Cire Perdue Vases don’t come up for auction very often. Usually just a few a year. And to say they don’t usually appear at the online auction websites such as Ebay would be an understatement. But a great looking Cire Perdue did just that this week when it appeared from a Wisconsin seller (with over 18,000 positive feedbacks) that had purchased it at an estate goods shop.
The new arrival is the vase Branches De Mures Formant Deux Anses. The vase has been unknown in modern times, likely purchased back in the day and not having come back to market. It appears in the Catalogue Raisonne only as a drawing.
The mold number 193 and the year it was made 1920 both properly appear on the underside in the glass as 193-20 and match the information in the drawing of the vase.
The vase features a wonderful blackberries motif and is represented by the seller to be basically in original condition, save minor fleabite type stuff with no cracks or chips. Obviously there are manufacturing imperfections caused by the nature of the process used to create the great Cire Perdue.
The copious photos included in the auction listing appear to confirm the condition description.
We were alerted to the offering around an hour after it appeared online, and immediately posted the vase in the Worldwide Auctions Section here at RLalique.com.
There is also a close-up picture in the highlight photos at the top of the auction page with a text link to take you straight to that listing and save having to scroll through all the other listings that are on that page (82 as of this writing).
The vase is 6 and 1/4 inches tall and a bit over 4 inches wide at its widest point.
Several bidders and interested parties have contacted World Headquarters to talk about the vase.
Judging from the level of chatter (with possibly some educated surmise thrown in), it seems that the vase should do quite well.
Of course as usual it will likely be a bit of a nailbiter** at the end as the hoped-for pre-arranged automated bids come in (or not) with seconds to go.
Additional information about Cire Perdue pieces, including an explanation of how they are made, as well as links to all areas of the website that might be informative on the subject, can be found in the Cire Perdue Section of the biography of Rene Lalique!
UPDATE 10-18-15: The vase sold for $65,100. Four different contenders had bids in at $45,000 or more.
**A nailbiter (or nail biter) is a tense or anxious situation, which is why many people chew on their nails to begin with.
Medically speaking, the habit of nail-biting is referred to as onychophagy. So if you bite your nails in public, you can rest assured that medically trained passersby may very well be referring to you in a smarmy manner as an onychophager, a word we just made up but seems right and it could even be a word.
And if all this is not bad enough, you might as well know that the American Psychiatric Association classifies nailbiters as OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and words like “pathological” have often been used in conjunction with nail-biting behavior.
Basically it’s literally, figuratively, and literarily, about as close as you can come to wearing your bad habits on your sleeve (reaching back over 500 years to Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello – “But I will wear my heart on my sleeve”).
Named for the wooden castle built by a son of William the Conqueror near the Tyne River in 1080, the British City of Novum Castellum, (now Newcastle upon Tyne) is rich in history, having seen everyone from the likes of William Wallace (courtesy of King Edward I) to William the Lion (who was imprisoned there in the late 1100’s). Newcastle thrived in the late 1500’s as a coal production center. Later, in the first half of the 1600’s, about a third of the residents were killed by the plague, and even King Charles spent some time in prison there in the mid 1600’s as a guest of the Scots. But by the late 1700’s, it was a great printing center, and also a producer of flint glass. Closer to our time, the first art gallery opened in Newcastle in 1904, a gallery that still exists today.
And it is in this formerly walled city, the former northern fortress of England during the middle ages battles with the Scots, that saw 3 likely auction sale records set on September 11th, courtesy of a diminutive 16 centimeters tall R. Lalique Cire Perdue Glass Vase found in a box in a house during a routine evaluation of the estate of a deceased individual. The 1922 vase featured a design of two voluptuous winged women with outstretched arms in relief on the exterior.
Normally, we think of R. Lalique Cire Perdues as one-of-a-kind creations, because due to the method of manufacture, the mold is broken and cannot be re-used. However, an original artistic model can be used to make another mold, and while another vase made this way starting with the same model will not be identical, it can be real close. For the Rene Lalique Vase Deux Figures Femmes Ailees, there were 4 such vases recorded as having been made of the same design. And the one of current interest was the first, having been marked on the underside “1/4” (one of four) in addition to “415-22” (the mold number and the year 1922) along with the typical wheel cut R. Lalique signature.
The appearance of the vase generated worldwide interest, having been appropriately cataloged by the auction house, and having been listed well in advance of the sale in the Worldwide Rene Lalique Auction pages at RLalique.com. The auction house, which wiped away the green ring evidence on the interior that the vase had been used to hold flowers (heaven forefend on both counts :), and reported that the vase was in generally very good condition save minor nicks, properly put a conservative sales estimate of £20,000 to £30,000 on the vase, an estimate which would have to be rounded by the addition of another zero to match the roughly tenfold final price :).
Worldwide bidding interest, a packed house and full U.k. and international telephone lines saw extended bidding lasting several minutes leading to a final bid price of £280,000, which along with the buyers premium of 19.5% or £54,600, made the total sales price £334,600 or about $555,000 US dollars figuring an exchange rate in actual practice of about 1.66 British Pounds per Dollar for the American buyer.
