The fine antique clock collection of Willis R. Michael (1894-1969), one of the founders of the NAWCC (National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, Inc.), who also served as the group’s second president from 1949-1951, will headline Converse Auctions’ online-only May Antique Auction on Friday, May 19th, beginning at 12 noon Eastern time.

Mr. Michael’s interest in clocks began in 1937, when he purchased his first grandfather clock in Lancaster, Pa. His collection grew to over 400 clocks and 225 watches. Trained as a tool-and-die maker, he owned a successful specialized tool-and-die company. He was also a Freemason and held leadership positions within the Masons, helping develop the Dudley Masonic pocket watch.

The auction will also feature Modern designer and antique furniture and lighting (including an Eero Aarnio style Ball Chair and Company C rugs); African artifacts; Hopi kachina figures; Chinese porcelain, snuff bottles, bronzes and paintings; estate jewelry; fine art paintings and prints; sterling and crystal lots; coins; books on art and collecting; and decorative accessories.

But the clock collection is the auction’s undisputed headliner, led by Mr. Michael’s personally owned presentation 14K Dudley Masonic pocket watch with insignia and rope chain, engraved gold pocket knife and hinged fob with sphinx and horns with double eagle insignia on one side and reverse opening to reveal enamel circle with letters. It carries an estimate of $4,000-$6,000.

The 19-jewel pocket watch’s movement is decorated with Masonic symbols, including the iconic square and compass and all-seeing eye. The interior of the case is engraved, “Presented to Willis Raymond Michael 33, July 11, 1944.” Also up for bid is another Dudley open face pocket watch with a sparkling rayed pattern dial with Arabic numerals and seconds dial (est. $2,000-$4,000).

A strong candidate for top lot of the auction is the Lemuel Curtis (Concord, Mass., 1790-1857) girandole wall clock, named for its use of convex glass in the base section, patented by Curtis in 1816. This example is exceptional for its beautifully rendered image of Aurora in a reverse painting on glass (eglomisé), a very difficult technique. It should command $20,000-$40,000.

Anyone who knows clocks knows the name Willard. A Federal mahogany tall case clock by Simon Willard (Roxbury, Mass., circa 1790), having a bonnet with fine fretwork detail, should realize $10,000-$20,000; and a Federal era shelf clock by brother Aaron (1757-1844, Boston), with elaborate eglomisé panels with lyre motif and a bottom panel with a farming scene, has an estimate of $4,000-$6,000. Both clocks boast 8-day weight driven, time and strike movement.

A fine Jacob Hostetter (1754-1831) tall case clock with a Chippendale/Hepplewhite transitional cherry case and a dial that reads “Jacob Hostetter No. 71” has an estimate of $8,000-$12,000. Hostetter was a pioneer clockmaker in York County, Pa. Also, a John Fisher (1736-1808) York Town tall case clock with carved rosettes, a Greek Key border and hand-painted face should fetch $5,000-$10,000. Interestingly, Willis R. Michael is a direct descendant of John Fisher’s.

Two marine-related lots have identical estimates of $2,000-$4,000. One is a John Bliss & Co. marine chronometer in a mahogany box, dated April 1905, with wind indicator, stem wind and a Roman numeral silvered metal dial. The other is a ship’s wheel crystal regulator mantel clock with a polished brass case having glass on all four sides. What makes the clock so rare is the detached balance wheel regulation in the form of an oscillating ship’s wheel, not a pendulum.

An H. B. Horton’s calendar clock with a pendulum etched with the Ithaca Calendar Clock Co. logo, the maker, which made clocks based on the perpetual calendar mechanism patented by Henry Bishop Horton in 1865 and 1866, is expected to reach $2,000-$4,000. Also, a circa 1840 double steeple fusée shelf clock powered by wagon spring and having a zinc dial with Roman numerals and reverse painted tablets on the upper and lower doors, should hit $1,000-$2,000.

Two of the more visually arresting clocks in the auction are a cold-painted metal mechanical dog clock with wagging tongue and tail (est. $500-$800); and a Black Americana minstrel clock with a cast iron case in the form of a black banjo player dressed in a red shirt, yellow bow tie, with white collar and cuffs (est. $500-$800). The man’s eyes blink in time to the ticking of the clock.

Rounding out just a few of the auction’s many highlights are an Elisha Kirk (1757-1790, York, Pa.) tall case clock with a hand-painted face that reads, “Elisha Kirk York Town No. 32”, with moon phase, seconds hand, calendar aperture, floral spandrels, hemisphere (est. $3,000-$5,000); and, in the furniture category, a Mid-Century Modern white shell chair with black upholstered interior, presumed to be an Eero Aarnio Ball Chair, showing a few scuffs (est. $1,000-$1,500).

While the event is Internet-only, with no in-person gallery bidding, online bidding is available at,,, and Live previews will be available by appointment only in Converse Auctions’ gallery at 1 Spring Street in Paoli, Pa., near Philadelphia. To set up an appointment, call 610-722-9004 or send an email to, or use the online scheduler at

For more information about Converse Auctions and the online-only May Antique Auction on Friday, May 19th, please visit Updates are posted frequently.