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Cuckoo Clocks Are Commanding High Prices At Auction


Perhaps man in his eternal quest for immortality likes to be reminded of his continuity from the past, so he can have confidence in the future. As an indication of this, man loves mementos from the olden days, records and relics of bygone eras, antique articles of every kind. Most especially when they are works of art and done by hand. To both of which the antique cuckoo clock qualifies.

Several stories are told about how that ancient timepiece came into being, but most believe it was invented around 1730 by a Franz Anton Ketterer of the region of the Black Forest in Germany. Other stories attribute it to an unknown craftsman from farther east, Poland or the Czechoslovakian area, and that Ketterer just copied the design. Whatever is the real story the fact remains that the Black Forest region produced the most famous and most numerous cuckoo clocks in its heyday.

As a result, Black Forest and Black Forest-style cuckoo clocks command high prices in the antiques markets and auction houses, as high as several million dollars for certified items in pristine condition. They are valuable for their elaborate hand carvings and uniqueness of artistry: no two antique clocks are ever exactly identical.

For example, at the London Antique Clock Centre, a rare Black Forest shelf cuckoo clock was valued at GBP 1,200 or $2,376. Others range from $400 to $900, but these are list prices, and can go up when put on auction. The older the clock, the more elaborate the carvings, the higher is the price initially.

Meanwhile at the USA Clock Americana website, antique cuckoo clocks are listed from just under a thousand to about $4,000 for specific items.

Less expensive cuckoo clocks are also listed almost everywhere in the Web, and most of them are labeled antique. However, many of those are ’new’ antiques, that is, new manufactures made to look like old. Some are wood-stained, some are chemically aged, and some are just the styled so. Many use modern systems and methods such as quartz crystals, springs instead of weights, and metal or hard plastic parts. Authentic antique cuckoo clocks are discernible by experts and certified so.

Find out more information about buying Cuckoo clocks at


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