R2.6 million for a chest of drawers

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A chest of drawers sold for close on R2 600 000 at Strauss & Co’s auction in Cape Town drawing gasps from the packed saleroom. This important 18th century chest of drawers, which was formerly part of the collection of Vergelegen, was hotly contested between two international buyers on the telephone.

Several other auction records were set, the most important being for Erik Laubscher’s Women Arranging Flowers which sold for R2 000 050 and was executed in the early 1950s while the artist was living in Paris.

Another record was set when a rare early pastel by celebrated artist Penny Siopis, who recently had a retrospective at the National Gallery in Cape Town, sold for R1 136 800. This work is regarded as one of the artist’s most important works ever to be sold at auction.

Two other exceptional prices were R193 256 for a 19th century Transvaal rusbank and R261 464 for a Cape silver sugar bowl. And an Art Deco diamond and emerald brooch by the celebrated jewellers Van Cleef and Arpels sold for R400 000.

A spokesman for the company commented after the sale: “The auction attracted worldwide interest and confirmed the strength of quality items which invariably attract global attention and record prices.”

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