The likely records are as follows: For the locals, according to the auction house, this vase represents the highest price paid at auction for a decorative art object in the northeast of England this century. For the R.Lalique enthusiasts, this is likely not only the highest price ever paid at auction for any Lalique Cire Perdue Vase, but also the highest price paid at auction for any Rene Lalique Vase.
Our take on the price is simple. The market for R. Lalique, especially but not only for high-end vases is hot. For Lalique’s Cire Perdue, it has also been very strong. Also, we have seen from experience that most Cire Perdues that appear at auction have significant condition issues. This vase reportedly did not. And not much Cire Perdue appears with nude women, which are an ever-popular decorative motif from the period, making this vase extremely desirable on all fronts in the current market.
Buyers apparently looked past the fact that other Cire Perdue vases of this same design exist, and grabbed at the opportunity when it presented itself. Think about R. Lalique Cire Perdue this way: in any given year there are limited chances to buy R. Lalique Cire Perdue Vases at auction, usually a few at most. If you want to obtain Cire Perdue vases, you have to go after what appears. In a sense, you do not choose the Cire Perdue, but by its appearance it chooses you. In a rising market, Cire Perdues usually lead the way, and this week in this market was no exception. Add to that the condition of this example, the design, and the good job done by the auction house, and you have on many levels a Cire Perdue Trifecta and another great day for the great Rene Lalique.
For additional information on Lalique Cire Perdues, check out the Lalique Cire Perdue section of the R. Lalique Bio at RLalique.com.
Rene Lalique pieces show many different authentic R. Lalique signatures and we get regular inquiries asking where R. Lalique owners or collectors can go to see samples of actual R. Lalique signatures. In response, we’ve developed a page where readers can review the different signatures found on genuine pieces of R. Lalique. This new page showing how R. Lalique pieces were signed can coincidentally be found at this link: R.Lalique Signatures.
We also thought this would be a good time to answer some questions that come up quite regularly about the signatures found on R Lalique. This is not intended as a comprehensive discussion, but merely to answer common questions about Lalique’s signatures on his R. Lalique glass and other items. Jumping right in:
1. Is every piece of R. Lalique signed?
In the big picture of Rene Lalique’s works that were produced, by the percentages it is fair to say that the overwhelming majority of R. Lalique was signed in one form or another. However, Lalique produced a lot of pieces, so just a miniscule unsigned percentage can mean that many pieces were not signed with an R. Lalique mark. It appears that architectural items, especially parts of larger installations can be unsigned with some regularity (considering how irregularly these types of pieces appear that is :). And an apparently authentic (and original) piece appears without a signature from time to time. However, it would be a mistake in our opinion for the average collector to think they had found the pot of gold at the end of the Rene Lalique rainbow each time or any time an unsigned something or other popped up represented as R. Lalique, on one of the slim chances mentioned (or not mentioned) above. So we typically advise collectors to proceed in life as if everything was signed and should be signed. Basically, nearly every single piece percentage wise was signed, so why mess around. And when you go to sell, it’s usually much better to have a signed piece of R. Lalique than an academic explanation of why the unsigned piece is authentic. Note: The apparent cire perdue vase shown here appeared at auction advertised as unsigned and sold for over $100,000. We didn’t have the vase in-hand, so we don’t know one way or the other if it was in fact an unlikely unsigned R. Lalique Cire Perdue vase. However, it appears that at least two bidders were satisfied on the subject.
2. Does every authentic signature contain the phrase “R Lalique”?
The answer to this question is no, not all signatures or marks contain the phrase “R. Lalique”. Some exceptions would be jewelry with metal backing is many times stamped LALIQUE in the metal, and may or may not be signed on the glass.
There are a couple of marks; the VDA and the Masque marks shown here, that do not say R. Lalique. There are also some pieces signed just Lalique in the glass, either inscribed or in the mold. And there are a small number of items with just R L in the mold. So while most of what appears is signed R Lalique in one form or another, many pieces are signed differently.
3. Is each example of the same R. Lalique model signed the same way, or can the same models have different signatures?
Many models can be found with different signatures that were used over time. It seems that the more popular a piece, or the longer it was in production, the more different signatures are seen.
4. Is it true that no R. Lalique piece has “Made In France” signed on it?
No, there are a few pieces that have the phrase “Made In France”, one of which is the Palmes Vase with molded R. Lalique and Made In France on the underside shown here. Another example is one of the Figurines Atomizers with a similar molded signature.
5. Do any R.Lalique pieces have more than one signature or mark?
Yes, a good number of pieces (but again, small percentage wise in terms of overall production) have more than one signature. Three examples:
A. We sometimes see pieces with molded signatures that are perfectly readable, with a full R. Lalique France engraved signature present as well.
B. The molded signature is faint or unreadable, so an inscribed signature is added. This is pretty typical on the Escargot Vase for example, where the molded signature is often quite faint, and a script Lalique is added. Shown here is a Courges Vase with the added script Lalique, as well as multiple signatures relevant to the following paragraph.
C. Whatever instrument or technique was used to impress an intaglio signature skipped (or who knows what), and more than one signature was impressed in the piece. We have seen up to six identifiable signatures on one piece. Shown following is a somewhat typical Courges Vase signature, a model that is often seen with multiple signatures.
6. When a piece is signed in script: R Lalique France #888, what does the number stand for?
This is the Rene Lalique et Cie model number to identify the model of the piece, which in this case is a Sauterelles Vase.
