R Lalique Cire Perdue Wasp Vase by Rene Lalique

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R. Lalique Silver Rhinoceros Beetles Chalice Sells for $235,000!

October 19th, 2015

R. Lalique Silver Chalice Decorated With Rhinoceros Beetles” title=In the 1989 movie The Last Crusade starring Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, while facing a life or death choice among a table full of chalices with just one chance to identify the legendary Holy Grail and save his father, Jones passes over all the ornate goblets and settles on the plainest Jane* of the lot.

Making his choice he famously exclaims That’s the cup of a carpenter.**

Well, he would have taken a pass on October 15th at the Fauvre Paris Auction House, where an amazingly simple, elegant and incredibly unique goblet by Rene Lalique appeared at auction with a restrained pre-sale estimate of €40,000 – €60,000.

The 6 and 1/4 inch goblet featured a stylized repeating intertwined thin leaves motif silver openwork frame with rhinoceros beetles highlighted by blue and black enamel, all surrounding blown in opalescent glass. In addition it had a well worked base and a pretty cool beetle mark on the underside.

It was classic Rene Lalique, devoid of expensive gems, and having nothing in common with the ornate bejeweled chalices so long in fashion among the upper classes and royalty of the period.

It was art plain and simple, in the great tradition of Lalique’s unique metalwork and jewelry, for which Emile Galle named Lalique “the inventor of modern jewelry”.

Making great objects as art, using materials only for what they bring to the piece, and not for their intrinsic value, Lalique was able to call forth pictures in his mind, and bring them to fruition in a way that his contemporaries could not imagine. Rhinoceros beetles as the design highlight of a great chalice?***

The chalice was created during the period 1895 to 1897. It was exhibited at the l’Exposition Universelle de Paris in 1900, which was the groundbreaking appearance for the jewelry and unique objects of Rene Lalique. It was again shown at the Salon de 1902, section Arts Décoratifs in Paris where it was acquired and then descended to the consignor at the auction.

Obviously notwithstanding the lack of jewels or excessive highly worked precious metals, Lot 77 was not the cup of a carpenter. It was the cup of an artistic genius and highly accomplished jeweler.

Today, the phrase Holy Grail is not just used to describe the cup of Christ or other alternate objects.

R. Lalique Silver Chalice Decorated With Rhinoceros Beetles: Beetle Mark On Underside” title=It’s also come to mean something you want very much; something of great significance that’s very important; or something that is difficult to accomplish or achieve.****

The Chalice had one condition problem. The blown in opalescent glass was severely damaged (though reasonably stable) as shown in the last photo here. That did not deter the roughly dozen serious bidders that competed from across the globe for the chance to own the great object of desire.

From one end of North America to the other, and from the UK to the edge of Europe and beyond, the auctioneer Cedric Melado heard from phone bidders competing with strong left bids and room bidders to make the acquisition. Bid amounts quickly left the pre-sale estimate behind and one by one the competitors withdrew until only a Frenchman in the room remained the last man standing.

He outlasted all the international interest and won the day with a final all-in bid of €206,250 (or about $235,000).

The new owner has at least one thing in common with Indiana Jones; they both chose wisely.

Kudos both to the auction house and to the expert Amélie Marcilhac. The auction house and expert got the sale information and extensive lot information out in a timely manner, and responded to inquiries immediately. And of course, they got the attention of RLalique.com. Getting all necessary information and getting questions answered was quick, easy, and professionally managed. Our experience shows that top notch service and complete information encourages confidence in bidders. The sale of this chalice was a good example of how to do it right.

R. Lalique Silver Chalice Decorated With Rhinoceros Beetles Cracked Damaged Glass” title=Of course a good day for the auction house and their expert, and a great day for the great Rene Lalique.

For additional information, see this Chalice’s auction page here at RLalique.com.

* A plain Jane is an ordinary looking or average girl or woman. It has also come to mean any ordinary looking object.

** Holy Grail Object: A cup, plate, stone, etc. of too many legends and connections to recount here. But what Harrison Ford did in the movie, was cement a connection in much of the modern public mind between the legend of the Holy Grail and the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper, the Holy Chalice. That connection is but one of many stories and explanations that have developed over time.

*** Rhinoceros Beetles: Maybe they reminded him of his mother-in-law.

**** Holy Grail Expression: For example, a cure for all cancers would be the holy grail for many medical researchers.

Rago Comes With Great R. Lalique: The Tradition Continues!

October 11th, 2015

R. Lalique Elephants Bowl

When you think about auction houses around the world that handle large amounts of R. Lalique, you naturally think first of the 4 big companies that claim to have the highest total dollar sales. They all conduct auctions in multiple locations and they all get a substantial amount of R. Lalique.

But what you might not know, is that that the No. 5 leading auction house for R. Lalique items doesn’t have a salesroom in Paris, or London, or New York. Nope! And it’s not L.A. or Chicago either.

