SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine
Praise be! Bob, 85, defies death threats from Satanists to return derelict church to its former glory

BobwebIt has been struck by a German bomb, torn apart by American GIs and left in squalor by a pagan cult.
So when the ruins of an ancient church were discovered in thick woodland by Bob Davey, he could have been forgiven for thinking its fate had already been sealed.
Instead, the determined church warden used his retirement to embark on a 22-year crusade to return the dilapidated building to its former glory – despite receiving a death threat from the cult.

But even he was surprised when his noble DIY effort threw up an unexpected gift, unearthing ancient paintings inside its ivy-covered walls.

The images depict the Holy Trinity and the Last Judgment and are thought to have been created in 1090, soon after the Norman Conquest.
Believed to be the oldest wall paintings in Britain, they have seen the tiny church become an international tourist attraction. They have even earned Mr Davey, 85, an MBE after Prince Charles made several visits to the church.
Mr Davey heard about the tower in 1992 when his late wife Gloria came across it on a ramble near Houghton-on-the-Hill, Norfolk, with her WI group.

The real Lives of Others: German tourists relive the Communist East by spending a night in a Stasi bunker - with 'basic training' and authentic military rations (but they escape to a sauna at the end)

Stasi-BunkerGermans have just marked 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, but it seems some can't resist reliving the 'bad old days' of Communism.
Deep in the forests of former East Germany they are spending the night in an authentic Stasi bunker - complete with military uniforms, rations and formal training for a Cold War chemical attack.
Teenagers not yet born when the wall fell are among those signing up for the 14-hour tour at the Bunkermuseum Frauenwald, a 38,750 sq ft underground complex which once had enough supplies to last 130 occupants up to a year.Hidden in the woods near the city of Suhl, it was one of at least 15 similar bunkers meant to serve as command and administrative centres in case of war.
The airtight bunker - whose twin access staircases were concealed inside a warehouse - had decontamination units and oxygen tanks in case of a chemical weapons attack in the world outside.
It also had cooking facilities, bedrooms, a dining room, its own power supply and a command centre which used telegraph wires and a radio transmitter to keep up contact with the outside world.



Members of the public who think they have something of value in the way of antiques and collectables – from jewellery to furs; from silver to glassware; from coins to porcelain; from collectable art to Chinese antiques – can bring their treasures along to the Antiques Fair on Sunday 5th October and specialists in a variety of collecting fields will be happy to give a free valuation.

Says Clyde Terry, organizer of the Fair, “It is amazing what people have hidden away in their cupboards – often antiques that were handed down from generation to generation, with often huge historical value and which could be worth quite a bit. Generally, antique dealers charge to evaluate an item, but at the Nelson Mandela Square Antiques Fair our group of dealers who are all members of the NAADA Association of antique & collectable dealers, are happy to give an evaluation for FREE this Sunday 5th October from 9.30am to 4pm.”

The Secret to why People collect

collecting1A recent shopper who stumbled across the Antiques Fair at Nelson Mandela Square came to the information table and asked us, “what is it that these collectors know that I should also know” as she marvelled at all the people totally absorbed in browsing the over 60 tables at the Faire.

An interesting question and one that people all over the world are asking ... what makes antique collecting so desirable? Online site called antiques the ‘eye candy of investments” which is a very apt description. Unlike other investments – like stocks and bonds which are all about numbers – antiques are about heritage, beauty, craftsmanship – and ultimately about investments. The other intriguing aspect to collecting has to do with the search... the find... the discovery .... and hopefully the windfall that could make you some money!

Dambusters together again: World's last two airworthy Lancaster Bombers called Thumper and Vera fly over site where famous raid was practiced as a tribute to crews killed in Second World War

DambustersThe aircraft swooped over the Derwent Dam in Derbyshire three times this afternoon on return flight to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire as part of the Southport Air Show.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's bomber Thumper, based at Lincolnshire, was joined by Canadian Lancaster Vera from a museum in Ontario for the demonstration in the Peak District.

Thousands of aviation enthusiasts watched as the Bombers paid tribute to Dambusters crew members who practised in the same area in 1943 at 4pm today.

Derwent Dam was where Wing Commander Guy Gibson trained his squadron for their historic nocturnal assaults on the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe dams - all crucial to Hitler’s industrial heartland in the Ruhr Valley.

