Mystery buyer snaps up baroness’s house
‘Petty cash’ for overseas bidder, says auctioneer
A BRITISH businessman bought the Constantia home and the adjacent stand belonging to the infamous Baroness Alexander von Maltzahn for R17 million and other bidders spent about R1m on everything from jewels to Gucci bags, at an auction yesterday.
The man, who did not want to be named, made his final bid by proxy over a cellphone at the property known as Constantia Heights.
Von Maltzahn and her husband, Victor, who were described by some as being “frightfully grand”, amassed massive debt before hastily leaving the country last year. Their Range Rover was found at the airport.
Auction Alliance auctioneer Rael Levitt said they had been hoping to get R20m. “The sale was a reflection of the current market; R17m is petty cash for an overseas buyer.”
The mansion, with breathtaking views, has three bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, spacious modern living areas, a library, wine cellar, cold rooms, a walk-in cupboard with 22 built-in cupboards, an indoor swimming pool, entertainment area, sauna and gym, a lift and domestic quarters.
About 400 businessmen, prospective buyers, antique dealers and curiosity seekers milled across the extensive 9 394m 2 property billed as “fit for royalty… unrivalled luxury and opulence”.
Viewing the property yesterday, people gossiped about the baroness. “She must have had money. How else could she acquire all of this?” said one. While another remarked that her taste was “quite kitsch”.
But only a few serious bidders made offers during the auction held in a marquee.
A sequestration order was set aside by the Western Cape High Court in November.
Standard Bank had the power of attorney to sell the property as the bank is owed R45m, according to the auctioneers.
After the main property went under the hammer, all the belongings left behind by the baroness were auctioned off individually for a total of about R960 000. These included Prada and Gucci bags, Tiffany jewellery, furniture, antiques, book collections, a ceremonial sword and gym equipment.
An antique Bible and a collection of books including volumes of Shakespeare went for R21 000, a set of Scott’s novels for R20 000, a needlework carpet for R10 000, a number of Tintin framed posters went for between R1 500 and R1 750 and the blue four-poster regency style double bed for R4 500.
The couple were known for throwing lavish parties and rubbing shoulders with highflyers. They also allegedly carried out dodgy deals in the city.
SOCIALITES: Baroness Alexander von Maltzahn and her husband, Victor.
ANTIQUES: Prospective bidders view the house and belongings of Baroness Alexander von Maltzahn who left Cape Town under a cloud of debt.