J.C. Brown Acorn Wall Clock
I've sort of inherited it from my grandfather, who was a collector for 35 years. He probably acquired this clock sometime in the early '60s.
This is called the wall model acorn clock. And there were several models that the J.C. Brown Company made of this acorn clock. They were all made, I think, in the 1840s and '50s. And this one I have always felt was the rarest one. Also, it was probably the one that was made the latest. The mantel acorn clocks were the earlier ones, and they looked quite different. When I first saw one of these acorn clocks as a young collector, I said, "That is the ugliest thing I've ever seen in my life." But since then, I think there's a haunting beauty about these things. When these clocks were made in the 1830s, '40s, and '50s, they were a very bold design for someone who was going to manufacture these clocks and try to sell them to an American audience. What an unusual design. Peter, when I first saw this clock, I thought that the veneer on this door had been removed and replaced. But looking at it further, I don't think so. It has a laminate on it of some sort, which is ebonized, and I believe that's original. One of the most interesting features of this clock is the label. It's got the original J.C. Brown label, who worked in Bristol, Connecticut, only about a half an hour's drive from where we are now, and the reverse painting does show some restorations here on the back, where it's been in-painted. The surfaces on the side have been varnished in an unattractive way, but that's the only real restoration I see to this clock. When we open the door to this, this is what I found inside: a note that says "rare, $2,500". I said, "Well, where did this come from?" and you told me...
That was my grandfather's estimate of its value several years ago.
Well, it's very rare, its condition is good, it's about $12,000 or $13,000 when you consider it's a greatly unrealized and undiscovered American antique.
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.