Auspicious Chinese vase signals longevity of the auction industry

Rising to the challenges of conducting a live virtual auction, Stephan Welz & Co successfully concluded their two day sale on August 5th from their Cape Town rooms.

Whilst yielding solid result across all departments Decorative Arts proved particularly robust generating R 3 663 050 against a pre-sale low estimate of R 993 200.

The saleroom erupted with applause when auctioneer Anton Welz brought the gavel down on Lot 889, A Chinese Famille Rose ‘Crane and Deer’ vase selling for R 2 000 000 hammer.  Fierce internet bidding opened the nine minute bidding war which culminated in a room and telephone bidder vying for the lot.

Dating towards the end of the Republic period renders the vase fairly ‘modern’ in Chinese terms, but the superb craftsmanship and symbolism contributed to the success of the covetable object.

Painted in Imperial style with deer and cranes within a verdant landscape beside a large pine tree conveys messages of longevity and wealth.  The crane and deer pattern is a further rebus relating to the “Six Harmonies” referring to the six Buddhist ordinances “harmonies of heaven, earth, north, south, east and west”

An eclectic mix of rare items further bolstered the sale with a Russian Icon and an alabaster Burmese Buddha selling at R63 855 each, while a gilt bronze Tibetan statuette achieved R98 685.



The Stephan Welz & Co fine arts department is well known for securing unique prints and multiples and offered a rare etching by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch which sold for R60 372.



A magnificent pair of late 18th Century diamond pendant earrings crowned the jewellery session when the hammer fell at R130 000.

Niche departments such as Books and Maps, African Art and Military produced solid results selling two manuscript maps for R116 100 each, a Zulu staff for R40 635 and a 1952 van Riebeeck Decoration at R11 610.

Silver generated an 88% sell through with a Victorian silver tea service achieving R87 075 against a low estimate of R35 000.

Progressive thinking saw the introduction of a luxury vintage fashion and design department with a Chanel Kelly bag selling as the top lot at R44 118.

Stephan Welz & Co is currently consigning for their November 2020 Cape Town auction, please contact their specialists for an obligation-free valuation.

Cape Town: Email – Telephone:+ 27 21 794 6461

Johannesburg: Email – Telephone: + 27 11 880 3125