Isaac Jackson Tall Case Clock, ca. 1760

Value (2009) | $7,500 Retail

It belonged to my grandfather originally. He bought it in 1909 for $18. And that's about all I know from, you know, the family history.

Well, it was made by Isaac Jackson in London Grove, Pennsylvania, and his name is on the dial. It's a very early American clock. Isaac Jackson was born in 1734, so he would have finished his apprenticeship and been old enough to make clocks by about 1755. So I think this clock was made within about ten years of that, so maybe 1755 to '65. In American clocks, that's very early. And one of the things that indicates how early it is is the fact that it only has a single hand here, no minute hand, so you have to guess at what the time is, which makes telling time a little difficult. And it's important to realize that when this was made, very few people had a clock of any kind. So only a fraction of the people who lived in Pennsylvania had any type of clock at all. They learned the time from the clock in the church steeple. Time was not as important a commodity in those days, so they didn't need to know to the minute what time it was like we do today. It has this wonderful composite dial with applied spandrels and chapter ring, and here we have the calendar. And it's in a very nice walnut case with an old surface. What I like about the case is the fact that it still has its sarcophagus top. Now, very often on these early clocks the top has been removed. Sometimes it was a separate piece that was lost. The case has a very Quaker style to it. Jackson was a Quaker, and his clientele; many of them would have been Quakers as well. So it has a very plain but nice case. It has this wonderful hand-wrought replacement latch, which is very early, but you can see originally it had an iron lock here. But the fact that that's missing doesn't affect the value very much. And inside we have the original weight and pendulum. This clock does not have winding holes in the dial, which indicates to us that it's a one-day clock. You don't wind it up with a crank, you wind it by pulling the chain inside, which means it only runs for one day. It certainly had glass in the door at one point, which is missing, but that doesn't really affect its value. On today's market, a retail collector would pay about $7,500 for this clock. Your grandfather made a good purchase. The market has come down a bit. Just a few years ago this would have been maybe a $10,000 or $12,000 clock.

Appraisal Details

Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc
Canton, MA
Appraised value (2009)
$7,500 Retail
Denver, CO (July 25, 2009)
18th Century

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.