The Friday sale opens with a fine selection of smalls. Several collections are featured, with the contents including many fine porcelain Boehm figurines and birds; Royal Worcester productions and desirable, larger-size Lladros and Swarovskis.
The centerpiece of the day is the single-owner jewelry collection, which incorporates designs from the turn of the 20th century through modern day. Many of the pieces in the collection are Native American and exhibit a level of skillful hand detailing that only highly accomplished artisans could execute.
A large and heavy circa-1920 sterling silver squash blossom necklace is unusual in its styling, said Stephenson’s fine jewelry expert, Theresa Zaengle, because it does not contain turquoise, coral or other stones, as would be typical of most squash blossom necklaces. “It is all handmade and quintessentially Native American in its appearance, but it is a simpler design with all handmade fluted silver beads, squash blossoms and a central Naja pendant. It’s a heavy piece. The silver content is very high,” Zaengle said. The necklace retains its original patina and has not been cleaned. It is expected to sell in the vicinity of $800.
Many artist-signed Native-American jewelry items will cross the auction block at Stephenson’s, including sand-cast pieces from the 1920s. “These designs stand out because they’re very weighty, and you can almost see where each piece was molded in the sand,” Zaengle said. All of the stones are natural, as opposed to having been dyed or treated.
From a different consignor comes a mini collection of superior-quality Mexican silver jewelry. A highlight is a desirable Hector Aguilar bracelet that has a presciently modern look. A similar example is shown in a leading Mexican jewelry reference book.
Jewelry buyers will have an abundance of choice in this sale. An impressive sapphire and diamond necklace is valued at approximately $1,800; while a “very modern and understated” Italian mesh necklace of white and yellow gold with diamonds is entered with an estimate of $1,000.
A 1920s platinum and diamond bracelet estimated at $2,500 is delicately detailed, which would suggest it is from the period bridging the Edwardian and Art Deco eras. “Some very pretty jewelry was produced during this time of transition. The linear look had not yet come into its own,” Zaengle noted.
Those who enjoy classic timepieces will find an abundance of quality in this auction. A top lot is an 18K gold-cased Vacheron & Constantin man’s wristwatch estimated at $1,500.
Stephenson’s is well established in the Philadelphia area as an estates specialist. Without exception, each of their sales includes at least one exciting discovery, like the Tiffany clock in the May 31 offering that came from a residence in the Philadelphia-area borough of Jenkintown. Standing 43 inches high, the ornate, baroque-style brass clock has an enameled face and dates to the last decade of the 19th century. Its works are marked “Tiffany & Co.”
Stephenson’s owner, Cindy Stephenson, described the beautiful timekeeper as “the largest, most ornate table clock I’ve ever seen.” Among the visuals incorporated in its motif are dolphins, a woman riding Pegasus, and caryatids as the supports. Its finial is a three-dimensional figure of Father Time, seated on a sphere and holding a scythe.
“The woman who owned it is in her 90s and had childhood memories of watching her father wind the clock, but in our research we have not been able to find a comparable example. We’ve estimated it at $3,000 to $5,000, but collectors could prove us wrong and bid well above that range,” said Stephenson.
Three fine English oil-on-canvas portraits were consigned from the same Jenkintown home that produced the clock. The paintings – one of which is dated 1776 – are unsigned, English-school artworks with an interesting backstory.
“The consignor had seen a picture of a small antique shop in a magazine and was attracted to a portrait appearing in the shop’s window. She actually traveled all the way to England to try to find the shop, but knew only the name of the village where it was located,” Stephenson said. “She had to ask many people before she finally bumped into a couple in a tavern who actually knew the shop. Not only did they take her there, where she bought the three portraits in our sale, but she also became lifelong friends with the couple.”
As a further testament to the consignor’s refined taste in antiques, Stephenson’s will offer an 8ft wide breakfront from the Jenkintown home. It was custom made in the 1940s of Georgian-style flame mahogany and would add elegance to any traditional home.
Other furniture in the sale includes mid-century modern designs, such as the Peter Hvidt & O. Molgaard-Nielsen for John Stuart teakwood armchair with loose cushion and cane back. It is entered with a $1,000 estimate.
The selection of stoneware is led by a pair of cobalt-decorated chicken feeders, decorated with a botanical motif and clearly incised with the name “Thos. Haig” and the address “975 N. 2nd St. Phila.” The estimate for the pair is $2,000.
Stephenson’s Friday, May 31 Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction will begin at the earlier-than-usual time of 10 a.m. Eastern Time. The company’s gallery is located at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton, PA 18966. Inspection is on Thursday, May 30, from 1-6 p.m., and on auction day from 9-10 a.m. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com.
For additional information on any auction lot, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail email@example.com. Online: www.stephensonsauction.com.
View the fully illustrated online catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.liveauctioneers.com.
# # #
ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE