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Clock Times, Issue #004--Where to buy clocks
January 23, 2008
Where to Buy ClocksWelcome back to Clock Times. In this issue weíll look at several places that you can find antique and collectible clocks.
The first place most people think of is antique stores. Although most antique stores will have a few clocks, for the most part they are not very rare, nor are they usually in the best condition. The prices you generally find in antique stores are usually on the high side. This isnít a big deal if you are lucky enough to find a clock you really want and itís in good condition though. You have to remember that good antique clocks are becoming harder to find as time passes. The most important rule to remember: do not buy a clock in poor condition unless you have the knowledge and inclination to repair and/or restore it; and then pay a much lower price for it.
There are some antique stores that sell a lot of clocks at a fair price. I am a dealer at an antique mall and have a whole room full of antique and collectible clocks and watches for sale. You might be lucky enough to know where there is someone else that does what I do near you.
Another source you can check out is auctions, or estate sales. You can find ads for these in your local newspaper and get on their mailing lists. Many auctions today also have a website that you can go to for their dates and times. Some even list what will be sold on the site. When you go to an auction or estate sale, remember that few auctioneers are clock experts. Donít trust what they may say as to the condition. Most times all they will say is something like ďI wound it the other day and itís been running fine.Ē Use your own eyes to check it out completely. The more you learn about clocks, the better you will get at appraising them quickly. If there is a clock youíre interested in, ask the auctioneer if itís ok to open the back so you can check the movement. There will be more information in future issues of this newsletter on appraising clocks.
There are also horological auctions that deal only in clocks and watches. These people will generally be much more knowledgeable about the stock they sell. Youíll also find the bidders also know what theyíre doing, so getting a bargain there will be tough. In my own personal experience, I would rather go to a general auction or home estate sale where I may be the only person there interested in buying the few clocks listed. I have won bids at really low prices at these.
I wonít say much about flee markets here because Iíve found very few good clocks at them. What clocks I did find were reproductions, or imports with a few junk clocks thrown in. Enough said.
Real good sources of antique clocks are clock shops that provide repair services and also sell clocks at a fair price. These shops are disappearing fast due to a lack of interest in quality clocks. Today, most people buy cheap quartz clocks at department stores and throw them away when they break. I was lucky enough to become good friends with the owner of one of these shops in Arizona. We still help each other out with buying, selling and repairing clocks to this day even though I am now in Florida. If you find one of these shops near you, stop in and say hi. Most of the owners of these shops love clocks and watches and can be a valuable resource for you.
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My own personal opinion for the best place to find clocks today is on eBay. It is true that you have less control over the process than you would buying live at one of the above mentioned places, but I like eBay for the reason of availability. Think of this: any person, worldwide, that has a clock to sell can sell it on eBay in less than seven days. It could take him months or more to sell any other way. As a result, a vast number of people are now buying and selling their clock collections at this internet auction.
As far as safety is concerned, the only way to keep it in check is to know as much as possible about the clocks you want to buy, and then only buy those. Donít be sidetracked by a pretty clock you know nothing about. You could end up overpaying, or be disappointed in what you end up with.
I would suggest only buying from someone in your own country at first until you are used to the process. Stick with sellers with a feedback of at least 50-100 and 98% positive. I will only use PayPal for payment because they will give you additional protection from being ďtakenĒ. Always read the descriptions carefully and look at every picture available. By following these few simple rules, I have bought and sold hundreds of clocks and watches since 2002 without a single problem except the occasional clock damaged in shipping. But only one of these was damaged bad enough to file a claim with the shipper.
If you find this of interest to you, but have no idea where to learn what you need to know before buying this way, you can start by learning about antique clocks through books or on my website, DiscoverClocks.com. Also keep reading this newsletter for more information about appraising the clocks you are interested in before you buy.
If you are new to eBay, you can register with them free in just a couple of minutes.Click here for eBay!
After you register, just follow their help menu to learn anything you want from how to bid, to signing up at PayPal for easy, safe payments. For a quick look at the large variety of antique clocks available on eBay right now by clicking here.
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