Simon Willard tall case clock chimes to the tune of $57,500 in Converse antique clock auction

YORK, Pa. – A fine and beautifully crafted tall case clock by the celebrated U.S. clockmaker Simon Willard (Mass., 1753-1848) changed hands for $57,500 at a sale of antique clocks and related horology items held June 18 by Gordon S. Converse & Co., based in Strafford, Pa. The auction was held at the Yorktowne Hotel in York, near the York Fairgrounds.

Online bidding was facilitated by Following are some additional highlights from the auction. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

A rare and fine set of twin clocks telling the world time and perpetual calendar by the Swiss firm Gubelin soared to $16,100 for the pair. The set, with its fine enameling and bold presentation, was one of only three pair produced in the 1950s. The set sold is the only one in the Western hemisphere. The clocks were in excellent shape, ready to grace a mall or hotel lobby.

A monumental clock depicting the Reims Cathedral topped out at $8,050; an assortment of English table (or bracket) clocks sold for prices ranging from $3,450 and $6,325 (all to buyers outside the U.S.); a rare 400-day clock garnered $1,092; and a small wooden wall timepiece by Vermont clockmaker Charles Alva Smith made $1,265.

An interesting picture frame clock, featuring an oil painting of a city in Austria whose town clock is set with a real chiming clock behind the picture, commanded $1,322.50; and an unusual battery-operated (and recently made) working orrery clock, with planets made from colorful minerals resembling the planets themselves, went to a determined bidder for $517.

A large Chelsea mantel clock fetched $1,610; several examples by New York City clockmaker Ferdinand Kroeber went for under $100 each; and a gold Tiffany lady’s wristwatch brought a seemingly reasonable $661. Also sold were American shelf clocks, and French clocks, to include a wall clock by the master Berthoud and a 19th century Tiffany wall clock.

Gordon S. Converse & Co.’s next big sale is tentatively scheduled for sometime in August (check the websites, at or Offered will be prints and original art, pottery, porcelains, silver, silver plate and decorative accessories – all online. It may be a “5-10-20” sale, with opening bids of just $5, $10 and $20.

Consignments are being accepted for this and all future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call Gordon S. Converse & Co. directly, at 610-722-9004; or, you can e-mail them at


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