Vintage Mantel Clocks: A Guide to Identifying and Valuing Antique Timepieces

Mantel clocks once dominated living rooms and parlors, ticking away the hours in graceful and ornate fashion. While many have been relegated to attics and basements over the years, there’s growing appreciation for the craftsmanship and beauty of vintage mantel clocks. If you’re curious about the value of these timepieces or how to identify an antique clock, read on to learn more.

Are old mantel clocks worth anything?

The value of a vintage mantel clock depends on various factors, such as its rarity, condition, and age. Not all old mantel clocks are worth a fortune, and some may only be worth their sentimental value. However, some antique mantel clocks can fetch quite a price. For example, a rare antique Waterbury mantel clock sold at auction for over $10,000 in 2020.

How do I know if my clock is valuable?

To determine if your vintage clock is valuable, you’ll need to assess its condition, age, and maker. Here are some things to look for:

  • Condition: Does the clock keep accurate time, and is it free from damage or excessive wear and tear?
  • Age: Look for a serial number or maker’s mark on the clock to help identify its age.
  • Maker: Research the maker of the clock to determine if they were known for producing high-quality, desirable timepieces.

If you’re unsure about the value of your clock, consider consulting with an antique appraiser or doing some research to compare similar clocks that have sold at auction.

Antique Waterbury Mantel Clock

Waterbury Clock Company was founded in Connecticut in 1857, and they produced a wide range of clocks over the years, including mantel clocks. Antique Waterbury mantel clocks are sought after for their intricate designs and quality craftsmanship. Some popular Waterbury mantel clock models include the “Kronos,” “Regulator No. 60,” and “8-Day Cottage Chime.”

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Seth Thomas Mantel Clocks

Seth Thomas Clock Company was another prominent clockmaker during the 19th and 20th centuries, producing a range of mantel clocks in a variety of styles. Some of their more popular models include the “Adamantine Mantel Clock,” which features a faux marble finish and decorative columns, and the “Empire No. 48,” which boasts a rich mahogany finish and ornate carvings.

Antique Shelf Clocks

Shelf clocks were popular in the late 19th century and early 20th century and were often placed on shelves, mantels, or dressers. Antique shelf clocks often feature intricate carvings, ornate designs, and delicate movements. Some of the more popular manufacturers of antique shelf clocks include Ansonia Clock Company, New Haven Clock Company, and Gilbert Clock Company.

What are the most sought after antique clocks?

While antique mantel clocks come in a wide range of styles and prices, some of the most sought-after timepieces include:

  • Tiffany and Co. clocks
  • French Boulle clocks
  • Atmos clocks by Jaeger-LeCoultre
  • Vienna regulators
  • Grandfather clocks by makers such as Howard Miller and Herschede

Victorian Mantel Clock

During the Victorian era, mantel clocks were an important part of home decor, often featuring elaborate designs and exquisite details. Victorian mantel clocks are highly sought after for their intricate carvings and ornate decorations. Some popular styles of Victorian mantel clocks include Eastlake, Rococo Revival, and Aesthetic Movement.

Antique Black Mantel Clock

Black mantel clocks were popular during the 19th century and were often made of black slate, marble, or wood. These clocks often featured intricate carvings and ornate designs, and some models featured a pendulum visible through a glass window. Some popular antique black mantel clock makers include Sessions Clock Company and Ansonia Clock Company.

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How can I tell how old my mantel clock is?

To determine the age of your mantel clock, look for a maker’s mark or serial number on the clock. This information can be used to cross-reference with catalogs or records to help establish the date the clock was made. Additionally, you can look for visual clues such as the style of the clock or the type of hands on the clock face to help determine its age.


Vintage mantel clocks may no longer be the focal point of living rooms, but they still hold value as unique and ornate timepieces. Whether you’re a collector or looking to sell an antique mantel clock, understanding the history and value of these pieces can be a rewarding and profitable endeavor. Remember to consult with an expert when valuing your clock or making any significant modifications or repairs.