21 Jul Stander House/Fairview up for auction in 1978; 2 years after Mr Swallows bought the historic home from the estate of Blanche and Ethel Stander
In The Oudtshoorn Courant and Het Suid-Western on Wednesday, September 27, 1978, Brenda Hartdegen reported:
GEORGE: A magnificent leather-bound 260-year-old Bible was sold for R535 after brisk bidding at an auction of mostly antique furniture. The Bible was bought by a Cape Town dealer, Mr. H A Lammers, who flew to George especially to attend the sale. And he is confident that he will sell it immediately to one of several Dutch dealers who are out in South Africa from Holland to buy up all the Dutch antiques they can find.
Antiques in Holland have become very scarce and the dealers have now turned their attention to South Arica which is still regarded as a rich field for many Dutch antiques.
Mr. Lammers flew to George mainly to buy paintings that were to be sold at the auction. “But I found the painting very disappointing and not of a high quality and then I saw the Bible and I knew my trip to George had not been wasted. The only thing that worried me was that the auction was going so slow to start with that they’d never get around to putting the Bible up before I had to catch my plane.”
The Bible, a Staten Bijbel, was printed in Dordrecht Amsterdam in 1719. It is printed in scroll print on hand-made paper. It is bound in leather with brass hasps and corner supports.
“What makes this particular Bible highly negotiable to an overseas dealer is that it is not a family Bible with limited South African connotations,” Mr. Lammers said. “By that I mean the record of the family who owned it is not written in it.”
But slipped inside the front of the Bible is a handprinted and painted certificate in Dutch stating that Sophia Anna van Straatenwas born on 5 December 1811, and baptised in the Cape Colony on 1 January 1812.
Bidding against Mr. Lammers Towards the end was Mr. Harold Groombridge of Knysna, owner of the famous genuine gypsy caravan that used to be parked alongside the national road at the Garden Of Eden.
Mr. Lammers said that he would have been prepared to bid up to R600 for the Bible. “I must be able to recover the cost of my trip to George and make a small profit when I sell it,” he said.
The Bible belonged to Mr. E Swallow. Most of the goods on the auction sale were owned by him and were bought from the estate of the Stander twins, Blanche and Ethel. In 1976 Mr. Swallow also bought their historic home in Stander Street, built before 1890, for R33 000. He bought most of the furniture in the house at a later auction sale.
The house was also up for sale at the auction The highest bid was R25 000 but it is not known whether this bid was accepted.
Hundreds of people attended the auction which started at 9 am and lasted for most of the rest of the day. Another high bid was R850 for a beautiful old piano.