7. Do all pieces contain the word France in the signature?
No. Early produced pieces do not contain the word France. Our understanding is that no later than with the Tariff Act of 1930, the United States required the country of origin to be marked on imported goods. The USA being the biggest import market in the world on an overall basis at that time (and it still is the largest by far to this day if you were wondering), stuff all over the world that might be exported started getting the country of origin marked on it at the time of manufacture. This would naturally include Lalique’s great pieces.
8. Are any pieces signed “Rene Lalique”?
Well, never say never. But we are joining the Missouri crowd on this one….. show me.
9. Where were R. Lalique pieces signed?
In France of course!
Seriously, Lalique’s signature appears in many different places on his R. Lalique pieces. They can be signed on the bottom half of the side of a vase for example, anywhere on the underside of the base of nearly any piece, right in the design somewhere, or on the edge of something such as the edge of a box cover or on the side edge of the upper part of a disk shaped seal.
10. Were any pieces made after the death of Rene Lalique signed with an R. Lalique signature?
After World War II, small numbers of pieces were made from old molds that incorporated a molded R. Lalique signature before these molds were updated. However, most of these pieces were also given a modern Lalique France signature to indicate they were post war production. Notable among models that fall into this category are the Perche Car Mascot, the Sanglier Car Mascot, the Tete D’Aigle Car Mascot, the Saint-Christophe Car Mascot (all marketed only as paperweights post-war), and Marienthal Plates. Also the Meudon Box has been seen several times with the molded R. Lalique signature on the side of the top, but the bottom is engraved Lalique France indicating it was produced after the war. Keep in mind that the added post-war signature on any of these examples could later be polished off by an unscrupulous person, leaving only the molded R. Lalique signature. In addition to the above, there are also the molded R. Lalique CREATION signatures on some perfume bottles where the word CREATION tells you it’s post-war.
If readers that check out the page of Lalique’s signatures have photos of signatures or variations we are missing on that page, please email those in using the link and directions on the signature page. And if you have a question omitted here, or additional information you feel is important to this discussion, please email us using that same link.
If you are looking for examples of faked, forged, and copied R. Lalique signatures, see them on our site at this link: Faked, Forged, and Copied R Lalique Signatures! You’ll find that many of those faked signatures are quite good. And in that regards, we wrap up this article with our constant admonition: Signatures do not authenticate pieces, it’s the other way around. Pieces authenticate signatures. Make a decision about the piece first, and then see if the signature fits. Just because a signature looks right, does not mean it is right. And signatures in many cases are far easier to fake than authentic pieces. So enjoy your collecting, but do it with your eyes open!
Rene Lalique was represented by just 5 items in the sale of Important 20th Century Design at Sotheby’s New York on December 16th.
But those five Lalique sale items gave this Sotheby’s decorative arts sale the highest price total for R. Lalique in a single auction for the year 2010, with the 5 lots all selling, and making a premium inclusive total of $1,301,500!
Things started off well, with the Lalique Chandelier Normandie (Sotheby’s took pains to point out that this R. Lalique Normandie Chandelier was not on the ship of the same name) making a high bid/premium inclusive total of $55,000/$68,500 against an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.
Next up was the unique and totally cool roughly 2 foot by 2 foot four inch pastel, water color and pencil Rene Lalique illustration done by Lalique for the cover of the Christmas Issue of the famous French magazine L’illustration. Named “Noel”, the original Lalique work on paper reached $30,000/$37,500 against a conservative estimate of $15,000 to $20.000.
Following the successful offering of the painting, was a great looking Rene Lalique Peacock Table Lamp “Paons”.
This approximately 16.75 inches tall lamp did not have the pierced shade with finial attachment often seen on this model and of course, it’s an early (1910) well coordinated design between the glass shade and the lamp base decoration.
For the third time in as many lots, the great Lalique item topped it’s estimate, making $80,000/$98,500 against a pre-sale of only $40,000 to $60,000.
The fourth offering was the 1914 Cire Perdue Vase Baies De Cornouiller. The vase is a classic Lalique vase form, with a widening body coming up from the base and then pulling back over the shoulders of the vase into a rim whose width nearly matches the diameter of the base. This classically shaped vase had the added bonus of the high relief floral design wrapping around the great early cire perdue.
The Lalique Vase was a bit under 8 and 1/2 inches, and between two determined phone bidders it made $410,000/$494,500, topping the already strong estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.
The fifth and final item, was the Lalique Cire Perdue Statue Figure Femme Et Guirlande De Fleurs. This statue had been seriously damaged, having been broken into at least two pieces earlier in it’s life, and it has been said that it was put back together and restored under the supervision of Marie Claude Lalique.
Twice this statue was offered for sale at auction in France in recent years, where it failed to sell at much more conservative estimates, albeit in more conservative times for prices as well.
But every statue has it’s day, and in this strong market, and on this day the very optimistic estimate of $600,00 to $900,000, was buttressed by a write-up by Felix Marcilhac as a catalogue note, in which Mr. Marcilhac related that Marie Claude Lalique felt this specific statue was her grandfather’s most important work
The statue was the day’s high R. Lalique seller and at the same time was the only R. Lalique sale item whose bid price did not get into the estimate range, let alone exceed it. Fabulously, the tragic cire perdue statue made $500,000/$602,500 to top all Lalique and pull the sale total for the five lots well over the $1,000,000 mark. In dollars the statue’s price represented nearly 1/2 the R. Lalique sale total for the auction.
