

In the case of overseas clients I can obtain quotations, arrange and oversee shipping and packing, using our regular and experienced shippers. Again you pay the shippers direct, and I make no profit on the shipping. This is also part of the service you are paying for when you buy any clock from us. There is no customs duty payable on any antique clock imported into most English-speaking countries, but we will clarify that point according to the country in question. Sometimes (in the USA for instance) a customs bond of around $100 is payable. Our shippers and their agents will deal with customs clearance and all importation paperwork, onward transport, etc. All you have to do is be there to receive the clock on delivery.

COMMISSION FEES. A different system can be operated if you prefer it , if the clock is NOT of a type I would personally want to buy for stock. In this method I can buy the clock at auction for you on a commission basis. You pay the auctioneer (and the carrier if needed), and pay me a commission based on the total auction price. Usually this consists of the bid price, plus the buyer's premium, plus vat on the premium.

This buyer's premium (charged to all buyers by the auction house) can be as low as 10% or as high as 20%. Vat is added to the premium itself. This means that with a 10% premium a bid of £1,000.00 would mean a total cost at auction of £1,000 plus £100 plus 17.5% of £100 = 17.50, making a total of £1117.50. The commission fee you would owe me would be based on that total auction price.

If I find the clock, vet it, agree price levels with you, bid for it, pay for it, arrange collection and delivery, I would charge you a commission fee of 15% - based on the total cost at auction.

If I find the clock and you prefer to handle the rest yourself - i.e. vetting, bidding, payment, collection/delivery, etc., I would charge you a commission fee of 10% - based on the total cost at auction.

In the case of an unusually low value item, these figures will be subject to a minimum handling fee, which I will discuss as the case arises and agree with you beforehand.

GENUINENESS. Many clocks have been seriously altered since new, sometimes to the point where they are no longer considered genuine enough to be desirable. We can always advise on this aspect. The commonest alteration is where a genuine clock has been at some time put into a case which is not original to it. A collector would not want such a clock, which will in that event sell more cheaply than a genuine clock in its original case. But clockmakers of the past made clocks, not their cases, which came from different craftsmen. A descendant seeking to own an example of his ancestor's work, may still want to buy one even if not in its original case, depending partly on the chances of finding a totally genuine one. That is a decision I will advise on, but it is ultimately up to you to decide.

VALUE. The difficulty for you is knowing what the clock is worth on the open market. This is what I do for a living and I will advise you on that aspect. Some buyers might be keen to buy a clock by an ancestor, especially if it has taken years to locate one, even if it runs to a higher price than its regular value in the market at large. This is one possibility, but you, as the buyer, still need to know its true market value, which I will be able to assess for you before the sale. A word of caution. On one occasion a client was so keen to have a clock by his ancestor, he authorised me to bid to something like twice its true value, yet we still failed to buy it. It later emerged that another, distant relative of his family had been bidding on the clock unknown to us, and had bought it despite paying over twice its value. It is well to avoid two members of the same family unknowingly bidding against each other.

RESTORATION. A clock bought at auction is normally in a very different condition from one bought from a dealer, such as myself. It will almost certainly need careful restoration by an expert of both the clock and the case, and these restoration costs must be borne in mind as a potential part of the purchase. The restoration (principally cleaning) of a clock movement and dial, even if nothing is missing, can cost anywhere from £400 to £1,000. The same applies to the case. Restoration is something which can always be postponed till a later date, as the important thing is to buy the clock, but it will have to be considered in the overall calculation and has a bearing on what the clock is worth at auction in unrestored condition.

EXPECTED PRICE LEVELS. Once I have a description of a clock, and ideally an illustration, I know what sort of ball park we are in pricewise. Until that time I cannot anticipate. But we can assume that a clock will be one of a few basic types, and that type will determine its price range. An antique British clock made more than a hundred years back will probably be a longcase (grandfather) clock. Occasionally other types, such as a wall clock or bracket clock, may be found, but a longcase is the likeliest. If made before say 1790 it will almost certainly be a brass dial example; after 1790 a painted dial example. These two can fall into very different price levels.

Such a clock might be a thirty-hour clock (once a day winding) or an eight-day (once a week winding). Those two categories will differ greatly in price.

THIRTY-HOUR CLOCKS: An ordinary but totally original thirty-hour painted dial clock in oak, or oak and mahogany mixed, or in pine, might sell in restored condition between £2,000 and £4,500, depending on condition, size, type, etc. A similar brass dial clock might sell between £2,500 and £5,000. If there is something about it which puts it into a more desirable category for a collector, then its price will be higher. Such a clock is unlikely to be in mahogany.

EIGHT-DAY CLOCKS: A conventional eight-day painted dial clock in pine, or oak, or oak and mahogany mixed might sell in restored condition between £3,000 and £6,000 - if a moon dial, then probably considerably more. A conventional eight-day brass dial clock in pine, or oak, or oak and mahogany combined might sell restored between £3,500 and £8,000 - if of extreme age or if a moon dial, then considerably more.

A conventional eight-day painted dial in mahogany could run restored between £3,000 for a modest one to as much as £10,000 for a fine example - if a moon dial, then more. A conventional eight-day brass dial clock in mahogany could run between £3,500 for a modest example to £10,000 for a fine one - if a moon dial then more. The better brass dial rolling moon clocks of the late eighteenth century in fine Chippendale type cases can easily reach £20,000.
Such a clock in walnut would exceed a mahogany one.

Our website when used in conjunction with our price list (available on request) will give some idea of current values of restored clocks.

LESSER or SUSPECT EXAMPLES: We regularly see clocks which may appear to fit the above category types slip through auction at very low prices. These are not chance bargains, but are suspect clocks or clocks deliberately faked, or in appalling condition, which the experienced opt not to bid at, leaving such clocks to the unwary. It is a fallacy to imagine that bargains slip unnoticed through auctions. If they go cheaply, it is because nobody wants them.

The above prices are so variable that we can only begin to assess the real value when we have an actual example in front of us to consider. At that point we have only days to act, and we need to be ready in advance. At that same time it is usually possible to get a number of photographs or digital images, so that the client can see the clock for himself when discussing values.

These notes give you some idea of what is involved. If you would like to clarify any details, please ask, or give me a ring.

Copyright © 2013 Brian Loomes

Care, maintenance and identification of antique clocks
How to assemble and set up your pendulum clock | How to look up the maker of your clock
How to set the calendar dial of your clock | How to set the moon dial on your clock
Finding out about your antique clock | Our service for locating a clock by a specific named maker or ancestor
British clock types

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books || contact || clock how-tos || articles on clock collecting || Finding out about your antique clock: identification/valuation/appraisal
finding a clock by a particular maker

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Our valuation/identification/appraisal service costs £50 (currently $100 US)
Full price list of clocks sent on request