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Silver's golden
Eleven choice lots of colonial silver are on the block at Sotheby's on Jan. 19. This collection of church silver, which is expected to fetch $900,000-$1.3 million, could not be more revered. The bowls and wine cups come from the Church of the Presidents in Quincy, Mass., so called because both John Adams and John Quincy Adams are buried there. They are bound to attract feverish bidding.

Why the fuss over such hollow ware? Americana silver was made in small quantities and little has survived. Lot 253, the Joanna Yorke cup (pictured here), dates from 1685 and carries an estimate of $250,000-$350,000.