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Stephenson's to Welcome 2011 with Auction of Fine and Decorative Art; Superb Silver and Jewelry
Halloween Painting – Circa-1860 Emma Brownlow (English, 1820-1880) oil-on-canvas painting titled Halloween. Estimate $20,000-$30,000. Stephenson’s Auctions image.

SOUTHAMPTON, PA- Philadelphia-area estates, residences and private collectors were the sources contributing to the outstanding lineup of fine paintings, decorative art, silver and jewelry to be offered by Stephenson’s Auctioneers over the first weekend of 2011. The opening session on Saturday, Jan. 1 is laden with beautiful antique silver and jewelry.

One of the premier lots is a 19th-century Russian enameled-silver inkwell by Pavel A. Ovchinnikov (estimate $10,000-$18,000). The marble-based inkwell is intricately beaded and enameled, and is topped by a realistically crafted three-dimensional silver bear with ruby eyes. “Its central subject is very appealing, and the craftsmanship is simply exceptional,” said Cindy Stephenson, auctioneer and owner of Stephenson’s Auction Co. “We believe there will be a lot of interest in this lot, which was consigned by a Florida philanthropist.”

Another key piece within the 50 lots of silver is a circa-1900 Russian silver and gold cigarette case with the hallmark of Nicholai Kemper (St. Petersburg, 1898-1908). It is a heavy piece that almost certainly would have been a specially commissioned item, judging from the many script names and applied tokens that include a frog, pig, crown, German 50-mark note, and Masonic logo.

Two American silver tea and coffee services will be auctioned – one by International Silver and the other by Stieff. Both are large sets with a creamer, sugar bowl, waste receptacle and tray. Additionally, the silver section includes a sizable array of hollow ware.

Approximately 120 lots of jewelry are on the auction roster for day one. A collection of lovely Victorian pins, a Victorian rose gold brooch with seed pearls, tassels and d’epargne black enameling ($500-$700); and a Victorian dragon-head necklace encrusted with garnets ($500-$700) are among the highlights. Other important pieces include a hallmarked European 14K gold wide-mesh basketweave bracelet ($1,200-$1,500) a 1940s Tiffany owl pin, gold with bloodstone accents ($300-$500); and a 1950s Georg Jensen (Denmark) sterling silver cuff bracelet. “We’ve conservatively estimated the Jensen bracelet at $600-$1,000 because it is so uncommon we could not find a comparable bracelet in any available reference material,” said Stephenson’s jewelry expert Theresa Zaengle. “It’s really a great-looking piece.”

High-quality vintage Mexican silver will be offered, as well. Within the grouping are a 30-inch sterling link necklace by the Taxco silversmiths Los Castillo ($200-$300) and a wide silver cuff bracelet of 980 silver decorated with amethyst stones and the ancient Mayan motif of the “Feathered Serpent” deity Quetzalcoatl (200-$300).

Every woman loves a charm bracelet, and Stephenson’s New Year’s event includes one of the most desirable examples to come to auction in quite some time. The heavy gold bracelet includes six substantial charms adorned with pearls, rubies and sapphires, and representing such forms as a golf bag with clubs, opera glasses and a telephone. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000. A second charm bracelet features gold coins and a gold charm replicating a coin.

Among the other jewelry highlights are a 30-inch double strand of uniform 8mm pearls with a 14K gold and carved cameo opal and diamond clasp ($2,000-$3,000), a Chinese jade necklace with a large disc pendant, matching earrings and bracelets; a 1920s Art Deco-style 14K white gold filigree three-stone diamond ring, several cameos, and a suite of angel skin coral and diamond earrings, pendant and ring, with each piece to be auctioned separately. Exhibiting the chic, modern styling of David Anderson, a plain silver and enameled pendant duo will be offered as one lot.

The opening session also includes a number of excellent decorative art lots, with leading entries being the 19-inch Mont Joye enameled vase with sunflower motif ($700-$1,100) and a pair of impressive Sevres-style porcelain bronze-mounted urns. Additionally, Stephenson’s will auction Lalique and Daum crystal, as well as a number of small porcelains, figures and large-size Royal Doulton figural pieces from the remaining stock of an upscale Bucks County specialty shop whose owner is now deceased.

The Sunday, Jan. 2 session is devoted to fine art and furniture. A lively oil-on-canvas genre painting by Emma Brownlow (English, 1820-1880) is titled Halloween and depicts a gaggle of children, some with masks, industriously creating holiday decorations inside a quaint cottage. Cindy Stephenson described the 17- by 21-inch (sight) painting as “a wonderful example of Brownlow’s work,” adding, “We expect it to make $20,000-$30,000.”

Another significant artwork is the oil-on-canvas Hudson River Valley landscape by William Mason Brown (American, 1828-1898). Artist-signed, the 21- by 29-inch (sight) painting comes from a private residence in Bucks County, Pa., and is estimated at $6,000-$10,000. Other pictures to be auctioned include three works by Joseph Barrett and a few by David Hahn, both of whom are from Bucks County.

A selection of furniture to be sold in the second session includes 15 pieces of Kittinger Colonial Williamsburg, all from a Philadelphia Main Line estate and dating to the mid-20th century; a Pennsylvania cherry corner cupboard, a Chippendale semi-tall chest, circa-1790 Federal drop-leaf inlaid table, and a superior Art Nouveau glass-doored oak bookcase. Adding a musical touch, a Steinway Model B ebony grand piano with bench in beautiful condition is estimated at $8,000-$12,000.

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