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Tiffany silver jug in unidentifiable pattern could be the sleeper in Sterling's Dec. 5 auction
Jonas Joseph LaValley (American, 1858-1930), floral still life, oil on canvas, signed 'J. J. LaValley.' Size: 13 3/4 by 20 3/4 inches (sight). Sterling Associates image.

CLOSTER, NJ.- Sterling Associates’ outstanding first year as an auction house is in no small way attributable to owner Stephen D’Atri’s knowledge of the tri-state region, acquired from his many years as a full-time antiques dealer. Estates are D’Atri’s specialty, and six out of every seven days, he’s out on house calls, pursuing the fine and decorative art; furniture and Asian artworks for which his auctions have become well known. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, Sterling Associates will offer the finest estate consignments D’Atri and his team have secured over the past several months in a 400-lot Winter Fine Art & Antiques Auction.

Two large living estates from New Jersey were the sources for much of the merchandise in the sale. One of the consignors is 94 years old and has been a client of D’Atri’s for some 30 years.

“She had always promised that if she moved from her 5,000-square-foot home, we would receive the estate, and she kept her word,” D’Atri said. “She bought antiques over a long period of time from dealers all over the country. I think bidders are going to be very pleased with the selection.”

A second major estate is from a 10,000-sq-ft home in Tenafly, N.J., and contains a wealth of well-chosen traditional antiques. According to D’Atri, the owner moved to Manhattan and decided to switch to “all modern decor” to suit the style of the new residence.

The auction features many superior-quality paintings, led by a circa-1900 Alfred Schwarz (German, 1867-1951) oil on canvas of a woman and many children. Another highlight is an Ernest Chiriacka (American, 1920-2010) oil-on-board depiction of riders on horseback in a snowy landscape. It came from a Long Island estate, together with a few other Chiriacka works and several Old Masters. Signed 'E. Chiriacka,' the 9 1/2 by 7 1/2 inch painting is presented in an ornate, old frame.

Known as a “postage stamp” painting, an 8 by 10 inch Impressionist work by John Fabian Carlson (Swedish/American, 1875-1947) is signed on the front and on verso. “With an estimate of $1,000 to $2,000, it’s a nice entry point for a new collector wanting to build a Hudson River School collection,” said D’Atri.

The auction also includes paintings by Juan Guillermo (Spanish, 1916-1968) and Jonas Joseph La Valley (American, 1858-1930). The latter artist, better known as J.J. La Valley, was a skilled painter and instructor renowned for his floral still lifes.

A wonderful selection of traditional sculptures awaits bidders, with a timeframe that spans the 19th century through the Art Deco period. Artists include Picault, Lambeaux, Moreau, Mengue and Colomera. Among the leading lots in this section are a 27¾-inch-tall Emile Laporte (French, 1858-1907) bronze of a young boy with rooster, and an exceptional Art Nouveau plaque by Henri Fugere (French, 1872-1944).

The magical Tiffany name is expected to attract interest to two lots in particular – a very unusual Tiffany glass mosaic and bronze box, and a circa-1900 Tiffany & Co. sterling silver pitcher with exquisite repousse decoration. D’Atri said he believes the 8¼-inch-tall by 9½-inch-wide pitcher may well have been a specially commissioned item. “I researched it but could not find its pattern in any books or archives,” D’Atri said.

The sale is also brimming with luxe clock sets, lamps, lighting and sconces; and French glass – most notably a collection of 50 pieces of very tasteful modern Lalique collected over a 30-year period.

The Asian art section is highlighted by superb famille rose porcelain, including a pair of monumental (54-inch-tall) 19th-century palace urns, and a very special pair of garden seats. Another important Chinese lot is the pair of folding chairs made of hardwood, possibly huanghuali.

Other lots poised for success on auction day include a handsome 18th-century Hepplewhite mahogany bookcase from an estate in Fairview, N.J., and a pair of whimsical mid-century painted papier-mache monkey parade masks made by the American Mask Manufacturing Company.

For numismatic collectors – both novices and veterans – Sterling Associates will offer 268 uncirculated New York Federal Reserve notes dated 1934. The notes will be offered in multiple lots that follow consecutive serial number order, with the exception of one lot.

Sterling Associates’ Winter Fine Art & Antiques Auction will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 5, starting at 5 p.m. 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

“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.”

D’Atri explained that he has changed the day of the week on which his sales are held – now Wednesdays instead of Saturdays – with a start time of 5 p.m. Eastern.

“Previously, our sales were held on a Saturday, but people like to have their Saturdays off. We also decided to change the start time to 5 p.m. because it makes it much easier for West Coast bidders to participate and also works well for our many Asian bidders,” D’Atri said.

The gallery is located at 70 Herbert Ave., Closter, NJ 07624. The live gallery preview will be held from 10-6 Nov. 28 through Nov. 30 inclusive; 10-5 on Dec. 1, 10-7 on Dec. 4, and 10 a.m.-12 noon on auction day, Dec. 5. The gallery is closed on Sundays and Mondays. For information on any item in the auction, to reserve a phone line or to leave an absentee bid, call 201-768-1140 or e-mail View the fully illustrated catalog online at, or on the Sterling Associates website: Internet live bidding is available only through

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