Southern Calendar Clock, ca. 1870
This is my mother's clock. It's been in her family I guess since it was new. And the story always was that there was a family fire, their house burned, and that this was one of the few things that was rescued. I guess they grabbed the clock when they ran.
These clocks were not made by the Southern Calendar Clock Company, but rather they marketed them. The movements in most instances were made by Seth Thomas Clock Company in Connecticut. At one point, this company had a sales force of 100 people, and they basically sold these clocks directly to clients. There were different models made. This is a fairly plain model-- some of them are larger and fancier-- but they cost originally between $11 and $85, and if you didn't have the cash, they'd give you six months to pay for it, 10% interest, so these were very determined sales people. A lot of these Seth Thomas clocks, the dials were painted zinc, and the paint has chipped off. Most of them are in really tough condition. You can see there's some paint loss up here, but wisely, over the years, nobody has repainted the dials. So this clock, except for the little paint loss on the dial, has survived in original condition. The only thing missing is this finial. I can see vestiges of glue there, so maybe it's hanging around the house somewhere,
I don't know. I'll start looking now.
At auction, this clock would be estimated in the $600 to $800 range. Maybe a decade ago, this would have been worth several hundred dollars more. That's the antique business, it never stops changing.
I think I didn't value it enough.
Well, now you will.
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.