Auctions | October 24, 2016

Grover Cleveland Letter to Queen Victoria a Highlight of Stephenson's Oct. 28 Auction of Books, Art & Ephemera

2.pngSOUTHAMPTON, Pa. - Stephenson’s Auctioneers in suburban Philadelphia will host a full day of excellent buying opportunities at their Southampton gallery on Friday, Oct. 28. The company’s three-session auction event will be wall-to-wall with exceptional estate antiques and art; antiquarian books, ephemera and maps; and fine jewelry, as well as the widely varied shop contents of Verde Antiques of Manahawkin, New Jersey. All items from Verde Antiques will be offered without reserve and will sell to the highest bidder, regardless of the bid amount.

More than 1,000 lots will cross the auction block. Selling will begin at 11 a.m. with a 125-lot selection of books and ephemera. One of the top historical highlights is a letter from President Grover Cleveland to Queen Victoria, congratulating the British monarch on the 50th anniversary of her accession to the Throne of Great Britain. It is estimated at $1,500-$3,000. Books of interest include a two-volume set titled Historical & Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania.

Two maps, in particular, command special attention. A hand-colored circa-1660 framed map of China and Korea titled Imperii Sinarum Nova Descriptio measures 18 by 20 inches. Created by mapmaker Auctore Joh van Loon and likely taken from an atlas, it is expected to make $500-$700. Another cartographic highlight is a circa-1636 to 1642 framed map depicting the course of the Danube River from its sources in the Alps to the Black Sea. Drawn and hand-colored by mapmaker J. Jansson, the 16½ by 38-inch map - also possibly extracted from an atlas - is entered in the auction with a $400-$600 estimate.

The 11 a.m. session also includes a collection of daguerreotypes and ambrotypes. Invented in 1839, daguerreotypes were created through a process that exposed iodine-sensitized, silvered plate to mercury vapor. Both daguerreotypes and ambrotypes - which are positive photographs on glass made via the wet-plate collodion process - are increasingly sought after by collectors of photographica. The grouping in Stephenson’s sale includes images of adults, children, and an especially desirable picture of a 19th-century fireman posing in his uniform and hat.

Starting at 1 p.m., Stephenson’s owner and principal auctioneer, Cindy Stephenson, will open the bidding on shop inventory from Verde Antiques. There will be a broad selection of glassware and china, plus jewelry and duck decoys. Among the artworks are a collection of oils from North Carolina artist William E. Lee, oil paintings by David Hahn, and an oil-on-canvas by Joseph Grossman. Several pieces of furniture will be offered, as well as several industrial carts of the type that appeal to interior designers and fans of the midcentury modern look.

“Verde Antiques was a browser’s delight. You never knew what you’d find when you stopped in to look around,” said Stephenson. “Both collectors and dealers will be able to buy very well at this auction, since every item from Verde Antiques is being sold without reserve. There are sure to be some bargains.”

Following the Verde Antiques selection, general antiques will take the spotlight. Furniture, artworks and a choice array of jewelry and smalls are among the mix. As is always the case at Stephenson’s auctions, the goods have been sourced primarily from Philadelphia-area estates and homes in upscale neighborhoods. Note: Bidding in the General Antiques session will be available only to those who are present in the gallery or on the phones. 

Stephenson’s Friday, Oct. 28, 2016 Three-Session Auction Series will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. The pre-auction inspection will be held at Stephenson’s gallery on Thursday, Oct. 27 from 4-6 p.m., and also on auction day, Oct. 28, from 10-11 a.m. The gallery is located in suburban Philadelphia at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton, PA 18966, with ample, free off-street parking.

All forms of bidding will be available for Sessions 1 (Books & Ephemera) and 2 (Contents of Verde Antiques), including live online through LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable, AuctionZip and eBay Auctions.

For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail View the online catalog and bid absentee or live as the sale is taking place at

Image: Handwritten letter from President Grover Cleveland to Queen Victoria, congratulating her on her 50th year as British monarch. Courtesy of Stephenson’s Auctioneers.