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The Czech Ring Box Is Outed – Not R. Lalique Boutons De Fleur

Curt Schlevogt Czechoslovakian Glass Ingrid Catalogue Picture of Two Ring Boxes and Two Rings

First, a little bit of background on what was a long wait.

Curt Schlevogt Czechoslovakian Glass Ingrid Ring Box With Lid Off title=

Here at World Headquarters, we have a list. In the course of things, we can’t chase everything down in an instant, so as questions arise or specific stuff pops up that might cause a raised eyebrow with all the people that help out with the site, some stuff just gets put on the list. And we wait.

Sometimes the wait is a few weeks or a few months. Sometimes it’s just a phone call or can take a few years. Sometimes it’s longer. For just one small example, in 2008 we wrote an article about an R. Lalique Fake “Seal” that had been sold to a collector. We were pretty sure there was no such authentic seal :), but we didn’t know exactly what it really was. The purchase was from a “reputable” regular dealer in R. Lalique. It wasn’t until 2017 that we were able to definitively identify the “seal” as a stopper to a specific perfume bottle made by an American glass company when one of the great volunteers that help out on the site came across the bottle. 9 years later, what the heck.

Curt Schlevogt Czechoslovakian Glass Ingrid Ring Box And An R. Lalique Feuilles Menu Holder And A Crystal Lalique Base To An Oil And Vinegar Set Selling Together in One Auction LotAnyway, for why we are rambling, back around 2011 a brown patinated two-part egg shaped flower motif Ring Box sporting a double row of facets appeared in the literature as R. Lalique. And it was also appearing at well known auction houses. And crazy enough, the money was pretty big. Reports we received put it selling with a ring in 2011 at €15,000 hammer, another example came in 2012 with sepia patina and a ring for €9500, and one with a brown patina and a ring went all-in in 2014 for about $20,000.

All the while, we had never had our hands on one of these boxes, but we weren’t going to throw away 5 figures to prove ourselves right. And with those prices, actual reputable sellers, and the literature, we decided to keep an open mind (no matter how slightly) that we might be mistaken, even though it’s true that if you listened closely enough when seeing a photo, you could hear the box whispering “Czech, Czech, Czech”. So we waited.

Opportunity Knocks!

Then back in April 2019 at a small online house sale in Columbus Ohio, appears a mixed lot with 3 items: A modern base to an oil & vinegar set, an R. Lalique Feuilles Menu Holder, and there on the left of the photo was a hazy shaped depiction of THE ring box. It was faintly whispering. Our only question was how the auction knew to describe it as “Ingrid Crystal”.

Not being one of those auctions with stuff like a live auctioneer or live bidding, and with no way to get questions answered, we waited. In the end our winning bid was $45 plus shipping across country, around $65 all-in! Yippee! And in due course the goods appeared in the daily shuffle of deliveries piling up inside the main entrance.

Curt Schlevogt Czechoslovakian Glass Ingrid Ring Box Signature Under Heavy LightOther new ground was broken with this purchase, because it’s a pretty hard rule with auctions of R. Lalique that if we are planning on bidding on something R. Lalique at auction for ourselves or on behalf of anyone else, we list that auction on the website and compete with everybody else. And in this case, the Feuilles Menu holder was surely an authentic piece of R. Lalique. But given our altruistic* intent on this one, not wanting to throw away thousands of dollars on a Czech box, and wanting to keep another example of this thing out of circulation, we were not exactly quick in listing it on the site.

In due time the delivery was un-packed, and it took several minutes with just the right light to see the answer to the Ingrid I.D. The bottom was signed INGRID Czecho-Slovakia as shown in the photo here. After that it was easy to find the right documentation through the Czech glass links you can find in the Sources of Fakes section of the website. And we found many examples of the same signature with the same issue of getting the light just right and at the right angle on other Ingrid items. We’ve included 2 photos of the underside of one of the ubiquitous green malachite looking perfume bottles that appeared recently at auction. The two green photos shown here are of the same underside of the same bottle. One looks blank; the other has the right lighting and angle of photo to reveal the signature.

