New Year's Day auctions are not as popular as they were 20 years ago, but Stephenson's in Southampton is going stronger than ever. Beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday at its gallery at 1005 Industrial Blvd., it will offer almost 400 lots, including a 200-piece Georg Jensen flatware service.
The service for 14, in Jensen's popular "Acorn" pattern, includes eight open salt cellars dating to 1915, with green enameled interiors and salt spoons. It comes from a prosperous Chestnut Hill family in whose possession it had been since 1941, according to auction house owner Cindy Stephenson. The service has a presale price estimate of $13,000 to $20,000, according to the online catalog at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
The high estimate of $20,000 is not "unreasonable," Stephenson said in a release, "especially when factoring in the considerable cachet of the Georg Jensen name." Several antique English silver pieces in the sale also come from the estate, home of a family that owned a yarn goods company in the early to mid-20th century.
The silver includes a pair of Brittania standard Queen Anne tea caddies made around 1711 by Thomas Ash and purchased in 1944 at New York's Parke-Bernet galleries. (Brittania standard is an alloy containing 95.8 percent silver, a slightly higher amount than the 92.5 percent in sterling silver.)
Also from the Chestnut Hill estate are a third Queen Anne caddy made by around 1708 by Ash; another Queen Anne caddy made around 1720 by Anthony Nelme, and a pair of George I sterling tea caddies made around 1726 by Edward Gibbons. The caddy lots have presale estimates ranging from $900 to $4,000.
Other auction highlights are three lots of furniture by Bucks County artisan George Nakashima, from a Philadelphia estate; and from a Montgomery County estate, 16 lots of duck decoys carved by the 20th century Canadian D.W. "Davey" Nichol of Ontario.
The Nakashima pieces are more affordable than his better-known works. A spindle-back side chair is estimated at $1,000 to $2,000; a cherry spindle-back armchair with cushions and footstool is estimated at $2,000 to $3,500; and an armless cherry sofa with slatted back and original cushions will likely go for $2,000 to $4,500. "There's been a lot of interest in the Nakashimas," Stephenson said this week. "There are no reserves on them."
Presale estimates on Nichols' carvings range from $300 to $600 for an unidentified bird to $2,000 to $4,000 for a 5-by-14-inch signed male wood duck. His works have recently been exhibited at the Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum of Virginia Beach, Va.
The sale will open with three dozen lots of Royal Doulton, Royal Copenhagen, Boehm, and similar porcelain figures, followed by 50 lots of crystal glassware and more porcelains. All are expected to bring three-figure prices except for a Theodore Havilan Limoges dinner service for 12 that should bring $600 to $1,000. The auction also offers paintings, bronzes, jewelry, and furnishings, notably a Steinway B model grand piano ($5,000 to $10,000).
Previews: Noon to 2 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to sale time Sunday at the gallery. For further information, call 215-322-6182.
Farmersville Auction Inc. This is a particularly difficult year for New Year's Day auctions because the holiday falls on a Sunday. Farmersville Auction Inc.'s traditional holiday sale of antiques and collectibles at 33 N. Farmersville Rd., Ephrata, will be split into two sessions this winter, one beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday with 1,500 lots of small items ("too much to list," says the auction house), the other at 10 a.m. Monday with 300 lots of furniture. For further information, call 717-354-5095.
January at Rago's. January plans are already afoot at a variety of auction houses. Rago Arts & Auction Center in Lambertville has posted its catalog online, www.ragoarts. com, for its two-day discovery sale beginning at 11 a.m. Jan. 13-14. As usual for a discovery sale, the 1,300 lots will be offered without reserve.
The Jan. 13 session will offer more than 600 lots of original and vintage art, furnishings, tableware, Asian items, Americana, collectibles, books, ephemera, and ethnographic property, featuring a large selection of early-20th-century design. Typical lots include a George Ohr green and gunmetal glaze scalloped bowl, which probably will bring $1,200 to $1,800, typical of prices in the session; a contemporary "Stickley by Audi" drop-arm Morris chair made in the traditional Stickley style but with some veneer ($1,000 to $1,500); and a circa 1940 mahogany tall chest ($300 to $500).
The Jan. 14 session, with 650 lots, is dedicated to 20th-century modern design, including furniture, lighting, rugs, pottery, glass, paintings, prints, and photography. The first six lots are works by Isamu Noguchi, beginning with a Noguchi/Knoll Associates cyclone dining table dating to the 1950s ($1,000 to $1,500).
Other representative works include a playful Phillip Maberry earthenware center bowl with a facial caricature ($700 to $900), an oil on canvas by Charles Bragg titled The Bagel Maker ($300 to $500), a pair of Orrefors crystal and brass table lamps with silk cord shades ($600 to $800), and a 47½-by-13-inch chrome steel bottle opener made in 1979 by C. Jere Artisan House.
Previews: Noon to 5 p.m. Jan. 7 to 11 and noon to 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at the gallery, 333 N. Main St. Doors open on sale days at 9 a.m. Information: 609-397-9374.