This price also made the R. Lalique Cire Perdue Statue the highest selling individual R. Lalique glass work at auction in quite some time. Quite a long time.
We seem to be wrapping up a lot of these reports with the observation that for the great Lalique, prices continue strong (but not overheated), great items are getting scarce, and the market continues to expand. What the heck, good news is always welcome!
This sale marks a strong note as we near the finish line in a great year at auction for R. Lalique. This is especially impressive when considering the state of the world economy, and the increased supply that has appeared on the market.
We’ll try to do at least one more Lalique sales results article before year end, to catch up on some odds and ends from the last month or so, that by themselves were quite impressive, and that in total lend more credence to the notions expressed on these pages about the current state of affairs.
The apparent Rene Lalique Cire Perdue Vase at Skinners in Boston Massachusetts, shown in the first photo, sold as Lot 289 in their sale on March 27th, 2010. Sporting a conservative estimate of $10,000 to $15,000, the vase according to Skinners was unsigned, had no numbers on the underside, had only the word France written on the bottom, had some damage including a visible small chip in their photos, and caused enough doubt in the minds of Skinners that it was catalogued as “Attributed to R. Lalique”!
The final price for the 6 and 1/2 inch vase was $105,000 plus a buyer’s premium of $19,425.
The figures on the vase according to the auction house were males, yet the vase bore a striking resemblance to CP 409, the vase Quatre Figurines Femmes Formant Soutien, a 1921 Cire Perdue that was exhibited at the 1925 Exposition des Art Decoratifs and which is shown in the second photo. The documented vase CP 409 has a clear signature visible in the photo in the R. Lalique Catalogue Raisonne. It also featured female figures according to its name and description.
All these questions could of course have been answered by a short in-hand inspection, which we were unable to make. And the vase does look quite compelling from an authenticity standpoint in the auction house photo notwithstanding any obvious damages or concerns.
Not surprisingly, at least a couple of bidders thought it was worth a pretty good go, raising the final price to roughly 10 times the auction house estimate.
In the Lalique Biography at RLalique.com you can read all about the famous Lalique Cire Perdue pieces, and find links to all the Cire Perdue resources, articles, and information contained on the the website including Cire Perdue auctions and Cire Perdue fakes.
Hi. I have a bridge to sell you. It’s a wonderful bridge clearly marked “Golden Gate”. It’s in excellent condition. I inherited it from my uncle who loved bridges and had a bridge collection. My uncle told me it’s a valuable and important bridge, and I have great respect for my uncle. I don’t know anything about bridges or the value of bridges, but out of respect for my uncle and the high esteem in which he held this bridge, I have put a price on it to honor his memory. Oh, the bridge sells “as is”, payment by wire transfer, no guarantees, no refunds, no returns.
And when the deed is done the bridge seller will shout to the rafters as Iago observes to Cassio in Shakespeare’s Othello: ” As I am an honest man …. “! Maybe he is, who cares (see seller motivation discussion below).
We have received half a dozen inquiries here at World Headquarters about this crafty listing. Here is a link to a saved/cached image version of the original 370308740347 listing online. You may have to use the zoom function of your browser (or whatever program opens images for you) to get the cached image to expand in the window if it does not appear full size. After clicking on the link to the item, a new window will open with the cached image in it. On a Mac, just click on the image and see if that expands it. If not, press the apple key and click on the cached image in your browser window. On a PC, hold down the alt key while clicking on the cached image. You have got to love some of this stuff; you have to love it!
So keeping in mind that an analysis from photos is no substitute for having the piece in hand, here it is:
The vase does not appear to exhibit the variability of finish typically found in Cire Perdue. It seems frosted either with acid or sand, instead of being Cire Perdue glass. Look at the design close up in the photo of the signature.
The underside of the base is polished and flat. Everything from fingerprints to imperfections, to almost a look of glass flow in some areas, incorporated shards and other issues that you typically see when looking thru the base of a Cire Perdue vase are not evident in the photos of the polished solid base shown in the ad.
So this is two different flags. We can’t say that no cire perdue vase would have a polished and flat underside as even the Oracle has not seen every last one of them. But totally polished and flat is not a hallmark of a Lalique Cire Perdue Vase base. Of course, if you had not ever had one in your hand, and were only working from a photo, how would you know what the underside of the vase should look like?
The extended base itself is not coherent with the vase, or typical of how Rene Lalique Cire Perdues are normally designed.
The signature from the photo is not typical of the period Cire Perdue signatures we have observed in person. It also differs from the signature on the known authentic original discussed below that is in the collection of the Musee des art decoratifs in Paris. And again, if you have not had Cire Perdue in your hand, you may not have access to what the signatures look like.
The signature appears frosted-over in the photo. This would not be typical with Cire Perdue.
The vase appears in shape and in reality to be a mold pressed vase. Briefly, in a mold pressed vase such as Ceylon, or Rampillon or Bacchantes, the inside is normally nearly smooth, as the plunger under high pressure presses molten glass into the relief design and the area between the plunger and the metal mold also has glass in it, else there would not be contact to have the pressure on the glass to push it into the relief design part of the mold.
