Strauss & Co Celebrating Silver

26 Jun 2023

Leading South African auction house, Strauss & Co, is delighted to present a selection of exquisite silverware in its upcoming June timed online auction.

“The sale, titled ‘Celebrating Silver,’ offers a diverse range of British and Continental pieces from renowned manufacturers in England, Scotland, France and Germany, in addition to notable examples of Spanish and Portuguese silver,” says Sorbonne-educated Olivia Barrell, the auction house’s silver specialist, who is spearheading the event.

“The timed-online sale, which will run from 21 June to 5 July, is a splendid showcase of English silver pieces spanning periods from Georgian, Edwardian, and Victorian eras to more contemporary works created during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign”, she adds. 

Female silversmiths were relatively uncommon during the Georgian era so a duo of George II silver salvers (circa 1741) crafted by English female silversmith, Dorothy Mills, should attract the attention of discerning collectors, (estimates R 8 000 – 10 000.)

Another captivating item is a four-piece Elizabeth II silver tea service (circa 1964) crafted by Mappin & Webb Ltd. (estimates R 20 000 – 25 000). The tea service encompasses design elements of mid-century modern and Art Deco, epitomizing the hallmarks of Mappin & Webb’s artistry. Founded in 

1775, the company held royal warrants from various members of the British royal family, including Queen Elizabeth II herself. 

Barrell highlights the featured item on the catalogue cover, a 20th-century, five-piece Art Nouveau German silver tea service (estimates R 30 000 – 40 000) from the Vereinigte Silberwaren-Fabriken Bahner AG, Düsseldorf. Also known as Bahner, the German company produced some of Europe’s foremost silverware between 1901 and 1965. Bahner’s makers often embellished their wares with intricate detail, elegant shapes, and decorative motifs inspired by nature, features observed in the tea service’s Jugendstil motives and patterns. 

Another outstanding lot is a sterling silver Georg Jensen pitcher (circa post-1945), designed by Danish graphic artist, designer, and art critic Johan Rohde (estimates R 50 000 – 70 000). Georg Jensen, established by the eponymous Danish designer, is still considered one of the leading figures in contemporary Scandinavian design. The pitcher is a splendid example of the Danish company’s aesthetic. The harmonious fusion of creative design and functionality will delight collectors of mid-century modern and Scandi-chic design. 

The sale also features a cased set of twelve George V silver caudle (hot drink) cups and covers;  a five-piece German silver tea service from Lutz & Weiss, Pforzheim; and a 20th-century three-piece Portuguese silver coffee service from Mergulhao, Lisbon. The rarity and exclusivity of some of these items make them highly coveted among investors and collectors. 

“Historically, we have also seen that silver retains its value and shows capital appreciation over a period, which makes it an attractive investment. Silver as a precious metal also has inherent value, making it an asset,” says Jill van Dugteren, Design Coordinator at Strauss & and Co. “Should these items be looked after, they can last for generations and become cherished family heirlooms,” she says. 

The auction house recently appointed a team of design-focused experts to bolster its Decorative Arts and Jewellery department. “This department has been a central pillar of Strauss & Co since 2009. To build on its accomplishments over the past decade, we recently recruited a new and strongly motivated team to take the department into the future,” says Bina Genovese, Managing Executive at Strauss & Co. 

The new Decorative Arts, Design and Jewellery Department is made up of design coordinator Jill Van Dugteren; Olivia Barrell, specialist and consultant in silver and Asian Arts; Nicky Myburgh, furniture consultant; Kim Goeller, jewellery specialist consultant; and gemmologist consultants, Tim Watson and Mike Ellis. 

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