Provenance, connection with royalty and a wide range of antiques sourced from around the world are the hallmarks of a specialty two-day auction that The Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc., will host January 20-21, 2021, starting at 10 AM each day. The auction features the estate of the late Janine (nee Spaner) Metz, who was Social Secretary to the Duchess of Windsor from 1962 to 1972 and lived with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in their Manhattan penthouse. This is the first multi-day single-estate auction to be hosted here and necessitated because of the size of her estate.
Born to a French couturier, she lived and worked for a time in the 1950s before returning to Paris, where on a lark she answered a newspaper ad placed by a diplomatic couple seeking a secretary. That ad changed her life and even after marrying in 1964, she continued work for the Duchess (Wallis Simpson). She often traveled to the couple’s homes in London, Paris and New York and developed a passion for collecting. Her estate features collections of chinoiserie, English silver, netsukes, garden statuary, historical ephemera, fine art, decorative arts, collectibles and miniatures.
“She had quite the charmed life and in her position as secretary, she travelled frequently to attend social events and became friends with a host of aristocrats and expatriates,” Pam Stone, owner and founder of The Benefit Shop Foundation, said. “I believe that her travels and the charitable galas she attended inspired a true passion for collecting.”
Metz especially liked collecting finely-made art in miniature form and netsuke was a particular passon. The auction has over a dozen carved wooden animals sprinkled throughout both sessions. Most are katabori netsuke, a sculptural form of these toggles, and each is signed on the underside with Asian characters. Highlights include a cockerel/rooster with extensive decoration all over its body, a double bird, a cat wearing a robe and sandals, and two mice holding onto a peanut.
While drawn to smalls, Metz often bought larger items too, including a 500-pound cornerstone from an English castle. There are about two dozen pieces of garden statuary crossing the block in this sale, most in the first session. Bird baths and fountains featuring frolicing cherubim vie for attention with stone planters/urns and animal-form statues. A veritable zoo is represented, including a raven, goose, and a bear. Figural items include a patient fisherman sitting in a chair.
Silver is another genre that Metz ardently collected and this sale features about 150 pieces running the gamut from nut dishes to trinket boxes as well as platters, bowls, drinking vessels, hors d’oeuvres forks, ladles and more from noted English and French silversmiths.
Highlights include an oversized silver plated serving platter, by Christofle, 38 by 14 inches oval; an early Produx silver plate champagne bucket with horse head handles, engraved with Louis Roederer’s name and monogram; and a Kirk Steiff sterling centerpiece bowl having an 8-inch diameter ($500-2,000).
The auction spans the globe with items hailing from Asia, Europe and America. Highlights range in diversity from a 19th century Venetian carved gilt polychromed blackamoor statue, 35 inches tall ($200-2,000) to several Indian traveling prayer boxes having intricate Gattaji art on one side and a reflective metal surface on the other as is common.
Jade items were already attracting a lot of presale interest, and already racking up bids well over their high estimates, including was a group of four signed vintage polished jade cylinders on wood stands ($50-200) to be offered in the first session and a antique hand carved white jade fish form with fish faces on both sides, on stand ($100-300) crossing the block on the second day.
Rounding out the auction will be an antique footed Victorian cast iron porcelain stove ($1,000-4,000) having an Art Deco design; a Lalique antique signed Lievres art glass vase, circa 1920s, globular shape with a flared neck ($500-2,000), 6 inches tall; and a vintage Midcentury Modern glass topped console table, 75 inches wide, decorated in a chain link pattern on the front ($600-3,000).
The monthly Red Carpet sales feature choice collections of antique, Midcentury Modern, brand furnishings, sterling, china, crystal, jewelry and fine art. With a mission of “to donate, to discover and to do good,” the foundation is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and auction proceeds support community organizations. Consignors get a tax deduction, the buyer gets a great deal and local non-profits get much needed funds.
The auction gallery is at 185 Kisco Ave, Suite 201, Mount Kisco, NY. For more information, www.thebenefitshop.org or (914) 864-0707.