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Rene Lalique Letter Opener: Lalique Paper Knife Sells For Over $21,000 – A Great Unique Lalique Object D’Art

Rene Lalique Letter Opener from Carved Horn Close-Up

Lalique’s unique and functional objects d’art have performed very well at auction over the past several years, and a carved horn Lalique Letter Opener (aka Lalique Paper Knife **) which appeared at Auction Atrium in London this past week was no exception.

Rene Lalique Letter Opener from Carved HornRene Lalique Letter Opener from Carved Horn 1905 PhotoFound in a desk drawer while clearing out some of the contents of a private home, and brought to the auction house only as an afterthought by the owner after nearly throwing the object away, the overall appearance and condition of the great Rene Lalique Paper knife was obviously judged much more harshly by the vendor and the auction house than by staffers at RLalique.com and ultimately by the large contingent of active bidders which emerged once the existence of the Lalique horn object became known.

The Letter Opener was a close variant of an amazingly similar paper knife that was pictured in a 1905 volume of the magazine Art Et Decoration (reproduced in the photo on the right). It featured a hand carved design of wheat on the upper portion and the great LALIQUE carved-in-the-horn signature shown below.

Working off a modest £300 low estimate, the Letter Opener was hammered down for over £10,000! Here’s a link to our original listing for the great Lalique Letter Opener.

The auction house described the bidding activity and final price quite succinctly in a post sale report to RLalique.com:

The piece was hotly contested last night as you suspected it would be and in the end sold for a hefty £13,020 (£10,500 selling price plus 20% buyers premium and Value Added Tax – VAT on the premium at the UK rate of 20%) which I am sure was down to your listing (emphasis added of course).

Rene Lalique Letter Opener from Carved Horn SignatureAnother high point for the great Rene Lalique, and a pretty good turn for Auction Atrium having properly identified the item as a circa 1900 Carved Horn Lalique Paper Knife, making it easier for us to find it and tell bidders worldwide about its upcoming appearance. And yet another demonstration of the reach and the salubrious market effect of RLalique.com!

And along those lines, one point cannot be emphasized too often: If bidders remember to tell auction houses that they saw an item at RLalique.com, and if worldwide interest and bidding ensues after our listing an item, as it so often does and as it did in this instance, then auction houses will be much more likely to seek out great Lalique items for upcoming sales! And they will be much more likely to let us know about those future items due to the beneficial effects of our Worldwide Auctions Listings. In addition, the resulting news or publicity about the state of the market will also be beneficial, drawing out items to auction, and increasing worldwide interest in the collecting field. This is a win-win-win-win situation for consignors that will see more bidding activity; for bidders that will be able to see and choose from more pieces around the world; for auction houses as they recognize the strong and vibrant market for the works of Lalique and take advantage of that market; and for collectors that will likely see a stronger and more active marketplace for items when they decide to sell.

“I saw it at RLalique.com!”

** Paper Knife is the term for what we call a letter opener today. It’s a knife used to cut paper, not a knife made of paper. Back in the day it had more uses than just a letter opener. Notable among those uses was cutting pages of printed books that were not trimmed enough around the outer edges to separate the pages during printing.

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