SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – There’s a reason why Stephenson’s Bucks County gallery is always packed with dealers on auction days. They recognize the family-owned firm as a trusted source for long-held family treasures from estates throughout the Mid-Atlantic and along the East Coast. Their next select offering of fine and decorative art, mid-century furniture and jewelry will cross the auction block on Friday, May 10, with all forms of bidding available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.
The sale will open with a small selection of antique photographica, including a nicely preserved example of Mascher’s Improved Stereoscope, Philadelphia, showing a patent date of 1859. It carries a $400-$800 estimate and comes from the Montgomery County (Philadelphia) estate of National Geographic illustrator Davis Meltzer, son of listed artists Paulette van Roekens and Arthur Meltzer. A pair of signed and inscribed Ben Solowey (1900-1978) charcoal-on-paper portraits of Paulette and Arthur are entered in the sale with a $400-$800 estimate.
Also from the Davis Meltzer estate comes an oil-on-board landscape with horses painted by Charles Harold Davis (American, 1856-1933). Founder of the Mystic (Conn.) Art Association in 1913, Davis’ art is now held in prestigious institutional collections, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The 24½ by 28-inch artwork to be auctioned by Stephenson’s was bequeathed to Mr. Meltzer by the artist’s wife around 1940. At that time it was valued at $1,500. The conservative auction estimate is $4,000-$8,000.
Another artwork of special note is a miniature portrait in the manner of Thomas Sully (1783-1872), an accomplished painter of politicians and presidents who was born in Great Britain but lived most of his life in Philadelphia. Housed in an antique case-style frame, the artwork was a gift to the senior Meltzers and carries an inscription on verso that reads: “Head by Thomas Sully, presented to Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Meltzer by Miss Harriet Sartain 1957.” Auction estimate: $500-$1,000
Currently, the hottest name in mid-century furniture is Finn Juhl (1912-1989). It did not take long for potential bidders to notice a pair of the Danish designer’s lounge chairs (shown at top of page) that were delivered to Stephenson’s gallery for the May 10 sale. Created in the 1950s for the firm France & Daverosen, the chairs have teak frames, are branded “FD” and have been reupholstered in red fabric. They will cross the auction block as a pair with a pre-sale estimate of $2,000-$4,000.
The furniture selection also incudes a Dunbar sofa, Dunbar wing chair with matching ottoman, a set of six Aero Saarinen Tulip side chairs, Herman Miller aluminum armchairs, and several pieces by Knoll. An exceptionally beautiful Turkish or Peshawar Maylayer Sarouk carpet – one of several very nice examples from a Center City Philadelphia estate – measures 14ft 2in by 9ft 4in and displays an exotic design in earth tones against an ivory field. This high-quality textile is expected to make $1,500-$2,000.
The largest category in the sale is jewelry, bolstered in no small way by a discovery made by Stephenson’s experts while on a house call in Montgomery County. “Whenever we’re invited to assess the contents of an estate, we always make a point of asking if there’s any jewelry, as often that category can be overlooked,” said Stephenson’s owner and auctioneer Cindy Stephenson. “We had been called to one particular home to evaluate furniture, and before we left, I asked if they had any jewelry. As it turns out, there were several wardrobe drawers filled to capacity with very nice gold and Mexican silver jewelry. We were pleased to add those pieces to our May 10th sale.”
Among the items found in the jewelry trove are two 18K white gold designs by Raima (Italy) that will be auctioned in consecutive lots. A hinged diamond bangle bracelet featuring two rows of diamonds – 90 stones in all – is estimated at $1,600-$3,000. Of a similar crossover style, a two-ring set with 36 pave diamonds could reach $800-$1,200.
A hallmarked and stamped Lalique Enfants bracelet of crystal panels on sterling silver has been assigned a $300-$600 estimate, while an 18K gold charm necklace, 23 inches long with a number of figural 14K gold charms including an 1850 US one-dollar coin in a bezel, will likely command $2,000-$3,000. Other jewelry additions to the sale include a 14K gold bangle bracelet with 45 round diamonds arranged in three rows, with a 4.5 carat TCW, $2,000-$4,000; and an 18K gold ring featuring an 18-carat oval faceted citrine with two round 0.05-carat diamonds on either side, $1,200-$2,400.
Also entered in the sale are Daum Nancy and Mont Joye cameo glass from a Stockton, N.J., home, and a number of high-quality pieces from the estate of Hrefna Jonsdottir, the Icelandic-born owner of a well-regarded gallery in Lambertville, New Jersey.
Stephenson’s May 10, 2019 Spring Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern time. For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.