The other thing that everybody ignored about this box was the most obvious. Can you imagine walking into the Lalique shop in Paris in the 1932 and seeing a double faceted brown patinated box holding a green or blue ring of entirely different design? That incongruous presentation would have stuck out like a sore thumb.

Curt Schlevogt Czechoslovakian Glass Ingrid Perfume Bottle Underside Without Heavy Light Looks Like No SignatureAnd did you notice in the Ingrid catalogue photo shown above that in-between the two ring boxes are two rings? Buckle up if you paid 5 figures for an unsigned or suspiciously signed ring that looks just like one of those! There may be turbulence ahead. See the Fleurs-3 Ring.******

You can see all the previously mentioned sales on the Czech Ingrid Bouton De Fleur model page we’ve left up in the Box Category of the R. Lalique Catalogue so interested persons can find and properly identify their box. Obviously some are floating about with R. Lalique signatures or missing Ingrid signatures. And anyone who insists this is an R. Lalique Box, we will make you a real cheap deal compared to those auction prices on the one we have 🙂 … NOT!

Also, this is probably a good time to mention for the umpteenth** time that typical collectors should avoid unsigned and undocumented pieces. There is an amazing selection of great R. Lalique items out there. Over 99% of those pieces are properly signed and fully documented. What’s the point? And collectors should trust their instincts. If it feels like a fish, swims like a fish, looks like a fish, and smells like a fish ……………. something may be fishy***.

Curt Schlevogt Czechoslovakian Glass Ingrid Perfume Bottle Underside With Heavy Light Signature AppearsAnother point to keep in mind. The Ingrid line of Czech glass was not made with the intent to deceive anyone. The Czechs have a rich and centuries old glassmaking tradition. A few designers did jump on the emerging 20th century consumer glass bandwagon with pieces in the Lalique style. But the great early glassmakers in this area such as Heinrich Hoffmann and Curt Schlevogt****  had zero reason to deceive anyone. Schlevogt, the creator of the Ingrid pieces had the Ingrid signature proudly placed on the box we bought. It’s only the later representation that this model is R. Lalique, and/or the removal of the Ingrid signature and/or the addition of a phony R. Lalique signature, that makes one of these boxes problematic in the R. Lalique marketplace. They are less valuable but not problematic at all in the proper context.

And lest we forget, there is a 2nd blue glass Boutons De Fleur Box for which we have never seen a scintilla of documentation. It’s a bit more convincing than this Czech box (not a high hurdle really), it has a much cleaner yet more detailed design, and there is a ring that matches it in both color and decoration. But it’s un-documented nonetheless. Who knows what future house sales in America’s heartland may uncover!

And as is our MO*****, if anyone out there thinks we got anything wrong in this article, we will be happy to hear from you, and we will promptly and cheerfully correct any factual inaccuracies. So please no complaints about run-on sentences, our mangling of the English language, made-up words, or any of the numerous grammatical errors. To paraphrase Dragnet’s Joe Friday “Just the facts ma’am.”

*Altruistic means to show an unselfish concern for others ………as we break our elbows patting ourselves on the back.

**Umteenth or Umpteenth is a real word! It’s the last in a never-ending or indefinitely long series or repetition. Think about a parent saying to their kid: “This is the umpteenth time I’ve told you to straighten-up your room.”

***Something is fishy: An expression that can be traced to before the Civil War. It has come to mean that something is suspicious or not right. Think of a good-looking fish at the market that when you get close enough and pick it up you find it’s really slimy or slippery (a word that has it’s own alternate related meaning) and has started to smell.

****Curt Schlevogt worked for Hoffmann and in 1928 married Hoffmann’s daughter Charlotte. Charlotte died in childbirth giving birth to their daughter Ingrid, after whom his first collection of glass (introduced and exhibited in 1934) was named.

*****MO is an abbreviation for the Latin phrase Modus Operandi. It’s the typical mode or method of operation; how one usually does things. In the current culture, “this is how we roll” would be a comparable expression.

******Fluer-3 Ring: This link was added September 2019.

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