R Lalique Cire Perdue Wasp Vase by Rene Lalique


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Posts Tagged ‘Lawsuits’

A Great R Lalique Story AND The Tale of Lucky Carl

November 17th, 2008

Check out this BBC Report about the R Lalique Cire Perdue Vase that sold last week at Christies South Kensington. It was purchased for £1 at a “car boot” sale and brought to the Antiques Roadshow for appraisal and then to Christies to sell. Don’t you love stories like this?

£32,449 profit for car boot sale vase by Rene Lalique

Sign For An Estate SaleBUT, closer to the ancestral home of RLalique.com, consider the story of a Tucson Arizona man named Carl Rice. Carl frequented weekend garage and estate sales in the Tucson area. His biggest profit ever on the re-sale of one of his weekend finds, was the $55 he had made selling a $25 purchase for $80! On June 16th 1996, as was his habit, Carl perused the estate sales listings in his local paper, and then he headed off to an estate sale at the home of the recently deceased 94 year old Martha Nelson, where the representatives of her estate were clearing out her possessions. There in the Nelson home, Carl bought a pair of paintings off the wall for the asking price of $88. He then re-sold the pair at Christies New York in December of 1996 for over One Million Dollars! That’s right, over $1,000,000! Feeling LuckyA local Tucson gallery owner saw the Christies catalog noting the Nelson estate provenance, and mentioned it to the representatives for the dead lady’s estate. They of course mentioned the good fortune of Lucky Carl to their lawyers, and Lucky Carl quickly found out that just as night follows day, lawsuits follow lawyers. They sued Lucky Carl in January 1998, claiming that it was somehow his responsibility to let them know they had underpriced the paintings by $1,071,912! This ridiculous lawsuit dragged on for nearly three years until December 2000 before being tossed out by the Arizona Court of Appeals. Somehow we have the feeling that Lucky Carl, while a little less lucky, is a whole lot smarter for the experience.

The Planet MarsOne final note about the case of Lucky Carl. The gallery owner that saw the provenance in the Christies catalogue and ratted out Lucky Carl, was quoted in the Tucson Daily Star newspaper as follows: “If you are going through an estate sale, YOU have a responsibility to say you are aware this is such a valuable painting.” Sure, that’s why people go to boot sales, garage sales, estate sales and the like. So that they can appraise and authenticate items for the sellers, and help the sellers identify hidden treasures. And here we thought all the people in Tucson lived on the same planet as the rest of us. We stand corrected.

And the moral of the story: It can never hurt to consult with an expert before selling. If you need an appraisal on your R Lalique items, check out the Rene Lalique Appraisal page here at RLalique.com.


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