Also, the plunger has to come out of the mold after pressing, so mold pressed vases are typically shaped wider at the top than at the bottom in a tapered looking way. Of course, it is possible to have offshoots in the mold where glass can flow in solid, and you can even have a wider base, such as with the press mold vase Danaides.
In a mold blown vase, like a Cire Perdue vase, the glass blows out into the high relief areas, and they are generally “hollow” would be a good way to describe the inside of the relief design, with the shape of the inside of the vase mirroring the shape of the design of the outside. Put your fingers into any blown vase such as Six Figurines et Masques, or Sauterelles, and feel the design from the inside, something that you can’t typically do in a press mold vase. One other example to point you to on mold-blown vases is the famous Cire Perdue Exhibition Vase Huit Perruches that is shown in part in the Rene Lalique Bio here on the site. You can put your fingers into the birds from the inside of the vase, they are hollow not solid.
Now, there can be what we’ll call dimples on the inside of design elements in a press mold vase with high relief, little dips behind high relief design elements. From surmise and not glassmaking experience, these little dimples could be caused by the extra thickness of the glass where the high relief design element is, that is thicker than the surrounding wall area of the vase. When the vase is taken from the mold at the proper time, the thick design area will be a bit hotter than the wall, and there can be a little bit of a dimple created by very minor glass flow in the hotter area. But this is not the same as basically hollow where you can feel the design from the inside.
The vase in the ad has basically solid relief design elements typical of a mold pressed vase.
And think about the purpose of press molding, high pressure in a metal mold. Not in a clay or plaster mold used for Cire Perdue, where the pressure would typically blow the mold apart.
The design of the vase in the ad appears to be a loose copy of the vase design from the Lalique Cire Perdue Vase Quatre Feuilles De Rhubarbe, CP14, that is at the Musee des arts decoratifs in Paris. This famous vase was bought by the museum directly from Rene Lalique in 1913. According to the 1991 Rene Lalique Exhibition Catalogue from the Musee that is available here in the Rene Lalique Books and Library Section on Lalique Exhibition and Museum Books, on the museum’s inventory documentation it is noted their vase is a “Unique Piece”. Hard to believe that Rene Lalique would sell this as a unique vase to the curators of the Musee des arts decoratifs, and then make a copy or near copy to sell to someone else.
Note that we have this great museum book available in hardback, softback, English or French, new and nearly new. This book also has the included great photo of the famous authentic CP14 vase which you see here.
Obviously, analyses can differ, especially from photos. But between the great “bridge” language in the advertisement and the 10 or 12 points above, you should avoid the vase.
In the end, keep two things in focus. First, the motivation of the seller is irrelevant to you as a potential buyer. You only care what you know and what you get, not what the seller thinks or knows. It’s too much of a waste of time to worry about the motives or lack of motives of the seller. Worry about the piece! And two, in this instance the seller is not even claiming the vase is an RLalique vase, or that it’s a cire perdue vase, let alone an RLalique Cire Perdue vase. Maybe the ad is supposed to get you to make that conclusion on your own. Maybe not. Either way, we’ve concluded that the vase should be avoided!
UPDATE 12-23-09 and 2/1/10: The sellers canceled their listing after the appearance of this News and Blog article, removing all their photos and substituting bridge photos! Bridge photos! Guess which bridge! You have to love it! But they have now removed the bridge photos as well, so the only thing left is the Uncle story! END OF UPDATE
February 26th, 2010 Update: Switched Item Link To Cached Image Version
What place unites a Rene Lalique Cire Perdue Vase, old British Pounds, LaCoste clothing, Roman roads, medieval measuring, Thomas Jefferson, the French Revolution, and Peter the Great? Huh?
Here is a brief historical review!
Before the decimalization of the British currency in 1971, one British Pound Sterling equaled 20 Shillings composed of 12 Pence each, or a total of 240 Pence to the Pound. OK, you might be thinking, what does this have to do with a Lalique Cire Perdue Vase appearing in France? Well, we have to digress a bit.
The historical origin of the old British currency was the fact that the weight of a British Penny was 1/240th of a Troy pound of sterling silver. This measuring system of the weight of a penny, or Pennyweight, which is abbreviated as dwt (the d in dwt stands for the old Roman silver coin Denarius) traces its origin to medieval times, and to this day a Troy Ounce contains 20 dwt. There being 12 Troy Ounces to an old Troy pound, that would make 240 dwt or pennies to the pound. And there you have a bit of the origin of the pre-decimal British currency; Troy pounds and Troy ounces!
Now sadly, the Troy pound has fallen out of use* as a measurement factor, giving way to the globalization (before the term even existed) of currency units to the monetary equivalent of the library book organization system of Melvil Dewey (the Dewey Decimal System) wherein units of 100 are of prime importance. Monetarily, there are no countries left in the world that have not gone “currency decimal” **. If only Peter The Great had known what he was starting in 1710 when he set the value of a Russian Ruble at 100 Kopecks!
But while the Troy Pound has been tossed on the dust heap of history (the Troy Pound was booted in England in 1878), the Troy Ounce survives, mainly used today for measuring the weight of precious metals and gemstones. In the UK for example, the Troy Ounce measuring system is exempt from the wave of metrification that has swept away the old measuring systems on the islands. Apparently dentists and jewelers (and central bank types:) have some political pull in the UK!