Gibson’s force had to fly across occupied Europe at night, so low that some were killed by power lines, and drop untried bouncing bombs – with unprecedented accuracy – in full view of the enemy’s guns.

Marble statues, chandeliers, walls lined with gold - and stacks of jokes: Inside Joan Rivers's opulent New York apartment 'where Marie Antoinette would have lived if she had the money'

joanriversA dazzling gem of old-school showbusiness, it seems only right that her living room ceilings scaled 30ft-high, and velvet drapes framed the vast windows.

The 5,000-square-foot penthouse is held up by gold pillars.

And in every corner of the opulent New York apartment sit stacks of index cards with jokes spanning her entire career.

The comedienne, who died last week at the age of 81, once described the Upper East Side condo as 'where Marie Antoinette would have lived if she had the money'.

The limestone mansion was built in 1910 for society figure John R Drexel and his socialite wife.

In 1959, it welcomed Ernest Hemingway as a tenant in one of the one-bedroom apartments. He installed a study and hoped to write but found they city too oppressive and soon left.

Signed Hitler photo's £18,000 price tag: 1925 portrait salvaged from dictator's Berlin bunker set to go up for auction

HitlerA signed photograph of Adolf Hitler that was salvaged from the ruins of his Berlin bunker in the final days of World War Two has emerged for sale for £18,000.

The portrait was found among the rubble by late British newspaperman William Forrest, the first war correspondent at the scene days after the Fuhrer and his mistress Eva Braun committed suicide in 1945.

The photo of Hitler was taken in 1929 after his release from prison where he served five years for high treason for an attempted government coup in Bavaria.

It is thought the 16ins tall picture was on display in the bunker as a reminder of his perceived struggle.

The Elvis Ginger Knew...

ElvisandGinger‘I’m going into the bathroom to read.' 

Those were the words Elvis Presley uttered to his fiancée Ginger Alden in the early morning hours of August 16, 1977 at his Memphis mansion, Graceland. And they were the last words he would ever speak.

The King couldn't fall asleep and he didn't want to disturb the beauty queen who was about to become his wife.

‘Okay, but don’t fall asleep,’ she responded, fearing he would zone out while sitting on the john. She  went to bed, leaving his reading light on for him when he returned.

When Alden woke up hours later at 2 pm and noticed Elvis' reading light still on, she knocked on the bathroom door, called his name and opened the door. ‘That’s when I saw him in there’.

Rare and Unseen Movie Posters, The Next Hot Collectible?

JohnAlvinPosterThese are the movie posters that never graced bedroom walls for some of the biggest films like E.T, Jurassic Park, The Goonies, Star Trek VI, Cape Fear and Batman.

They are the work of late artist and painter John Alvin who worked on more than 100 films as Hollywood's go-to guy for conveying the magic of cinema as an eye-catching poster.

His first was the 1974 Mel Brook's comedy Blazing Saddles and he worked for major studios like Universal, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox. But perhaps his best-known work is the spell-binding posters that accompanied Steven Spielberg's huge summer blockbusters, like E.T, Cocoon and Jurassic Park.

Flower Power

flowerChintz China, with its floral designs, conjures up visions of genteel tea-parties, complete with cucumber sandwiches and cream scones. This delicate china, called ‘chintz’ after the word ‘chintes’ - an Indian word originally for cotton fabric decorated with florals in vibrant colours – was all the rage in the Edwardian era when the art of dining meant bringing out the best china and a love of nature inspired the use of flowers in decor.

The Second World War forced many ceramic factories to suspend production and, although production resumed, the popularity of chintz seemed to fade as people looked to more modern designs in décor, turning to Scandinavian design, new materials such as plastic and influenced by a more abstract art trend. But, true to its cyclical nature, chintz china collecting has come full circle and is once again in demand.

In an attempt to emulate the ‘chintz’ trend, many contemporary companies such as Maxwell Williams came out with colourful floral china. This sparked an interest in collecting the original chintz china and collectors have been scrambling since then to find unique chintz dinnerware and tea set collections or to search for pieces to complete their sets.

