While auctions usually strike fear into the hearts of ordinary home enthusiasts, Stephan Welz and Co. believe there’s no reason to be afraid. The South African auctioneers of decorative and fine arts blame movies and television for painting false pictures of auctions – portraying them as the exclusive domain of the wealthy with intimidating rules. They assure us at House & Leisure that today’s auctions are, in actual fact, just as accessible as they are treasure troves of beautiful art, jewellery, furniture and cars. The established auctioneers take pride in their ability to cater for both new and experienced collectors. ‘Our auctions offer something for everyone, whether you are furnishing your first home, looking for a special piece of jewellery, or wanting to invest in a fine painting,’ says Anton Welz. Anton is the grandson of Jean Welz, one of South Africa’s 20th Century master painters and nephew of seasoned auctioneer Stephan Welz. He continues: ‘And while we are strictly professional in our auctions, we are relaxed and informal in the office, with no airs or graces.’ Anton encourages those who’ve been apprehensive about attending an auction to get over their fears by educating themselves. He recommends finding an item that you like, searching through galleries and dealers to ascertain its value, and tracking prices by following the results of auctions online. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Anton says you should know your ceiling price before you bid and stick to it. Still have questions or reservations? Anton says you can always turn to the Stephan Welz & Co. team. Specialists in furniture, jewellery, fine art, ceramics and silver, the team is available to answer any question about an item’s value or significance, ‘no matter how silly you might think your question is,’ says Anton. He says they are also more than happy to explain the auction process at their auction previews. Stephan Welz & Co. will be hosting an auction from 19-21 November, 2012, at 13 Biermann Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg. Pre-auction viewing is open to the public at no charge from 16-18 November, 10am to 5pm daily. For more information call 011-880-3125, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit stephanwelzandco.co.za.