And why do we care even a “plugged nickel’s” *** worth about all this currency business? Because the namesake of the Troy measuring system is an old Roman crossroads town and trading center in northeastern France, about 100 miles from Paris, where the Troy measuring system had its earliest known use. The name of this small city which today is comprised of around 60,000 people? Troyes! What a coincidence! And it is there, dear readers, in the hometown of the great French alligator fashion house LaCoste, in Troyes France, that the Rene Lalique Cire Perdue Vase which is the subject of this story, has appeared!
One more short step backwards in time: In 1930, Rene Lalique created two similar Lalique Cire Perdue Vases in succession, CP 566 Feuilles De Lierre Dentelees, and CP 567, Feuilles De Lierre Pointues. Both these cire perdue vases were exhibited in October 1931 at Galarie Rouard in Paris. CP 566 appeared almost exactly 6 years ago, on November 24th, 2003 at the Tajan auction house in Paris. It was listed by Tajan as being 18 cm tall and it’s pictured here. It sold as Lot 3 in their sale for €73,403 all-in, several times the estimate of €20,000-€25,000. Note that in November 2003, €73,000 was around $100,000. It’s also rumored authoritatively that the runner-up bid on CP 566 was placed from a phone in the desert, just a few miles from RLalique.com World Headquarters!
CP 567, the pointed leafed mate of the softer designed CP 566 is the lalique cire perdue vase that is being offered in Troyes on November 22nd!
A bit worse for the wear, CP 567, shown in the large photo at the beginning of this article, has had a few hard knocks in life. It’s missing some pieces, including a large chunk of glass out of the top rim, and the ends of some leaves. And there are other miscellaneous condition issues. The vase is 17.2 cm tall, with comparable width, which gives it a decent scope as far as Lalique’s Cire Perdue is concerned. The estimate on this vase is only €2,000-€2,500 a mere 1/10 the estimate of it’s mate. The estimate seems a tad on the low side, even considering the extensive condition issues. But of course, if you are considering bidding, as always, you should investigate all relevant matters directly.
Might be a great opportunity to acquire a good sized piece of usually very expensive Cire Perdue glass for any collector wanting to at least have an example of Cire Perdue in their collection.
The seller of the vase is the auction house Boisseau & Pomez. Their phone number in Troyes is +33.03.25.73.34.07
Of course, this Lalique Cire Perdue Vase is listed in our Lalique at Auction section here at RLalique.com. And you can see other examples of Rene Lalique Cire Perdue by visiting our biography of Lalique, or by clicking on the Cire Perdue tag at the end of this article to see other articles relating to the Cire Perdue works of Rene Lalique.
* France was the third large country in the world to dump the Troy measuring system! After the 1710 Russian currency changes, it would be over 80 years until another large country followed suit when the Americans established their currency on a decimal basis in 1792 (the Thomas Jefferson thing). Three years later, in the turmoil of the French Revolution, France revamped its own currency to decimal format in 1795. It would be roughly another 80 years before the British in 1878, dumped what was in reality, a traditional French measuring system that had already been abandoned by the French!
** We’re ignoring the handful of countries that have increments of 1000 and not 100 (decimal on steroids?), and also the possible couple of countries with just one currency unit that is not divided by anything!
*** The expression “plugged nickel” originates in the American West in the late 1800’s (the Wild West era). It refers to the practice of extracting metal from coins by punching out a hole and then filling or plugging the hole with some worthless material so the coin could still be used (this from the days of course when coins actually contained valuable metals :). So a plugged nickel, being only a nickel to begin with, and not being even legal tender once defaced, would be worthless. The expression lives on to this day to denote something that has no value or is not worth anything. It’s the best we could do to work a monetary expression into to this story!
Quick! Your chance to grab a cheap piece of R Lalique Cire Perdue Glass is evaporating with each passing second. Just as the lost wax melts away, so your opportunity is draining away as well. Run, don’t walk to your computer (oh, you already are on your computer, hmmmmmmm) and bid early and often on the Rene Lalique Cire Perdue Vase that has appeared on Ebay. Here’s the title of the ad:
Art Deco R Lalique Cire Perdue Vase COQ Crystal Signed!
And here is a link to a saved/cached image version of the original 400075284244 listing online. You may have to use the zoom function of your browser (or whatever program opens images for you) to get the cached image to expand in the window if it does not appear full size. After clicking on the link to the item, a new window will open with the cached image in it. On a Mac, just click on the image and see if that expands it. If not, press the apple key and click on the cached image in your browser window. On a PC, hold down the alt key while clicking on the cached image.
Get your bid in before some smart buyer gets the seller to sell it cheap off-line and stop the sale.
This is the best line from the description: “Up for consideration from the estate is an Art Deco R Lalique Cire Perdue Vase that was located in a locked curio cabinet in the family room.” Glad to know it was in a locked cabinet. That’s a mark of authenticity if ever there was one, and something all potential buyers really need to know if they have any doubts about the claims of the seller. Yes, it was locked up totally, which means it’s definitely Cire Perdue. 🙂
If you are tempted to jump right in with that big bid, you might want to consider The Rene Lalique Consulting Services we offer before throwing your money away :).