Records and Steady sellers

sellersIn the Antiques Trade Gazette of December 2012, editor Ivan Macquisten astutely summarised the state of the South African art market: “Only the best will do... but it will do very nicely”. Indeed, recent sales of South African art suggest buyers are becoming more selective, yet strong showings at Bonhams by J.H. Pierneef (including a new world record for a rare pair of caseins), Irma Stern, Alexis Preller, and Gerard Sekoto continue to reinforce these artists’ pre-eminence in the market for South African art market.

However, new records – coupled with consistently growing values for slightly less prominent artists such as Anton Van Wouw (whose sculpture has increased in value tenfold in the past ten years) – reveal that the market remains dynamic. Bonhams’ October 2012 auction broke several world records, bringing to the fore the abstract compositions of Stanley Pinker (R4.7 million), the sumptuous surfaces of Vladimir Tretchikoff (R4.7 million), and the unique expressionism of self-taught artist Gladys Mgudlandlu (R384,000).


Persian Pleasures of the world



Rolex Mentor

rolexThe Rolex Arts Initiative brings artistic masters from different disciplines together with highly promising young artists for a year of collaboration in a one-toone mentoring relationship

The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, which was created in 2001 embodies Rolex’ long-standing commitment to culture and has for many years supported artists and related institutions around the globe. The Rolex Arts Initiative was launched to encourage creativity and enhance even further the company’s engagement with the arts. In the past decade, it has become one of the world’s most iconic arts programmes – involving an impressive expanding network of leading creators. Like Rolex watchmaking, the Mentor and Protégé programme celebrates and perpetuates the transmission of a craft – in this case, the world’s cultural heritage – to great artists of the future. According to Gian Riccardo Marini, CEO of Rolex SA, “By fostering a dialogue between artists of different generations and nations, Rolex hopes to make an important contribution to the development of the arts and culture, which bring creativity, elegance and lasting values to our lives.”

The Rolex Arts Initiative was established to make a significant contribution to global culture by helping ensure that the world’s artistic heritage is passed on to the next generation. In keeping with its tradition of supporting individual excellence, Rolex seeks to give emerging artists time to learn, create and grow. Since 2002 Rolex has paired mentors and protégés in the fields of dance, film, literature, music, theatre, visual arts and – as of 2012 – architecture, in a unique creative exchange.

Parisian Treasure

parisian1A Parisian apartment left untouched for over 70 years was discovered in the quartier of Pigalle a few summers ago. The property was found near a church in the French capital’s 9th arrondissement, between Pigalles’ red light district and Opera.

Madame de Florian, a socialite and actress, fled her stately abode in Paris just before the rumblings of World War II broke out in Europe. She closed up her shutters and left for the South of France, never to return to the city - ever again.

Seven decades later she passed away at the age of 91. It was only when her heirs enlisted professionals to make an inventory of the Parisian apartment she left behind, that this time capsule was finally unlocked.

Being an actress with a long list of ardent admirers, fervent love letters wrapped neatly in ribbon were still on the premises. Among the admirers was the 72nd prime minister of France, George Clemenceau.

Tiffany & Co.

tiffanyLouis Comfort Tiffany was the son of Charles Tiffany, founder of the Tiffany & Co. jewellery company. Born in 1848, Louis became one of America’s best known businessmen and most talented artists, directed an artistic empire in the design and creation of stunning leaded glass windows and lamps, blown glass vessels, mosaics, and other objects of luxury.

Tiffany began his career as a painter, working under influential artists. In the late 1870s, Tiffany turned his attention to decorative arts and interiors, although he never abandoned painting. His first significant interior design project was for his 1878 top-floor home and studio at the Bella Apartments on 48 East 26th Street in New York City. The leaded-glass window from the entrance hall, one of his earliest windows, illustrates an unconventional use of glass, including experimental opalescent, marbleized, and confetti-type glass, as well as crown glass and rough-cut “jewels.” This glass fashioned a window of strikingly abstract design suggestive of a bold paintbrush stroke.

Tiffany’s father commissioned McKim, Mead & White to construct a picturesque Romanesque Revival multifamily dwelling on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Madison Avenue in New York. Completed in 1885, Louis Tiffany and his family occupied the top two floors. His exotic studio, the site of artistic creations and social gatherings, was a frequently photographed space. A pastel rendering of his second wife, Louise, in a corner of the studio demonstrates Tiffany’s deft hand in this difficult medium as he translated and differentiated various lush fabrics and textures.

