If you are new to the auction world and are wondering how it all works check out our beginner's guide to buying at auction and if you want to know more about the best auction houses to head to in Joburg, and when, read on.
BEST FOR FINE ART: STRAUSS & CO
South Africa’s leading auction house Strauss & Co is not only one of Africa’s biggest, it is an institution that alongside the sale of art, has also dedicated itself to the promotion and preservation of South Africa’s extraordinary art history. As well as a number of major live auctions throughout the year in Joburg and Cape Town the auction house also presents a regular programme of art talks and discussions, valuation days and open days. Open days are lively social events with thought-provoking presentations by Strauss & Co's expert team about South African art, often with an original angle bringing together thematic collections of art.
Strauss & Co’s huge live auctions are eagerly anticipated events with incredible works by major historic artists – like JH Pierneef, Alexis Preller, Irma Stern and Gerard Sekoto – prompting fierce bidding wars, and bold works by leading local contemporary artists such as William Kentridge breaking records. Works by top international artists also frequently come up for sale.
Strauss & Co’s auctions aren’t only for the high rollers. The auction house also presents regular online auctions where you can register and bid for hundreds of contemporary and historic artworks at prices that start from as low as R1,500. For the auction newbie, these innovative auctions are a great way to get a feel for buying works at auction for the first time with plenty of time to browse and read up on the artists before you submit your bid. For art lovers Strauss & Co's glossy auction catalogues have their own collectable status as documents of South Africa's rich art history.
BEST FOR UNUSUAL ANTIQUES: RUSSELL KAPLAN AUCTIONEERS
Russell Kaplan Auctioneers' regular live auctions are held every six weeks and attract treasure hunters, interior decorators and art curators alike. Auctions include a General Household Goods Sale and Art and Antiques Auction with an always impressive selection of rare pieces, vintage jewellery, glassware and furniture. Look out for the open days at the Randburg showroom, a glittering Aladdin’s cave of covetable items.
BEST FOR RARE BOOKS: JAMES FINDLAY COLLECTABLE BOOKS & ANTIQUE MAPS
In the business of buying and selling rare books for over two decades, James Findlay is one of South Africa’s foremost book collectors. Findlay has a bookshop in the basement of the historic Rand Club in downtown Joburg, a suitably historic location for an extraordinary collection. He also presents regular online auctions through his website jellyfishtree.com where you can bid on an array of rare books, and organises the quarterly Joburg Collectable Book Faire at the Rand Club with a dozen different dealers selling a feast of memorabilia and collectables.
AUTUMN AUCTION CALENDARSat Feb 16 | Strauss & Co Contemporary Art Live Auction (Cape Town)
Sat Feb 16 | Russell Kaplan Art & Antiques Live Auction (Joburg)
Fri Feb 25 – Mon Mar 4 | Strauss & Co Online Auction
Mon Apr 1 – Mon Apr 8 | Strauss & Co Online Auction