And of course, you can see some examples of real R Lalique Cire Perdue by checking out the blog posts here at RLalique.com that discuss Cire Perdue. And we also we have a few R Lalique Cire Perdue Vases partially pictured on the Rene Lalique Bio page as well.
Be careful out there. And oh, doesn’t this Cire Perdue Glass vase look strangely similar to the R.Lalique production vase Coq Et Plumes? Probably just the lighting in the photo.
Rene Lalique’s R.Lalique Glass Auction Sales Results Continue Strong: At Christie’s South Kensington Semi-Annual Lalique Sale on May 20th, a sale we discussed in this Rene Lalique Auctions Preview (and where you can see more photos of R Lalique items mentioned here), sales prices showed once again that the market for R Lalique is quite strong with firm to high prices achieved throughout the entire range of the works of the great Rene Lalique. Christies offered a small 62 lot selection, of which 44 lots sold, resulting in a take-up rate of 71% by volume. The sale totaled a premium inclusive £265,541 British Pounds, or approximately $415,000 US dollars at today’s estimated 1.56 dollars to the pound exchange rate. The average lot price was over $9400!
High seller was the stunning R Lalique Centerpiece Deux Cavaliers, sold at £55,000, and totaling £67,250 with premium, or around $105,000. Next was the fresh to market unique Rene Lalique Cire Perdue Vase Chardons, making a bid of £40,000 against an estimate of £25,000 to £30,000, for a premium inclusive total of £49,250 or approximately $77,000. Surprisingly in 3rd place, was the final lot in the sale, an R Lalique Opalescent Alicante Vase, estimated at £10,000 to £15,000, but which made a bid price of £25,000, for a premium inclusive total of £31,250 or around $49,000. All three of the preceeding lots were reported to be in good condition with only the most minor issues if any. Fourth highest seller was the large and early Lalique Vase Grand Boule Lierre which made a bid of £17,500 with polishing to the base, or a total of £21,875 or around $34,000. Fifth place went to the pair of Rene Lalique Grand Depot Lamps at £14,000/£17,500/$27,500, followed in sixth place by a good looking yellow amber R Lalique Tourbillons Vase at £11,000/£13,750/$21,500.
The top six lots accounted for all in total prices of £162,500/£200,875/$313,500 or roughly just over 75% of the total pounds or dollars of the sale. After these six lots prices dropped off substantially, as these six were the only lots making more than £10,000 or $10,000. The next highest selling prices were £5000 with premium for a Rene Lalique Aigrettes Vase and £4750 all-in for an opalescent R Lalique Ceylon vase with seemingly minor issues.
Only two of the hoped for high selling lots failed to find new homes; a wonderful looking R Lalique Paons Lamp estimated at £35,000-£40,000, and the R Lalique Chandelier Hirondelles, estimated at £20,000-£25,000.
There was also strength in the middle market as well, with an opalescent Spirales Vase making an all-in £2,500, an opalescent Rampillon making an all-in £1,375, and the seal cachet Deux Danseuses making an all-in £3,000.
All in all, a very strong sale put together by Department Head Joy McCall and the rest of the highly competent (helpful and friendly!) staff at Christies South Kensington. It follows on the heals of several solid to strong performances for the works of Rene Lalique at auction around the world this Spring. And of course it’s great news that Christies continues these longstanding and highly successful dedicated semi-annual Lalique Sales, even as the major auction houses make adjustments and consolidations in other areas due to the current economic climate.
Lalique: The Catalogue For The Semi-Annual Sale Of The Works Of The Great Rene Lalique (with some modern Cristal Lalique thrown in) At Christies South Kensington On May 20th Is Now Online: Lalique at Christies South Kensington will have the smallest number of lots in recent memory and likely in the history of this R Lalique auction sale mainstay. The mix of 62 offerings contains several noteworthy items. In addition, all but half a dozen of the 62 lots were produced during the lifetime of Rene Lalique and all but two are original Rene Lalique designs. Top estimated lots are the Rene Lalique Cire Perdue Vase Chardons carrying an estimate of £25,000 to £30,000 British Pounds; the Rene Lalique Peacock Lamp Paons, a wonderful R Lalique design estimated at £35,000 to £40,000; the huge and striking Rene Lalique table centerpiece Deux Cavaliers, estimated at £40,000 to £60,000; the large R Lalique Hirondelles Lighting Fixture estimated at £20,000 to £25,000; and the great early Rene Lalique Vase Grande Boule Lierre, carrying a £20,000 to £30,000 estimate. There’s a furniture specialist in London working for Christies that can tell you a great story about a drive thru the Australian countryside after leaving a house inspection meant to look at furniture, but instead departing with an R.Lalique Grande Boule Lierre Vase belted into the passenger seat for the ride back to the office!
Of course the most attractive lots are not always the most expensive, depending on your tastes and R Lalique collecting interests. For example, there is a great Tananarive Enameled Covered Box. There is also the classy Deux Danseuses Cachet, and a pair of wonderful, almost Frank Lloyd Wright (who’s southwestern desert seat, Taliesin West, is but a stone’s throw from the ancestral home of RLalique.com) style Grand Depot Lamps! All three of these are amazing R Lalique lots in their own right, though they don’t command the prices of some of the items previously mentioned.