By late 1892 or early 1893, Tiffany built a glasshouse in Corona, Queens, New York, and, with Arthur Nash, a skilled glassworker from
Stourbridge, England, his furnaces developed a method whereby different colours were blended together in the molten state, achieving subtle effects of shading and texture. Recalling the Old English word fabrile (hand-wrought), Tiffany named the blown glass from his furnaces Favrile, a trademark that signified glass of hand-made and unique quality.

The Value of a Signature

storyOlive Schreiner’s conversational guide.

What would “A Tourist’s Conversational Guide” in French, German and Italian, published in 1912 be worth today? R50 perhaps? More realistically, would there even be a buyer for a publication with such limited appeal? Bear in mind that there would have been millions of copies printed in the first place. Therefore, these travel booklets can hardly be classified as scarce. Sadly, its current value probably lies more in its pulping potential.

But hold on a moment. What if the softcover booklet belonged to Olive Schreiner (1855–1920), celebrated author of the 19th-century South African classic, “The Story of an African Farm”? What would its value be then? “James Findlay from JellyFishTree explains”: Provenance is a very important aspect when determining the value of an item. So, when one sees such a hallowed South African literary figure’s name inscribed in her own hand into what was once her own travel guide, this feature becomes of instant interest to serious Africana collectors. Essentially, one is paying for the autograph value of Olive Schreiner’s signature. But it’s more than that. The guide is dog-eared and amateurishly repaired with Sellotape, which leads one to think that this guide came into good use by the writer on her travels to foreign countries.

Another clue in support of this notion is that she added, in her own hand, her home address at the time: 30 St Mary Abbotts Terrace, Kensington, London, England. In 1911, Schreiner left South Africa for England, where she was to receive medical treatment for her attacks of angina. Due to the outbreak of the First World War, she remained in London until 1919. It must have been at this time that she bought the conversational guide. Schreiner lived in England and various European cities during those seven exiled years. She died shortly after returning to the Cape in 1920. During her time in England, Schreiner wrote about pacifism and women’s rights, corresponding with great intellectual allies, like Mahatma Gandhi and Emily Hobhouse. Ever since the publication of “The Story of an African Farm” in 1883, Schreiner has been considered one of South Africa’s most influential writers. Most of her manuscript material is held in museums and other institutional collections. Very little signed material is available on the open market. This personally inscribed booklet will be on sale at the next Collectable Book Fair for R4 500.

Come Dine With Me - In Style

Much of our entertaining is done around food and a table - thus making the dining room an important space in our homes.

During the pre-revolutionary era most houses were very small in comparison to today’s standards. The typical first floor plan of an individual’s home consisted of two principal rooms – the parlour and the hall, divided by only an entrance or a stair hall. In a Colonial home, the parlour was the finest room of them all. This is where you received your guests and entertained them. These rooms were furnished with the very best and would have typically included large sets of chairs, card and tea tables, gilt mirrors and a clock – which was the single most valuable piece in those times. The question on your lips might be – then where did the family and their guests dine in such houses? Literally in any room – it would depend on various factors such as the weather, amount of guests, the occasion, importance of the guest, the sex etc.. 

The earliest surviving type of dining table is the trestle table used in the Middle Ages. Since the top was made from long wooden planks resting on trestles, such antique dining tables could be dismantled and moved to the side of the hall when space was needed for other activities.

By the mid-16th century, however, it had become more common for the master and his family to eat in a separate room, and more permanent tables evolved. The term refectory table has been applied to these early “solid” tables since the 19th century. Styles varied, but such tables were popular all over Europe. 

In the mid-17th century antique gate-leg dining tables, which had flaps that could be folded down when the table was not in use became popular for dining. Initially, these tables were often quite large - up to 8 feet in diameter - but as time went by and it became fashionable to use several small tables rather than one large one, they became smaller.


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.

It was not for nothing that she was known as the "princess of the people" managing to fulfill her role as a royal against great odds whilst all the time determined to be as down-to-earth and accessible as possible and making sure her boys did the same. There is no question she would be so proud of both her sons who have followed in her footsteps and inherited her ability to be both regal and humane. Sixteen years after her tragic death on August 31 1997, when the Mercedes she was travelling in crashed into a concrete wall in a Paris tunnel, "Lady Di" remains an icon in the eyes of millions in the UK and around the world. Looking back at her legacy, it seems she was not only the most endearing member of the royal family, but also a woman who truly brought a refreshing change to Buckingham Palace and to the world's perception of 'royalty'. PRINCESS





Rare Royal Doulton and Wade



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.

