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Rene Lalique Blue Perruches Vase & Comete Car Mascot Make R. Lalique World Records

Rene Lalique Comete Car Mascot

The works of Rene Lalique, with some modern crystal pieces mixed-in, have been a longtime semi-annual attraction at Christie’s South Kensington in London. The first of this year’s Lalique sales had a total of 185 lots of which roughly 150 were R. Lalique. As usual most areas of the collecting field were on offer including everything from vases, perfume bottles, car mascots, and plates and bowls, to perfume burners, seals, architectural items, clocks, decanters, and lighting.

Rene Lalique Blue Perruches VaseThe sale started and ended with a run of vases, but the high seller was found among the car mascots, where Lot 99, a good looking Comete Car Mascot made £79,875 all-in, or about $121,000 at 1.51 Brit pounds per US Dollar**. This was against a pre-sale estimate of £35,000 to £45,000. The final price is thought to be a world record auction price for the Comete. Undoubtably the overall good condition influenced the final price, and overcame the fact that this rare model has appeared at auction at least once a year on average for the last 5 years. The runner-up bidder, a well known member of the local trade, was apparently somewhat disappointed in failing to secure the lot. It was reported that as the runner-up (to be) bid was topped, the runner-up bidder turned and walked out of the salesroom without waiting for the hammer to fall.

Next high seller was a good looking Red Hirondelles Vase, which made £73,875/$112,000 selling as the sale’s final Lot 185 against a pre-sale estimate of £40,000 – £50,000. The final total was about $20,000 below the record setting*** Hirondelles Vase which made over $132,000 in November of 2010.

Rene Lalique Cased Green Gros Scarabees VaseThis is a good time to note that for higher end items (a recent extremely rare car mascot a bit of an exception of course), the trend at Christie’s South Ken for R.Lalique under the direction of the knowledgeable and experienced Joy McCall, has been to go with conservative estimates and reserves. This policy appears to have paid off with generally strong to high prices from the resulting bidding interest. The Hirondelles and the Comete were no exception, a trend followed by all 15 of the high selling items, every one of which exceeded their high estimate on an all-in basis.

Tied for third high seller was a green glass Gros Scarabees Vase (Beetles Vase) which sold as Lot 181 for £49,875/$75,500 against an estimate of £25,000 – £35,000.

Rene Lalique Red Glass Hirondelles VaseA pre-sale run through of the sale lots would have have left most astute observers figuring that these three pieces in one order or the other would be the three high sellers.

But the other lot that tied for third high seller was a total surprise. The Blue Perruches Vase selling as Lot 182 in the final run of large colored glass vases. It more than tripled the pre-sale estimate for a world record price at auction for a Blue Perruches and a world record price at auction for any Perruches Vase making £49,875/$75,500, the same price as the Beetles Vase, against a pre-sale estimate of £15,000 – £20,000.

Reportedly, there was determined interest on the colored Perruches Vases in the sale from a Russian bidder. So it would only take one other competitor with a lot of money and not a lot of concern to make a show stopping price. For this model, in this color, this price is a show stopper no doubt. The previous alignment of R. Lalique planets would have the green Gros Scarabees making around 3 (or more) times a Blue Perruches. But here they made identical final prices.

Rene Lalique Merles Et Raisins Panel Featuring Blackbirds And GrapesIf the consignor of the Blue Perruches and the Gros Scarabees was the same, then considering the reported OK level of quality and condition of the two pieces, the two vase total strikes us as in the range of reasonable for the current market, but who would have guessed how they’d get to that total!

Rounding out the top 5 was a 42.5 cm by 52 cm rectangular panel originally designed for the the Cote D’Azur Pullman-Express. The panel Merles Et Raisins (Blackbirds and Grapes) more than tripled the low end of the £10,000 – £15,000 estimate for an all-in final price of £35,000/$53,000.

After the top 5 high sellers, the next 10 high sellers were all vases! And they all were outsold by the Blue Perruches! This group of 10 included an amber glass Gros Scarabees Vase at £33,750/$51,000 that sold to the Musee Lalique (which purchased around a half dozen R.Lalique items), an amber glass Serpent Vase which was about 12% below the world record for that model at £32,500/$49,000, a red Poissons Vase at the same price as the Serpent, a green Poissons Vase and a cased green Perruches Vase both at £31,250/$47,000, a green Perruches Vase at £21,250/$32,000, and a short looking but rare blue glass Milan Vase at £17,500/$26,500.

Rene Lalique Dinard Box Covered With RosesReasonably common perfume bottles were very strong throughout the sale (Ambre Antique £2500/$3800 or Le Lys for D’Orsay at £2375/$3600 for example), and one added price of note was the very strong world record auction price of £5250/$8000 paid for a Dinard Box !

On the flip side**** of the preceding, Seals (cachets) and Paperweights were notably so-so to soft, with the very rare Pelican Seal selling as Lot 85 for only £1063/$1600. Of course these are much more narrow collecting fields and it takes two to tango to the top, as American watchers of Dancing With The Stars might know.

Rene Lalique Perruches Vase In Cased Green GlassIn the end, we saw the usual worldwide smattering of bidders from the United States to Russia, Luthuania to France, and plenty of places in between that is the hallmark of demand for the works of the great Rene Lalique. The sale totaled £799,812/$1,210,000 or roughly $9,200 per sold lot with the modern crystal pieces bringing the average down of course. If you take out the 20 modern crystal lots which made £36,313/$54,800 for an average of about $2750, then you have 111 Rene Lalique lots making £763,499/$1,152,000 or an average of about $10,400. The 131 sold lots out of the 185 offered made the take-up rate a somewhat disappointing but respectable 70% (that rate would be higher if you ignore all the modern stuff). Christie’s noted that by value, the take-up was about 90%, so the majority of the unsold lots were the relatively lower value items.

The last 7 lots of the sale, all colored vases, accounted for £292,375/$441,500 or about 36% of the entire sale total. Not too far from that, the 7 high sellers made £354,250/$535,700 or about 44% of the sale. The vast majority of the sale in value was for the great vases. Here’s a link to the Results In Lot Order

All-in-all, another great day for the great Lalique!

** Unless mentioned otherwise, all prices in this article are on an all-in basis and at roughly a 1.51 pounds to dollars ratio. In practice of course, some buyers have the added expense of local VAT, while others may have their local import duties and shipping, and some buyers may pay several percentage points more for currency conversions based on their payment method and other factors.

*** The red glass Hirondelles which sold in November 2010 set the record for the highest price ever bid for an R. Lalique colored glass vase at auction. On an all-in basis, it was the 2nd highest priced colored vase ever sold at auction. And of course, it was the record at auction both bid and all-in for any Hirondelles Vase.

**** Flip Side for those of you into oldies but goodies, originated with 45’s; that is 45 rpm records. The hit song (the advertised song) would be on the A side. The B side, containing some other song you probably didn’t want to listen to, was called the flip side as you had to flip the record over to play it. Now it’s used almost in the same way as “the other side of the coin” (makes sense doesn’t it?), or the opposite side, such as the opposite point of view, or just oppositely (which is our use here).

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