A Collector’s Cornucopia: Furniture, Ceramics & Silver at Strauss & Co


Strauss & Co, South Africa’s leading auction house, is delighted to unveil a cornucopia of collectables, and period furniture in its forthcoming March 2024 online Decorative Arts sale. The auction, which includes a selection of visiting card cases from the collection of British collector and businessman Richard J Stanes’, opens on Monday, 18th March at 8:00 AM.

Strauss & Co specialists have selected each item for its craftsmanship and appeal to collectors. The selection includes a variety of pieces from different countries, styles, and periods, offering prospective buyers a varied selection of furniture, ceramics, and silver at inviting entry bids,” explains Jill van Dugteren, Decorative Arts Coordinator at Strauss & Co.

Among the highlights are Rococo-style and Napoleonic-era furniture, Georgian silverware, a lavish Versace dinner service and Chinese and Japanese ceramics

Visiting Card Collection

The auction includes 20 lots of visiting card cases from the collection of Richard J. Stanes, who acquired over 300 cases during his lifetime. Van Dugteren draws attention to a pair of two Chinese export carved ivory card cases from the 1840s (estimate R9 000 – 12 000) and a 19th-century Anglo-Indian tortoiseshell card case with silver inlay (estimate R5 000 – 7 000).


Discerning furniture collectors will find a range of exceptional pieces, including a late Louis XV ormolu-mounted encoignure by French cabinetmaker Pierre Roussel, showcasing his artistry through intricate marquetry.

The sale includes a mid-19th-century Italian table by the Falcini brothers, inlaid with mother-of-pearl, ebony, and marquetry (estimate R35 000 – R45 000). It features a blooming floral centrepiece and rests on a baluster base. Additionally, there is a late 19th-century Napoleon III centre table with foliate inlay (estimate R15 000 – 20 000); a set of ten iconic No. 4 Café Daum bentwood chairs by Michael Thonet (late 19th/early 20th century) (estimate R20 000 – 25 000) and a café table by Thonet (late 19th/early 20th century) (estimate R10 000 – 15 000).

Thonet’s innovative bentwood technique, using hot steam to create curved forms, influenced the Art Nouveau style of these chairs and tables. His work became known for its smooth lines and accessibility, influencing many modern and contemporary furniture designers.


The silverware collection includes pieces crafted by British silversmiths such as Benjamin Smith III and Robert Harper from the George III era. Their bespoke silverware was in high demand among aristocrats and royalty.

The highlight of the sale is a George III silver tray with a Greek key border, alternating shell motifs, and pierced side handles created by Benjamin Smith III in London in 1819 (estimate R60 000 – 80 000). It has.

Robert Harper’s Victorian silver tankard, made in London in 1872 (estimate R40 000 and 60 000), has a cylindrical body embossed with two panels that display alternating geometric motifs.

Several collectables from Patric Mavros, inspired by the continent’s wildlife and culture, are on offer. One such item is a sterling silver sculpture portraying a rhinoceros with its calf (estimate R10 000 – 12 000). Additionally, there are three sets of name-place holders (estimate R8 000 – 10 000), each containing ten miniature sculptures depicting African animals.


Collectors of Asian ceramics will be captivated by a Qing Dynasty Chinese export blue and white dish (estimate R6 000 – 8 000) and a selection of fine Japanese Imari ware, including chargers and a Satsuma vase.     “The Medusa Red Rosenthal Versace dinner service for twelve, designed by Paul Wunderlich (estimate R25 000 and 30 000), features the Italian fashion house’s iconic Medusa head on a black background embellished with gilt foliage and medallions. This striking design – the quintessence of luxury and abundance, is the perfect symbiosis between solid German craftsmanship and breathtaking Italian design making it an eye-catching addition to any collection,” Van Dugteren concludes.

The auction opened at 8am  on Monday 18 March and will close on Friday 5 April from 2pm.


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