SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine

Majestic Diamonds

queenelizabethThe Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year has put the spotlight firmly on the pomp and ceremony of the Royal family and in keeping with the ‘diamond’ theme of the Jubilee, we look at the ‘diamonds’ that form part of the Royal Collection. The diamond and jewellery collection of Queen Elizabeth II is by far one of the greatest collections in the world. Many people have witnessed two Diamond Jubilees but for many of us this is our first. The Collector magazine looks at the magnificent Royal diamond collection and in particular looks at the South African connection to the present collection both in terms of not only the largest diamonds but also the most flawless in the collection.

Remembering Diana and her Legacy

collector-dianaWith every passing event that puts the spotlight on Diana's two sons William and Harry – whether it was the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, Prince Harry working with children in Lesotho or more recently the birth of little Prince George, we remember their mother Diana with fondness and a touch of sadness for a life taken in her prime.

For so many of us, Diana had become the jewel shining radiantly in our lives. As she said quite often "All the jewels in the world could not shine if you as a person did not shine." And shine she did – as only Diana could. We all remember the famous wedding - a fairy tale that unfolded before our eyes as Diana emerged from the Royal carriage looking every inch the fairytale princess. There was a vulnerability in the young 19 year old who was thrust into the limelight and had to endure the glare of the world as she tried so valiantly to fit into her 'royal' role.

Collecting Card Cases

cardcase2In the day of genteel manners and formal introductions, the exchange of calling cards was a social custom that was essential in developing friendships. The custom of carrying calling or visiting cards began in France in the early 1800’s. It quickly spread throughout Europe, and then became vastly popular in the United States, especially the New England area from 1840-1900.

Calling cards were carried primarily by the “well-to-do” ladies who made a point to go calling on friends and family on a specified day of the week or month, depending on their location and proximity to neighbors.

Meissen Porcelain

Meissen vaseSecrecy. Deceit. Imprisonment. The stuff of spy thrillers and international intrigue. True. But they are also words that can be used to describe the early discovery and development of porcelain in Europe.

These beautiful and delicate icons that adorn our homes were once the objects of ferocious competition and the precious prizes coveted by kings. Today, avid collectors share the passion for porcelain and are no less voracious in their appetite for rare and beautiful examples.

The name Meissen is synonymous with handcrafted porcelain of exceptional quality. This porcelain, known as “white gold” in Germany, has captivated people for centuries. Today Meissen Porcelain Manufactory is famous around the world for its luxury tableware, limited art works and craftsmanship of the highest quality. Besides its popular tableware, the company produces limited art editions, interior design concepts, ornaments, jewellery and products to create your own individual world for living. Traditional as well as modern, partly contemporary, aesthetics find new expression in Meissen Porcelain.

THREADS OF SILK AND GOLD - The enigmatic Kimono

kimonoI have had a lifelong fascination with Asian textiles, especially kimono and obi and have, admittedly, long ago crossed the fine line between collecting and hoarding. Textiles and costume are fascinating and virtually inexhaustible fields of study.

Think of Japan and a few images immediately come to mind – cherry blossoms, samurai, kimono and sushi. Kimono literally means ‘thing to wear’ and includes a vast range of garments of various descriptions. A kimono is never just a thing to wear. It is a personal statement replete with clues about the wearer’s status, education, interests and understanding of this most recognisable form of national dress.

Up until the beginning of the Meiji era, silk was only worn by the upper classes. The poor had to make do with various bast fibres and cotton. Sumptuary laws regulated who could wear what, but they were more often than not flouted or ignored by those with the means to do so.

Coco Chanel

cocoOfficial records show that her mother, Eugénie, gave birth to Gabrielle on 19 August 1883 in the poorhouse in Saumur, a market town on the river Loire.
Eugénie (known as Jeanne) was 20, Chanel’s father Henri-Albert (known as Albert) was 28, and listed as a merchant, on Gabrielle’s birth certificate. They were not yet married but already had one daughter, Julia, born less than a year previously.

