- How long have you worked at Stephan Welz & Co.?
I worked at my first viewing when I was still in high school, around Grade 10, as I can remember, it was a stamp viewing at the Good Hope Centre in Cape Town. I worked at what was then Sotheby’s auctions throughout my school and varsity career whenever an event was held in Cape Town. I moved to Johannesburg in 1986 and joined Sotheby’s permanently. After 2 years I moved back to Cape Town but re-joined in 2009.
- What do you enjoy the most about your job?
I get to meet different personalities every day, I get to see beautiful things and handle items that are of museum quality on a daily basis and get to work with amazing people of the Stephan Welz & Co. team.
- What do you like the most about art?
That different people like different things, it’s what keeps us in business. It is more subjective than wine tasting! No one’s opinion is necessarily the right one.
- Do you have any hobbies?
I like to dive for crayfish in season, spearfish a bit in the winter and run when I get the time. I do need to run more though.
- What is the most important thing you have learned from your time at Stephan Welz & Co.?
Never try and second guess what people may buy, your taste is not the same as anyone else’s. Oh, and age does not equal value, just because something is old doesn’t mean it has value.
- You come from a family rich with art heritage, did you ever try to go into the industry as an artist?
No, never had the talent. Those who can, do, those who can’t become auctioneers!
- Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about getting into the auctioning industry?
Start by trying to help out at auctions, this is like an apprenticeship. You can learn the theory and art history, but nothing can teach you about condition, repairs, restorations, price, values, artists, styles, what is fashionable and why. That all comes from experience.
- What characteristics do you think an auctioneer needs to be successful?
It is essential that a successful auctioneer must be honest and transparent. Your integrity as an auctioneer is all you’ve got.