WESTGATE Walding Auctioneers is as much a part of life in Sandton as conversations about slipping standards, Pajeros, electrified perimeter fences and beef fillets.
For more than 34 years, it has played a role in the lives of northern suburbs newlyweds furnishing their first homes, thirtysomethings upgrading to second homes and empty-
And, of course, its weekly general household -
What must also comfort the many dealers in anything from junk to jewellery, interior designers and other magpies who frequent the sales is that succession planning is firmly in place at Westgate Walding. Its founder Donald Martin -
Brett is the antiques expert, dealing in porcelain, silver, objets d'art, jewellery, paintings and rugs, and sharing the auctioning of these with his father. Christopher handles all the Tuesday general household sales and has been known to dispose of more than 200 items in an hour.
I dropped in on Tuesday to listen to Christopher getting rid of old frying pans, treadmills, fridges and rugs and to go green-
Westgate sales are all about having an eye. An eye for what a battered old chesterfield would be like with fresh upholstery. An eye for what three of these and three of those chairs would look like around a characterful kitchen table. An eye for what an old wooden wardrobe would be like painted blue, stencilled and sanded to make it look as if it had once occupied a corner of a kitchen in Provence. But if your idea of furniture heaven is what's new at Wetherly's or Phil O'Mahoney, stay away.
Unfortunately, Fred Stacey of Parkhurst's Decisions Antiques, a regular at the monthly antique auctions, had also spotted it and Lion-
"What we're all about," says Don Martin, "is quick sales, because we turn over close on 1 000 lots a week."
Brett says there are times when sellers receive wonderful financial surprises. "We had an old lady come in with an oil with a tear in it in one hand and the frame in the other. At first we thought she'd get about R1 500 for her painting but we discovered it was special and it went for R26 000 to a London dealer."
Unfortunately, since Westgate charges R350 for collection and takes 15% commission, you won't get much for your really grotty old bits and pieces. But then again you never know: a pair such as Lion-