Chanel was born into poverty and was taught to sew by the Catholic nuns who raised her from the age of twelve. Gabrielle Bonheur, a nun in the hospice where Chanel was born, was made her godmother, and so, according to Chanel, ‘I was baptised Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel’. Gabrielle she stayed throughout her childhood - Coco was a creation that came later - although she invented a story that is revealing in its untruths: ‘My father used to call me “Little Coco” until something better should come along,’ she told Marcel Haedrich (editor-in-chief of Marie- Claire). ‘He didn’t like [the name] “Gabrielle” at all; it hadn’t been his choice.’ At times Gabrielle declared Coco to be an ‘awful’ name; and yet she was proud of its recognition throughout the world, evidence of her indisputable presence.

Increasing Global Interest in South African Art

saartArt lovers across the globe are vying for the best in local art and recently established Aspire Art Auctions, with its unparalleled expertise, fresh approach to the industry and astonishing results, is confirming the value of the South African art market. Aspire’s inaugural auction, held on 31 October 2016 at The Park on 7 in Hyde Park, set an impressive standard with a sell-through rate of over 75% across a focused 121 lots, totaling R33 733 818 in sales. A packed house, supplemented by a stream of local and international telephone and online bidders, conducted by leading South African art auctioneer, Ruarc Peffers, led to competitive bidding and numerous broken records.

The Expertise of Antique Dealers



Since the formation of the NAADA Association five years ago to conform to the promulgation of the 2nd Hand Goods Act, the fairs that are organized under the auspices of The Collector are all accredited NAADA Association fairs. So, whether you visit the Nelson Mandela Square Antiques Fair on the first Sunday of every month; the Hyde Park Antiques Fair on the last Sunday of every month or the Brooklyn Square Antiques Fair on the first Saturday of every month or the National Antiques Faire at the Sandton Convention Centre, you can rest assured you are dealing with professionals.

The Rupert Museum


In Stellenbosch, a town that offers so much culturally, it takes a lot to stand out. The Rupert Museum, located in the middle of vineyards at the bottom end of Dorp Street, makes a statement both by its stunning design and the art treasures it holds. Completed in 2005 after the late Huberte Rupert briefed architect Hannes Meiring to give shape to her vision of having an art museum to house the family’s considerable collection, this urban gem offers a sense of peace and tranquillity, far removed from the busy surroundings.

Hannes Meiring was asked to create a building that was representative of all Stellenbosch has to offer: Boland architecture embracing the architectural history, the wine industry and the natural beauty of the place. The simple H-shaped building, which is white washed with a grey corrugated iron roof, offers light and space inside.

The Fascination of Celebrity Collections

CELEBRITYYou could say that celebrities collect because they have so much money they don’t know what to do with it. That’s probably true - the clever ones though collect as an investment and have a passion for what they collect. Take the actor Tom Hanks, whose fondness for old typewriters even prompted him to have his own iPad app The Hank Writer which allows users to simulate the typewriter experience on their tablet. Reese Witherspoon collects antique linen and embroidery, Whoopi Goldberg collects Bakelite Jewellery, whilst Dolly Parton and Claudia Schiffer have gone nature’s way – by collecting butterflies and insects. Talk show host Jay Leno has one of the greatest car collections in the world, ranging from rare cars to jet-powered cars and Quenton Tarantino collects board games. Throughout the decades we have seen some impressive celebrity collections going under the hammer.

Danish Modern

danishAs time marches on, antiques become rarer, harder to find and more expensive and becomes the preserve of those who enjoy the opulence of the 18th and 19th Century. Art Deco and Art Nouveau is coming of age and will soon enjoy the title of being ‘antique’ and become highly collectable. But there is another trend in collecting and that is that of the ‘modern’ collectable – pieces from the 1920’s through to the 70’s that are recognised as iconic trends that will most definitely be tomorrow’s collectables.

Danish Modern is one such vintage style associated with the Danish design movement started in the 1920’s by minimalist wood furniture designers such as Kaare Klint who embraced the principles of Bauhaus modernism in furniture design, creating clean, pure lines based on the understanding of classical furniture craftsmanship but using modern materials.

