English Grandmother Clock, c. 1900

Value (2012) | $2,000 Retail

I was living in England, near Cambridge, in the mid-1960s. And I was living in a thatched cottage, which has a rather...

Rather low ceiling.

Low ceiling. And so people that I knew were buying long case clocks, and that wouldn't work for me, so I went to a farm that was being sold off to look at their furniture, hoping to find a clock. So we went to the barn, and it was very dark and dusty and dirty. And there were some mattresses piled up against the wall, and this clock was behind those mattresses.

And what did you end up paying for this in the end?

I paid about $15 American.

About $15 American for this. Well, what you got was a wonderful example of what we would call a grandmother clock. Now, grandmother clocks are what people thought in the end of the 19th century that what 17th century clocks really looked like. And they don't at all. And what they have done is taken something that never really existed in the 17th century and recreated it for the benefit of collectors. And what they've done is taken a case, and then carved it with decoration that perhaps could have been 17th century, but really is a pastiche of all sorts of styles. But it's a wonderfully proportioned clock. It wasn't quite the right size on the bottom, so they added a tier here and another tier there. But what really gives this away is that if you take off the hood... and look inside... for as old as the wood looks to be on the outside, it has a movement in it that's probably not much older than the turn of the century.


And you can see on here the word "Clarkenwell," which is a district in London where clocks were made. And this is a movement of perhaps Continental origin that has been put into this case to recreate the idea of a 17th-century clock. Even so, it's a very pretty clock, and instead of $15, I'd say this might be worth as much as $1,500 in a shop.


Thank you very, very much.

Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Bonhams, NY
New York, NY
Update (2012)
$2,000 Retail
Appraised value (1997)
$1,500 Retail
San Francisco, CA (August 09, 1997)

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