Stephenson's Jan. 1 auction features estate treasures from Philadelphia and beyond

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Stephenson's Jan. 1 auction features estate treasures from Philadelphia and beyond
John Widdicomb neoclassical-style double-door cabinet from the ‘Russian Collection.’ Circa 2007. Solid cherry with cherry and karelian birch veneers, gold trim, egg-and-dart molding. Estimate $2,000-$4,000.

SOUTHAMPTON, PA.- For more than 60 years, family owned and operated Stephenson’s Auctioneers has earned an impeccable reputation based on its sales of fresh-to-market art and antiques from the Philadelphia area’s most elegant estates. Traditionally, their most anticipated event of the year is their Jan. 1 New Year’s Auction, which, for 2023, will feature high-quality fine and decorative art, jewelry, silver, fine furniture; and other valuables and personal property from residences in the Mid-Atlantic region. All forms of remote bidding will be available for those who cannot attend in person, including phone, absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

“Throughout the year, we set aside rare and beautiful pieces specifically for our New Year’s Day event,” said Cindy Stephenson, owner of Stephenson’s Auction. “Our regular buyers know this, and many say they wouldn’t miss the New Year’s sale for anything. They actually plan their activities around the auction, either attending in person at the gallery or bidding by other means.”

The fully curated 340-lot selection glitters with a tasteful array of platinum, gold and sterling silver jewelry ranging from Victorian, Art Nouveau and Art Deco pieces to rings, earrings and other bejeweled and high-carat creations of the mid- to late-20th century.

With an inscription that dates it to circa 1907, a Smith Patterson & Co., brooch of quintessential Art Nouveau style incorporates a beautifully enameled watch into its design. The 14K yellow gold cast pin is an ethereal depiction of a woman with flowing hair set with 2.5mm round, early-cut accent diamonds. The 30mm watch shows a woman in profile with early-cut accent diamonds in her hairpiece and necklace. Accompanied by its original Smith Patterson Boston box, the brooch is estimated at $1,000-$2,000.

Diamonds are still a girl’s best friend, and it’s safe to assume that many bidders will be intent on befriending Lot 111, a platinum cluster ring with a diamond-studded antique mounting. The presentation includes three large round diamonds (each 4.2-4.5mm, 1.00 cttw) surrounded by 16 early-cut round accent diamonds (2.00 cttw) which scallop the perimeter of the main stones. Estimate: $1,500-$2,500

An Art Deco classic, Lot 118 is a platinum and 14K gold strap filigree bracelet with 24 intricately detailed links. Each of 20 of the links is adorned with a 2.5mm early-cut diamond, while each of the four additional links is accented with a quartet of marquise-cut blue sapphires. Stamped PLATON, this lovely bracelet could suit a variety of wardrobe choices and quickly become a jewelry-box favorite. It will be offered with a $1,500-$3,000 estimate.

Several auction highlights feature opals, but the star of the selection may well be the 14K gold and diamond pendant that has a large black opal at its center. Highly prized for its intense, layered colors, the black opal – native to Australia – is unlike any other gem. The example at the center of the pendant offered by Stephenson’s has a desirable domed surface and an elongated form. It is surrounded by a halo of single-cut 2.3mm diamonds (4.1 dwt) and has an attractive rope edge. Its pre-sale estimate is $1,500-$2,000.

Many design-savvy buyers follow Stephenson’s specifically to source desirable mid-century furniture. They will find some excellent choices in the New Year’s Day sale, starting with Lot 236, a set of eight mid-century modern Johannes Hansen for Knoll teakwood chairs. Known as “The Chair,” the original form was designed by the legendary Hans Wegner. All of the chairs have “Johannes Hansen Copenhagen Denmark” branded to their undersides and all but one have an applied Knoll/Hansen retailer’s label. Estimate: $10,000-$14,000

It is said that a single piece of furniture can anchor an entire room, and there would be no argument that an iconic Republic of Fritz Hansen Inc., Egg Chair would serve that purpose handily. Designed by Arne Jacobsen and manufactured circa 2016, the chair has vibrant red upholstery and an aluminum swivel base. It carries a $1,500-$3,000 estimate.

For the traditional home, Stephenson’s suggests two items in particular: Lot 239, a circa-2007 John Widdicomb neoclassical-style cherry cabinet with double glass doors from the “Russian Collection,” estimate $2,000-$4,000; and to lay the groundwork for a refined interior, Lot 245, a Hereke panel silk carpet. Woven in Turkey, and with a Barok Carpet label underneath, it measures 12 feet long by 8 feet 4 inches wide and is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.

Notable amongst the artworks to be auctioned is Lot 187, an Ansel Adams (American, 1902-1984) silver gelatin print of his famed photograph titled Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park. It is sized 9¾ inches by 7½ inches sight or 20¼ by 16½ inches framed. Estimate: $2,000-$4,000. Also of note, a signed Klaus Ihlenfeld (Pennsylvania/Berlin, Germany; b. 1934-) phosphorus bronze organic-form sculpture is expected to make $1,500-$2,500.

A large selection of Asian art and decoratives will cross the auction block. A Chinese Ming Dynasty parcel gilt and polychrome-painted bronze figure of a seated Buddha wearing a crown is estimated at $2,000-$4,000. Additionally, there are Chinese Canton porcelains (ginger jars, platters, tureens, pitchers and various vessels) from a private estate, as well as antique Japanese wares (Imari, Kutani, Nippon, etc.).

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