Auctions are the way forward in 2018
I am a bit of a collector, so auctions revert me to a childlike state. Like a kid in a candy store, I’m faced with two scenarios: exert some self-control or end up broke with diabetes. If you are even vaguely interested in art, antiques or furniture then auctions are for you. They’re particularly great for buying pieces that you might not even come across in shops, at really good prices. In fact, I believe that auctions are the way forward in 2018.
Of course, the price you end up paying for something depends entirely on the state of your nerves – and how badly other people in the room want the same item. But that just adds to the general excitement. And before you get completely carried away, remember that you also have to pay a commission (generally around 15%, but it varies) as well as VAT on the commission, so the price on the hammer is not the full price you’ll be paying.
If you’re an auction virgin, Russell Kaplan is a good place to start your journey. It’s a non-threatening environment with friendly, helpful staff and there’s generally some good stuff on offer, particularly in the crockery, cutlery, glass, jewellery, lighting and furniture departments. Then there’s Old Johannesburg Warehouse auctioneers in Selby, run by Christiaan Scholtz, who used to have the Ossewa antique shop in Melville. The best part is that because it is still fairly unknown, you can walk away with some seriously good bargains.
Other good auction houses include Strauss & Co., Stephan Welz, Bernardi’s in Pretoria and new kids on the block Aspire who specialise in contemporary art. Most of these guys also do online auctions, so if the thought of putting your hand up in a crowded room freaks you out, that might be a good alternative. All of them have good websites where you can download a catalogue and check the dates for upcoming auctions. Be warned, it’s addictive.