The Queen’s collection does not go back many generations, as most of us would assume and, over the decades and with changes to the monarchy, many of the diamonds have been lost and new collections have had to be started to set the monarchy back on track as befits the status of Royalty. The best diamonds in Elizabeth I’s reign were lost to Cardinal Mazarin of France as a result of having been pledged as security for a loan. Sadly the magnificent Golcoconda diamonds, the Mirror of Portugal and the Sancy of James I had to be relinquished. George III was able to give back the sparkle to the British Royal family with new acquisitions - however upon the death of Queen Charlotte in 1818 the collection was once again lost to the Royal family – and this included losing both the Arcot and Hastings diamonds. The monarchy seemed to battle to hold onto its diamond collection and once again after the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838, the King of Hanover contested her inheritance and after a lengthy battle he won the case and so once again the Royal collection was lost and Queen Victoria had to start her own Royal Collection.

During Queen Victoria’s reign she was given many generous gifts including the 186 carat diamond the Mountain Of Light which was set into the Coronation Crown of Queen Elizabeth in 1937 and is now on show at the Tower of London. The Imperial State Crown was originally made for the Coronation of George VI in 1937 and was reduced in height for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. When Cullinan II was added to the front, the Stuart Sapphire was moved to the back of the crown. The Sovereign’s Sceptre was set with Cullinan I in 1911 and represents temporal royal authority in the service of God. The Imperial Crown and Sceptre are set with the largest and most flawless diamonds in the Royal Collection - both taken from the Star of Africa given to Edward VII by the Union of South Africa in 1907.

The Queen has a vast collection of tiaras - one of which was adapted from a necklace made for Queen Adelaide and the other was bequeathed to her by Queen Alexander. The Queen’s Coronation necklace comprises 25 cushion–cut diamonds with the Lahore Diamond pendant in the centre which was once attached to the Timur Ruby necklace. The Coronation earrings consist of two diamonds that were removed in 1858 from the Kôh-i-nûr and attached to two circular cut diamonds. One of the Queen’s favourite tiaras is the Queen Mary Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara, which can be seen on coinage and bank notes. tiaraThis was given to Queen Elizabeth by her mother on her marriage.

Right: The Queen’s favourite tiara- ”Girls of Great Britain & Ireland tiara” made in 1893. Diamond festoon-and-scroll design surmounted by 9 large oriental pearls on diamond spikes designed by Garrard.

Melville, Linden and Greymont Meander



japaneseantiqueFamily find £6.3 million Japanese antique at home

Courtesy: Radhika Sanghani and Agencies Source: &

A family have been turned into millionaires after their ‘TV stand’ proved to be worth £6.3 million. The wooden chest, which was being used as a TV stand and drinks cabinet, was a Japanese antique worth millions.

When a French engineer passed away, his family decided to put his items on auction. It turned out that a 5-feet wooden chest the engineer bought for only 130 dollars in 1970 at a private sale and used as a TV stand, was actually worth millions. At the auction, the Japanese antique chest was bought by the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam for around 8 million dollars.

The French engineer’s acquisition of the chest began when a Polish doctor, who was oblivious of the wooden chest’s real value, sold the antique to the engineer for only 130 dollars in London in 1970. The chest, crafted from cedar wood and intricately designed with gold lacquer, was made by Kaomi Nagashige, a master artisan from Kyoto in 1640. “The French engineer, thinking the chest to be of little value, used it as a TV stand.” said Menno Fitski, curator of the Rijksmuseum. “He also kept his drinks collection inside it,” he added. The container, made of cedar wood and gold lacquer, was identified as a lost Japanese chest dating back to 1640.

Fitski says this has to be one of the bargains of the century. Even the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has been searching for the 300-year old chest, believed to be one of only ten existing in the world, since 1941. “The thing to note about this chest is that it is the best of the best. It was the best when it was made and the same still applies today.” said Fitski. The wooden chest is said to have been made on commission for the Dutch East India Company.


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