Collectors Love Ice Cream Memorabilia

icecreammakerSummer is around the corner!!! Collectors love ice cream-related memorabilia. Ice cream dippers, scoops, molds, serving dishes, and soda fountain and ice cream advertising items are all cool collectibles.

But here’s the scoop on cones. The ice cream cone was invented in 1896 by Italo Marchiony, an ice cream pushcart vendor in New York City. He wanted to stop customers from stealing his serving dishes. In 1903, he patented a special mold for waffle cups with sloping sides.


marieIt was the biggest scandal at the court of Louis XVI in the late summer of 1785 that discredited the French monarchy on the eve of the French Revolution.

The diamond necklace at the centre of this affair was made by Parisian jewellers Boehmer and Bassenge and contained 647 flawless diamonds, some of several carats each – totaling 2 800 carats in weight!

It was originally commissioned by Louis XV for his mistress, Madame du Barry – however the king died a year later, long before the necklace was completed. The jewellers hoped that the new king, Louis XVI, might agree to buy the necklace for Marie Antoinette. Such was the size of the necklace that gathering the diamonds to assemble it almost bankrupted its creators.

The legacy of Irma Stern

irmaThe Irma Stern Museum

The Museum, established in 1971, is governed by the University of Cape Town and the Irma Stern Trust. It aims to promote an understanding and appreciation of the life, work and travels of Irma Stern, a major South African artist, by displaying a collection of her art and artifacts in the domestic setting of her home. The collection shows Irma Stern’s development as an artist, who worked as a painter, sculptor and ceramist. Her life-long interest in depicting people is evident in the predominance of portraits and exotic figures interspersed with lush landscapes and vibrant still life’s.

Her two illustrated journals published of travels undertaken in Zanzibar and the Congo vividly convey her experiences, while the private writings in German kept during the period (1917- 1933) were translated into English and published posthumously; provide another insight into her personality.

Automobilia Mascots


Some people go to car events and take lots of pictures of the cars on display; others seem less interested in the actual cars but contort themselves up and down, or side to side, in order to take a picture of a car mascot. But back in the 1920s and ‘30s, it was not the famous badges of these revered cars which the powerful and rich of France wanted to display, it was the actual cars themselves!

According to the author of A History of Cars written for youth, the first “hood ornament” was a sun-crested falcon (to bring good luck) mounted on Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s chariot.


collectingtrends1The more things change, the more they stay the same. Applicable to so much in life and trends, this saying also applies to the world of antiques and collectibles. Whilst what is collected changes, the art and passion of collecting remains a basic human trait. What our grandparents collected might not appeal to young collectors who are looking at more ‘modern’ collectables but underlying this transition in collecting lies the most important thing about antiques – their ‘value’.

This goes beyond the monetary value of a piece to its intrinsic value as a living piece of history and its role in preserving our collective culture. More and more of the younger generation, conscious of global warming and rampant consumerism, are starting to surround themselves with things that have a ‘green’ footprint and have meaning and a story to tell. A Victorian mahogany chest of drawers that has survived more than a century of use and will easily survive for another century, has a carbon footprint 16 times smaller than that of one made today.

Romancing the stone

romancing"Discovering Jewellery is like stepping into a fantasy world filled with thought provoking themes. In Ancient times, wise astrologers observed a connection between astronomy and earthly gemstones, and as a result they assigned these colourful and seemingly magical stones to the heavenly constellations. It is believed wearing a precious stone associated with the specific month you are born in, could enhance your fate or spiritual being. Today, birthstones remain tangible talismans that we all seek out as protectors, healers, karma and to just add some sparkle in our very ordinary lives."

Tilt-top tables

tableTilt top tables have a top which is hinged to a central pedestal in such a way that it can be turned from a horizontal to a vertical position and, thereby, when not in use, take up less space. Originally the idea was applied mainly to occasional (e.g., light, movable) tables of the kind used for tea and similar occasions.

By the 19th century, elaborate tilting devices were used so that quite large, circular dining tables could be made to tilt and, when not in use, could be placed against the wall.

