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Sterling Associates' auction features fine art, Asian antiques and other premier East Coast estate offerings
1946 letter written by Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy, then a prep school student, to “Miss Ethel Skakel, Manhattanville College.” Skakel ended up marrying one of Kennedy’s elder brothers, Robert. Estimate: $400-$600. Sterling Associates image.
CLOSTER, NJ.- Following the overwhelming success of its inaugural Estates Auction in December, Sterling Associates is preparing a March 31 follow-up event that features an exciting array of antiques and art from some of New Jersey’s finest homes.

The 350-lot sale includes a superb selection of paintings, sculpture, 18th- and 19th-century furniture, and autographed historical ephemera. A special offering of Chinese ivories and Asian porcelain has been added in response to the strong demand shown for this category in Sterling’s debut.

The fine art section is led by the wonderful Portrait of Anna Maria Borghese (née de Ferrari, 1874-1924), painted by Vittorio Matteo Corcos (Italian, 1859-1933). The framed 71 x 43¾-inch oil-on-canvas portrait depicts the young Italian noble in a pastel pink dress, her arm resting upon a terrace railing. Exhibiting outstanding technique in both its delicate flesh tones and shadings of background foliage, the appealing artwork is entered in the sale with a $15,000-$25,000 estimate.

One of the highlights of the decorative arts section is a 25½-inch patinated gilt bronze Art Nouveau vase with the foundry mark “E. Blot Paris Vrai Bronze.” The artist, Jules Jouant (French, 1882-1921), skillfully created a relief image of a seminude young woman playing a lyre beneath a crescent moon and stars, with a swan swimming in nearby willows as its background. The dual-handled vessel is profusely carved with telescoping tree branches that terminate in flowering branches. The vase’s presale estimate is $4,000-$6,000.

A pair of figural gilt bronze compotes came from a home whose owners appreciate the elegance and perfection of 19th-century French design. Scrolling cabriole embellishments and a bird and acanthus leaf motif garnish the pedestals, each of which supports a shell-shape bowl. The pair will be offered with a $6,000-$8,000 estimate.

Another elegant duo is the pair of circa-1840 French chenets of gilt bronze mercury. Created for use as fireplace adornments, the 16-inch-tall chenets depict a three-dimensional cherub and fairy, respectively, each figure seated on a pedestal and holding a lengthy garland of flowers. Together, they are estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

Sterling Associates’ owner, Stephen D’Atri, is especially pleased to have amassed an exceptional grouping of Asian antiques to offer to bidders in his upcoming sale. He said he is giving bidders what they want, based on the results of his first auction.

“The star of our December sale was an 18th-century Qianlong cloisonné censer with kirin lid, which we had estimated at $6,000-$8,000. It attracted multiple Asian bidders over the phone and Internet, and ended up selling for $28,750 (inclusive of 15% buyer’s premium). That sent a clear signal that the demand for top-quality Asian antiques is not relenting,” said D’Atri.

The March 31 auction includes a sizable grouping of Chinese, Japanese and Indian ivory figures coming from three different estates. All are of old ivory, and date to the 19th or early 20th century. A few of the figures are of Shiva goddesses, and one particular highlight depicts Quan Yen with a baby, riding atop a wave with a dragon emerging. The group of four Immortals exhibits very fine tooling and could possible be Japanese.

An interesting lineup of antique and vintage ephemera has been cataloged, as well. A portrait of George Washington, framed together with a 1795 document signed by the first U.S. president, is estimated at $12,000-$16,000. The document confirms the appointment of “Richard Dickinson of Connecticut” to the position of “Inspector of the Revenue for the Port of Saybrook.” The historical 18th-century document signed in Philadelphia was acquired from the home of a distant Dickinson relative who is now deceased.

A holographic letter written by Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy in 1946, long before his days in politics, is addressed to “Miss Ethel Skakel, Manhattanville College.” [Skakel ended up marrying one of Kennedy’s elder brothers, Robert.] The chatty letter, written in longhand on Cranwell Preparatory School stationery, speaks of upcoming exams, having to do “manual labor” for getting caught “fooling around one night,” and also reminds Ethel that she “forgot to include six dollars and the stubs for the chances” in her last letter. The lot is estimated at $400-$600.

Antique doll collectors won’t want to miss the grouping of 16 antique and vintage dolls to be auctioned. Many types are represented, including German bisque-head, composition and cloth dolls. Manufacturers include Simon & Halbig, DEP, Heubach Koppelsdorf, and J.D. Kestner.

Stephen D’Atri will be exhibiting highlights from the March 31 auction at Stella’s Pier Antiques Show in Manhattan on March 17-18. He invites all interested parties to view a handpicked auction selection and visit with Sterling Associates staff members at booth #4300.

Sterling Associates’ Spring Fine & Decorative Arts and Furniture Auction will be held on Saturday, March 31, starting at 12 noon Eastern time. It is structured as a hybrid auction in which previewing is available at the physical gallery, but all bidding is exclusively absentee, by phone or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com.

“The way our auctions work, all bidding is conducted remotely, but we’re very much a permanent brick-and-mortar company where anyone can come in to inspect the goods,” said D’Atri. “It will be run exactly like a live auction, but without a live audience.”

The live gallery preview is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., March 27-30 inclusive. The gallery is located at 70 Herbert Ave., Closter, NJ 07624.

For additional information on any item in the auction, call 201-768-1140 or e-mail info@antiquenj.com. Visit Sterling Associates online at www.antiquenj.com. View the fully illustrated catalog online at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.



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