Gilbert Co. Optic Eye Clock, ca. 1910

Value (2008) | $4,500 Retail$5,000 Retail

GUEST:
My father found it in a dump in Cincinnati, Ohio, when I was a year and a half old.

APPRAISER:
How did it come to you through the family?

GUEST:
Well, when my sister and I was ready to leave home, well, Daddy told us he wanted the oldest one to take it, and my sister was a year and a half older than I am, and she said, "I don't want that ugly thing." (laughs) I said, "I'll take it any day."

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
So he told me to take it that day.

APPRAISER:
Well, it's a very interesting and unusual clock. It's called an optic clock, or an optic eye clock. It was made by the... William L. Gilbert Clock Company about 1910. These clocks were actually made for opticians' shops,

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
where they would use it for advertising. And it's one of those interesting, what we call crossover pieces that appeals to different segments of the antique and collecting market. This type of clock would appeal to clock collectors, as well as people that collect advertising pieces and folk art. What's nice about this one is that it has its original paint on it. They've made reproductions of this form, and, in fact, I've never seen an original one in person, I've only seen the reproductions.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
So, this is the original, and it has the paper label on the back from the Gilbert Clock Company that helps to identify it as an original. Now, it's not perfect, it does have some condition issues. The paint is, uh, is flaking on the... on the top here,

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
and the pendulum rod has been repainted, and also, the pendulum bob here, someone has put their monogram on it, where originally, this had another... eye similar to that one,

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
and it's very faint, but you can actually see the paint sort of peeking through the paint that was put over it. The condition does keep the price down a little bit, but it's so rare to see an original version of one of these that it's still an interesting and valuable clock. In today's market, in a retail store, you would expect to pay about $4,500 to $5,000 for this clock.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Now, I'm aware of an original one in perfect condition that sold a few years ago for $15,000. So condition is very important.

GUEST:
Oh, yeah.

APPRAISER:
Well, thank you for bringing it in. It's a wonderful piece.

GUEST:
You're entirely welcome. I said, "It'll stay in my house as long as I'm living."

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc
Canton, MA
Appraised value (2008)
$4,500 Retail$5,000 Retail
Event
Wichita, KS (July 12, 2008)
Period
20th Century
Form
Wall Clock
Material
Paint

Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.

Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."

Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.

Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.

Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.

Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.

Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.