Stephenson’s Auctioneers in suburban Philadelphia has built long-term relationships with many of its consignors, and it is that bond of trust that keeps the flow of high quality consignments coming in, said company owner and auctioneer Cindy Stephenson. “We’re frequently called back to the homes of previous consignors, and some of those homes are filled with the most beautiful antiques. It’s always an honor when we’re invited to return for another walk-through,” she said.
On Friday, April 21, 2017, Stephenson’s will once again bring to market a superb selection of fine and decorative art, antiques, furniture and jewelry from upscale residences in the Greater Philadelphia area. One of the auction’s star lots – a 67-inch Seth Thomas Regulator No. 32 wall clock – comes as the result of a return visit to a home “filled with exquisite furniture, silver and other objects,” Stephenson said. “The clock is the property of a retired jeweler who obviously valued it very highly, because it was displayed where you would see it as soon as you walked through the door.” While a comparable clock sold in a 2011 New England auction for $15,000, a conservative $4,000-$8,000 estimate has been placed on the Regulator in Stephenson’s April 21 sale. “We’re confident it will reach its full market value, possibly more. We have a strong following with clock collectors, and they will definitely know what it’s worth,” Cindy Stephenson said.
Another notable timepiece from the jeweler’s collection is a Marti French bronze and marble cherub mantel clock. Featuring tasteful gilt embellishments, filigree-style hands and swirl feet, it is estimated at $800-$1,600.
The fine art section of the sale is led by a circa 1820 American school portrait of a naval officer. The subject is shown in a formal military uniform consistent with those worn during the War of 1812. In one hand the officer holds a telescope, while his other hand rests on the gold handle of his sword. The handsome oil-on-board portrait measures 17 by 15 inches framed, 12 by 10 inches sight. Estimate: $800-$1,500
Two unexpected discoveries awaited Stephenson’s appraisers at a home in Delaware County, PA. The first was a circa 1900 Ringgold No. 11 cast iron stove standing 52 inches tall. Robust but extremely ornate, it is topped with a decorative gilt finial in the form of an urn. The other surprise “find” was a similarly decorated 1908 cast iron stove made by Buffalo Co-Op Stove Co. It is known as the 117A Amherst model. Each of the antique stoves is estimated at $600-$1,200.
Coincidentally, a residence in historic Fallsington (Bucks County), PA, was the source of two desirable affinity items: cast iron stove plates that originally were affixed to the backs of fireplaces. One dates to 1742 and depicts in relief “The Pharisee and Publican,” a Bible story told in Luke 18: 9-14. The plate is approximately 2 feet square and is pictured in Plate 81 of Henry Chapman Mercer’s book Bible in Iron. Its estimate is $500-$1,000. Also depicted in the Mercer book, an 18th century Pennsylvania German example is adorned with a heart and tulips, and is embossed with a German phrase that translates: “Judge Not of S.F.” The presale estimate is $300-$600.
Stephenson’s is a favorite resource for collectors of fine jewelry and precious metals. For their April 21 auction, the company’s jewelry experts have chosen several outstanding pieces from a Philadelphia estate: a 14K gold solitaire diamond ring, $1,000-$1,500; an Edwardian platinum ring with three large and 10 smaller diamonds, $600-$1,000; and a most unusual 14K yellow-gold charm bracelet. Of midcentury design, the bracelet contains six different enameled-gold charms given to an employee of Sears, Roebuck & Co., over the period of her employment with the company. Its estimate is $500-$1,000.
Other fine jewelry highlights include a Mogul bangle bracelet of high karat gold with inset stones and seed pearls, $600-$1,000; and a suite consisting of a Persian turquoise and hallmarked 14K gold brooch together with 22K gold earrings. Estimate: $800-$1,200
A collection of miniatures – all hand-carved from mineral specimens – was amassed over many years by a well-traveled New Jersey resident. The figurines are made from such materials as deep-red coral, lapis lazuli, malachite and turquoise. “They are the types of special collectibles that would have been purchased one at a time,” said Stephenson. “They made quite an impressive display in the consignor’s curio cabinet.”
A testament to its creator’s skill and attention to detail, a Mystic Maritime Gallery ship model of the U.S.S. (Sloop) WASP was made in 1982 by Dr. Charles O. McDonald. The model was crafted at a scale of 3/14 inch to 1 foot and is a faithful representation of the original War of 1812 warship built in1805-06 in Washington, DC. Housed in a sleek display case, this majestic nautical model is estimated at $1,000-$2,000.
Stephenson’s Friday, April 21 Spring Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction will begin at 2 PM ET. The pre-auction inspection will be held on Thursday, April 20 from 3 PM to 7 PM, and on auction day from 12 PM to 2 PM. The gallery is located in suburban Philadelphia at 1005 Industrial Boulevard, Southampton, PA 18966. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable, AuctionZip, or eBay. The online catalog appears on all four sites.