Time for Derbyshire collectors to find if their antique clock is worth a fortune

You may have thought time was up for traditional clocks and that the digital age would eventuallymake them obsolete.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 11:03 am
Charles Hanson with the Tompion clock which earned its Belper owner £200,000 at auction.
Charles Hanson with the Tompion clock which earned its Belper owner £200,000 at auction.

Mobile phones tell us what time it is, what day it is, the weather forecast and so much time. But I’m delighted to say time has not dented the passion to source, buy and treasure antique clocks of every type imaginable. Whether you own a longcase, grandfather, wall, school or mantle clock, interest is strong. In fact, if anything, clocks are more popular than ever.

And we’re not only seeing wily collectors keen to invest scouring our auction catalogues. Interior designers on a mission to find the rare, the quirky or unique are delving into this arena too.

A Derbyshire find became one of our top-selling clock lots ever in 2018. A bracket clock from 1690 made by Thomas Tompion (1639–1713), sourced in Belper, made £200,000.

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Mike Wetton will be assessing clocks for their value at Hansons in Etwall on October 1.

This year we’ve witnessed a resurgence of interest in antique clocks. Their quality, craftsmanship and place in history has stood the test of time. And that means now, more than ever, it’s a good time to part with antique time pieces at auction.

Noting the trend, Hansons launched its first specialist curated Clock Auction in June, led by our expert in this field, Mike Wetton. He has decades of experience valuing, collecting and selling clocks, and you can draw on his knowledge. He will be offering free clock valuations by appointment at the Etwall Auction Centre on Friday, October 1, from 10am-1pm. It’s the perfect opportunity to find out if that clock just might be worth selling as we tick towards the next clock auction on October 27.

Mike was thrilled with the results following his first curated specialist clock sale at Hansons in June. His star lot, a French travelling alarm clock by renowned maker Antide Javier, made £6,200 - three times its top estimate. It sparked a battle between American and French bidders and a United States buyer won the day.

Javier worked from 1751 to 1835 and was known for his fine, astronomical and planetary clocks. Clockmaker to King Louis XVIII of France, he trained many French clockmakers.

French travelling alarm clock by Antide Janvier sold at auction for £6,200.

Other continental clocks did well, in particular an Austrian Meyer of Wien timepiece which made £3,000. Novelty clocks proved particularly popular, too. They’re sought after by those aforementioned interior designers and people with an eye for the unusual.

Clocks make bold design statements in any home. For example, a novelty clock featuring a lady holding a globe with a clock inside, made £3,600. A French novelty clock of a bronzeangel holding a globe in one hand and a flower in the other, reached £1,500 while a large French ormolu clock on onyx plinth featuring a Grecian Lady holding a swinging globe and urn, made £2,100.

Let’s not forget our British clocks. A Byson of Edinburgh wall regulator made a very promising £1,200, and a ship clock by Benson of London reached £850.

Mike Wetton will be offering free clock valuations at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall,on October 1 and November 5, 10am-1pm. Stamps and musical instrument valuations are also available at Etwall on October 1, 10am-1pm. To book an appointment, or to arrange a free home visit, email [email protected] To contact Mike directly email: [email protected]

Novelty clock sold for £3,600.