The first longcase clocks, also known as grandfather clocks thanks to the song, appeared in the mid 17th Century, commonly known as the golden age of British clockmaking. Collecting the relatively few surviving examples from this period is the preserve of the seriously wealthy.
The majority of enthusiasts enjoy acquiring the more plentiful and decorative clocks from late 17th to the early 20th Century.
Typically Eight-day clocks, run on two weights with two key holes on the dial for winding, are most popular and usually more desirable than thirty-hour examples, with a single weight, wound by pulling down on the weight cord inside the case. In rare cases, some high quality examples can run for a month or more without re-winding and are highly prized by collectors.
Case styles vary hugely from region to region and country to country and often reflect the different tastes and fashions of the time. Also, quality depended on whether a clock was made in a major city, where more exotic woods were often available, or in a more provincial location, where indigenous woods were mostly used.
17th Century makers such as Knibb, Fromanteel and Tompion regularly fetch six figure sums at auction.
Other popular names associated with precision timekeeping are Dent and Frodsham and their work commands high prices.
At the ‘furnishing’ end of the market, many decorative longcase clocks sell for between £250 and £1,000. Collectors are interested in these for a variety of reasons including: the type of dial (brass or painted); whether it was made in the area where they now live; a particular detailing on the case, to name but a few. Also condition is of paramount importance. If a clock is in totally original condition, it will fetch more than one that has excessive restoration or where the case and dial did not start life together (a marriage).
Each year at Anderson & Garland we sell hundreds of longcase clocks to collectors across the globe. Our international advertising, together with targeted mailing lists and live bidding, ensures the best possible prices are achieved.
We hold three auctions dedicated auctions per year and achieve top prices for our customers. We also regularly sell longcase clocks in our fortnightly Town & County sales.
If you have items to sell, simply fill out the online valuation form below for a free pre-sale estimate or ring 0191 430 3000 to arrange a free pre-sale valuation with one of our specialists at our Newcastle salerooms. Home visits are available.
Please remember, selling by auction in the only way to achieve the true value of your possessions. We act as your agent at all times and are here to maximize your return, for which we take a fixed percentage commission.
Some Longcase Clock Highlights
Gerrard Robinson: an impressive oak longcase clock, with ornate carving of Newcastle subjects by the famous carver
Sold for £5,000
William Dobbie, Falkirk: a Scottish mahogany longcase clock,
Sold for £1,900
Hindley, York: a walnut and floral marquetry longcase clock,
Sold for £3,800
Thomas Ogden, Halifax: a George III oak and mahogany banded longcase clock,
Sold for £3,200
Town & County Auction
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20th Century Clock Auction Highlights