The sale is notable not just for small numbers but also for the lack of colored R Lalique items. There’s an R.Lalique Tourbillons Vase in yellow/amber glass, an R.Lalique Bacchantes Vase in Gray Glass, the R.Lalique Vase Albert in Topaz Glass, as well as a Topaz Coq Nain R Lalique Mascot, a single lot containing the R Lalique Seal and Ashtray (Cachet and Cendrier) Lapin in Topaz, and the Blue Glass R.Lalique Pendant Serpent. That is all the colored glass in the sale. Thankfully, gray and topaz are considered colors; else we’d have only 2 colored R.Lalique lots to discuss instead of 6! That is less than 10% of the sale, and of course, it’s a 6, not a 26 or a 36 or a 46. Rene Lalique colored vases and other colored production pieces are in great demand and short supply, and this line-up is just another indicator of the difficulty in obtaining great colored RLalique items.
With the smaller numbers, some areas of Rene Lalique collecting are almost totally absent. Lalique perfume bottles, Lalique statues and Lalique car mascots are few or non-existent among the offerings. But as in many R Lalique Auctions, vases are the most prevalent offering. Roughly 60% of the lots in this sale are vases.
You can check out the Lalique Sales catalogue at Christies. The department head at South Kensington is Joy McCall. Her phone number is +44 (0)20 7752 3236 and her email is email@example.com. If you McCall (that’s a pun about calling Joy McCall – sorry Joy :), don’t forget to tell her about RLalique.com and our lousy puns!
And also, don’t forget to keep us in mind here at RLalique.com if you require assistance or consulting on any or all of the items in this sale, or any other sales listed in our Rene Lalique Auctions Worldwide Section. You can find out the details of our buyer consulting services on our Rene Lalique Consulting Page.
The Rene Lalique Cire Perdue Vase “Orsades de Dranches Avec Graines”, which appeared at Drouot Estimations early this week in Paris, sold for a premium inclusive 69,400 Euros or approximately $97,000 US Dollars at todays rates. The roughly 8 inch RLalique Cire Perdue Vase, made in 1922, had not previously been photographed. It appeared in the Catalogue Raisonne only as a drawing: CP 479. The vase was signed R.Lalique and inscribed 414··22 for the mold number (414) and the year (22).
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?
BUT, 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! A 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.
One 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.
Christies South Kensington’s Semi-Annual Sale of of the works of the great Rene Lalique, posted a very respectable sale total of £318,450 including buyer’s premium. The sale had a catalogued 126 lots, but a couple were withdrawn and not offered. A total of 90 lots sold, for a respectable take up rate of 71%, which would be bit higher if the withdrawals were removed from consideration. High seller was of course the fresh to market R Lalique 1929 Cire Perdue Vase Feuilles Fougeres, CP551, which appears in the R Lalique Catalogue Raisonne only with information that it exists, and without even a drawing, let alone a picture. A photo of this vase has graced our home page for the better part of the past month. Measuring around 4.75 inches high (slightly smaller than a Rampillon Vase), this unique vase had a high relief design, and was in nearly original condition. The buyer was a London dealer in the room, thought by some observers to be acting on behalf of another dealer that wished to remain anonymous (intrigue). Big question – Who will step up to tell Christie’s “I saw it at RLalique.com”? These concerns aside, it sold for £32,450 including the buyer’s premium, against an estimate of £20,000 to £30,000.
Here is the video from the British Antiques Roadshow when they appraised the newly found Cire Perdue for the consignor:
For more info on the unique cire perdue creations of Rene Lalique, visit the Lalique Cire Perdue section of the Rene Lalique Bio.
Colored vases dominated the rest of the high selling list, comprising 5 of the 7 other lots to break £10,000. These included R Lalique Red Poissons, Blue Perruches, Blue Tuileries, Blue Milan, and an Green Languedoc Vases, in addition to an R Lalique Opal Bacchantes and a Boule De Gui Chandelier. A successful and solid sale with much bidding activity in the room from dealers and collectors, and phone bidders active on a very high percentage of lots.
With a crowd that was wall to wall and out the door, Ebay live bidding available, and half dozen phone lines in play, the Rene Lalique 1919 Cire Perdue covered vase Frise Chiens was sold today at James D. Julia auction house in Maine. This one of a kind Cire Perdue, which was the pictured highlight item on our RLalique.com Home Page for the RLalique At Auction Section during the past 10 days, was hammered down for $52,000 plus a minimum buyer’s premium of 15% or $7,800 for a total sale price of $59,800 against a pre sale estimate of $25K to 30K. The buyer’s premium and total sale price may be higher than stated here, depending on the buyer’s payment method. The 5 and 1/2 inch vase showed several small chips to the top rim of the vase and the edge of the cover, as well as a larger chip which removed a “Chien’s” (dog’s) head (see photo below). This vase had previously been shown in the Catalogue Raisonne only by the original Rene Lalique drawing, a photo of it not having been previously available. All things considered, a good price for a one of kind unique work of art by the great Rene Lalique. And we can only hope that the buyer remembered to tell them what is becoming an increasingly familiar phrase at auction houses around the world: “I saw it at RLalique.com!”