New Year's Day auctions are not as popular as they were 25 years ago, but a couple of well-established ones can still be found in the suburbs and countryside, notably Stephenson's in Southampton.
Now well into its second decade, Stephenson's will offer a two-day event next weekend.
"This is our biggest sale of the year," Cindy Stephenson said this week, noting that the sale usually draws about 400 to 500 bidders in person and an equal number online at Liveauctioneers.com.
Next weekend's auction also has some storybook touches. Among the upwards of 1,000 lots to be offered at the first session, beginning at 10 a.m. next Friday, is a bronze bust of a woman by Leopold Savine that Stephenson expects to bring $1,000 to $2,000.
"The consignor found it in the trash," she said.
The session also features a Hazel Atlas "Royal Lace" cobalt dinner service for 12 that should bring an aggregate of $3,000 to $5,000 after being offered piece by piece. Barely used, the service came from an elderly consignor in the area "who had no idea of its value," Stephenson said.
Silver in the session includes two sterling tea services, one of them made by Stieff and expected to bring $3,000 to $4,000. "Sterling is way up these days," Stephenson said.
Among paintings is an oil-on-canvas titled "Gypsy Encampment" that, though not signed, Stephenson identifies as the work of the well-known British painter George Morland. It has a presale estimate of $3,000 to $5,000.
Other artworks of note include a portrait of Benjamin Franklin, a David Hahn acrylic farm scene, a Cesare Ricciardi still life, a Joseph Barrett landscape titled "Stone House With Buckingham Mountain," and a 15-inch-high copper mask by the early-20th-century Austrian Carl Hagenauer. It too should bring $3,000 to $5,000.
Other unusual items include a plaster Bryant Percy Baker relief sculpture that came from the front of a well-known school, and a vintage wooden bowling pin game with a baseball motif. The ball used to knock down the pins is leather-covered with silver medallions of Dan Brouthers and John Clarkson, both 19th-century baseball players. Both have presale estimates of $1,000 to about $2,000.
Furniture in the session includes Kittinger, Baker, and other contemporary brands, which Stephenson says often sell better than Victorian pieces.
The second session, beginning at 11 a.m. Jan. 2, will feature more than 20 Steiff animals, including limited editions, Teddy bears, and vintage Barbie dolls, all from a single consignor
Previews will be 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday, 8 a.m. to sale time next Friday, and 9 a.m. to sale time Jan. 2 at the gallery, 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton. For information, call 215- 322-6182 or go to www.stephensonsauction.com.
Farmersville: A 35-year tradition. Another well-established New Year's tradition is Farmersville Auction Inc.'s annual New Year's Day Antique and Collectible auction at its gallery at 33 N. Farmersville Rd., Ephrata.
The Farmersville sale also will last two days, with more than 1,000 lots of collectibles being offered beginning at 8 a.m. next Thursday at the gallery. Many of the collectibles are toys, including Buddy L and Keystone cast-iron vehicles and model trains.
The 800 lots of antiques will be offered at the second session, beginning at 10 a.m. next Friday. They include Victorian and primitive furniture, according to auctioneer Larry Rutt, who says the New Year's Day sale has been going on since 1973.
For information, call 717-354-5095 or go to www.farmersvilleauction.com.
Also on Jan. 2 beginning at 10 a.m. in Pottstown, Maurer's Auctions will sell the automotive items from the collection of Ralph DeStefano at the Maurer & Wilson Gallery at 132 E. Third St. DeStefano is former owner of Pollock (Automotive) Restorations there.
They include a porcelain Firestone sign, porcelain license plates, Corgi Matchbox and other miniature automobiles, and a large quantity of automotive ephemera, notably vintage automotive art, and photographs. The sale also will feature a selection of snap-on tools.
Preview will be 8 a.m. to sale time Jan 2. For information, call 610-970-7588 or go to www.maurerail.com.