These style of tables were fashionable in England shortly after the Revolutionary War and soon were viewed as the ideal table in America as well. Tables from this period are rare and now found mostly in museums or in private hands.


polar2The principals of Phat, Wessels and de Bod, take their business very personally. It is a direct extension of who they are as individuals. They say that if you do something you love you will never work a day in your life. The two principals come across as two of the busiest people you could hope to meet but they create a unique alchemy that makes work feel like fun. As individuals they couldn’t be more different. Like all great teams they both have singular skills and passions that they bring to their business. Passion is an overworked word but you can feel it when it’s there. It can’t be feigned. It’s like the electricity and tension you can feel in the air before a Highveld thunderstorm. You’ll feel it the moment you step through the front doors of Phat.

Successful business people find ways to channel the passions and interests of their personal lives into their business.

NAADA 2017

naadaGetting bitten by the Collecting bug

“Collecting art and antiques means you can fill your life with huge joy and every day you can admire your collection. Not only that but collecting can offer you great financial returns and the tangible enjoyment of admiring your collection.”

Antique dealer Clyde Terry, owner of Clyde on 4th Antiques in Melville and the owner of all the Gauteng antique fairs shares his insights of the trade after a life-time as a dealer in South Africa.

“It is always a special feeling when I walk into a house full of art and antiques; I am always awestruck by something in the collection. It is at this moment that I remind myself why I love what I do and why I love to inspire people to collect. Over the years I have changed so much as an antiques dealer and I have learnt to appreciate the beauty in every collection I have been involved in.

Rare Nutmeg Graters

gratersOne only needs to delve briefly into the history of Nutmeg to appreciate why this spice was held in such high regard that it deserved containers of silver and sometimes even gold. The Dutch, whose economic and commercial empire was growing continuously, had no qualms about seizing the nutmeg monopoly by pushing back Portuguese domination in 1605. To hold on to this monopoly the Dutch focused their cultivation on the two little islands of Ternate and Tidore, near the largest Maluku island. Trees were uprooted, growth pulled out and every other plant from the archipelago cleared, leaving only an easily defended surface area to be controlled. When Napoleon occupied Holland and her colonies, England occupied the East Indian Islands and nutmegs were sent to British colonies of Ceylon and Malacca, other East Indian islands and then to the Caribbean. Nonetheless, the Dutch would hold onto their monopoly until the Second World War despite efforts of the English and French.


loetzglassIn 1879, Susanne transferred the company to Maximilian von Spaun, the son of her daughter Karoline. One year later, von Spaun hired Eduard Prochaska and the two of them modernized the factory and introduced new, patented techniques and processes, transforming the glassworks into one of the foremost art glass manufacturers during the Art Nouveau period at the turn of the twentieth century. Loetz Glass throughout its history has been characterized by a number of historical periods that have shaped the style and build of the their products.



Exciting innovations in Historicism glass, included Intarsia and Octopus glass and the very popular marbled ‘marmorisierte a glass which imitated semi-precious stones like red chalcedony, onyx and malachite. Success at exhibitions in Brussels, Munich, and Vienna were crowned by awards at the Paris World’s Exposition in 1889.

The Magic of Music Box Collecting

musicbox“If music is the food of love... play on”, Shakespeare, Twelfth Night.

Music is as fundamental to man as breathing and finding out ways to capture those musical notes for posterity has been one of man’s most intense quests. Whilst instruments have been around for centuries, recording them was the challenge and the music box was the first step in discovering how to capture music to give lasting pleasure.

Who would have thought that it was the habit of carrying snuff around that would be the catalyst for the invention of the music box? With the popularity of sniffing snuff came a wide variety of snuff boxes – first simply boxed, then more elaborately decorated ones to eventually one invented in the 18th Century and called ‘carillons musique’. Based on the simple placement of pins in a pattern that produced various musical notes, the musical box soon became the rage with interchangeable cyclinders that produced a variety of tunes. Soon everyone wanted to have music emanating from a variety of boxes and so musical boxes became the accessory de rigueur.


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