R. Lalique Cluny Vase In Topaz Glass With Bronze HandlesFor the No. 5 you’d want to take a trip to a former ferry location on the Delaware River just a stone’s throw from Pennsylvania. It’s a small town in a rural area that in the early 1800’s was named, in a longstanding American tradition, after a politician in same year it got its first post office! Well, 200 years later, there is still only one post office.

And while the town’s population seemed like it was going to break the 4000 persons ceiling in 1990 when it reached over 3900 residents, it still has not been able to do so even 25 years later.

To be fair, we keep calling it a town but it is a city; one of the smallest cities in the United States. And contrary to what might come to mind when the geography challenged neophytes that rely heavily on stereotypes might understandably think when they hear “New Jersey”, Lambertville is not Newark. Not even close.

Lambertville is a great quiet, artsy, quaint, antique haunt, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. When you throw in a surprising selection of unique restaurants and some amazing bed-and-breakfast lodgings, you have the makings of a very pleasant long-weekend only an hour and a half outside of New York City.

And getting to the point of our story, if you are an R. Lalique collector, well it can be really pleasant. Because Lambertville is home to the Rago Arts And Auction Center, likely the world’s No. 5 auction house seller of R. Lalique over the last 10 to 15 years. Rago has sold an average of around 200 R. Lalique pieces per year over that time frame.

On October 16th, 2015 Rago will add to their great R. Lalique history with a near 80 lot offering of a wonderful looking single owner collection.**

R. Lalique Six Tetes DecanterAbout 50 of the lots are vases, and about 30 of those vases are colored vases.

The biggest pre-sale estimate belongs to Lot 1, a topaz glass bronze handled Cluny Vase estimated at $80,000 – $100,000. The colored vase selection includes several Perruches, several Ronces, and 2 each of Monnaie Du Papes and Formoses.

For non-colored glass vases there is the seldom seen Los Angeles Vase and an enameled Antilopes Vase, as well as many others.

There are also some non-vase rarities including an Elephants Bowl ($12,000 – $16,000), a Caravelle Decoration ($65,000 – $80,000), and a Normandie Lamp ($6,000 – $8,000).

You can see all the lots in the catalogue online HERE!

Three great things about this sale jump out from the catalogue. First, overall the pieces look great. Second, the selection of items in the sale is exactly the marketable kind of items that many collectors are looking for today. And third, in the main*** the estimates appear very reasonable. It doesn’t look like they’re starting out at top dollar and hoping to move up from there. It appears they plan to sell the stuff.

Those three points are further enhanced by the fact that Rago states that they guarantee the condition reports that you will find online linked from every lot in the sale. If something looks good you can read the guaranteed condition report right there.

Frank Maraschiello, a former Director at Bonhams in New York City, has recently affiliated with Rago. A lot of the staff at Rago has handled a bunch of R. Lalique over the years, and Frank has seen a decent amount as well. He can be reached through the main phone number for the auction house: (609) 397-9374.

When you talk to Frank about the pieces of interest, also ask him about the guarantee of the condition reports. But remember, satisfy yourself first. Do your homework first. The guarantee is a great bonus, but it’s just that, a bonus. If they mess-up, and then you mess-up, you have another backstop. A backstop you should not be expecting to need because you did your homework!

With the great knowledge and experience of the Rago staff; the great looking selection, the reasonable estimates, and the continuing good market for R. Lalique, it has all the makings of another successful Rago sale, and another great day for the great Rene Lalique.

** Well there are actually two joint owners listed in the catalogue. But for “offering” purposes and assumedly some others, they are considered to be one. 🙂

*** “In the main” means “for the most part”.

R. Lalique Plumes De Paon Bowl In Blue Glass

R. Lalique Cire Perdue Vase Appears At Auction Online!

October 10th, 2015

R. Lalique Cire Perdue Vase Branches De Mures Formant Deux AnsesCire 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 starting price was $999 with no reserve.

You can see the online auction HERE!

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.

R. Lalique Cire Perdue Vase Branches De Mures Formant Deux Anses Underside Showing Signature And Other MarkingsOf 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”).

R. Lalique At Christie’s South Kensington: Strong Results!

June 24th, 2015

Christie’s June 16th semi-annual sale of R. Lalique added to what has been a long string of twice yearly solid to stellar performances stretching back for some time. The sale made a premium inclusive* £584,375/$911,625** of which £570,000/$889,000 was for the 91 sold R. Lalique lots, or an average of approximately £6264/$9800 for the R. Lalique.

R. Lalique Firebird Oiseau De Feu Centerpiece Missing Original Base

As is more often the case than not, most of the offered lots were vases (70 of the 128 R. Lalique lots***), and they took up the better part of the high sellers after the top spot. That honor went to the rare model Source De La Fontaine Statue that sold as Lot 50 for £30,000/$47,000.

R. Lalique Quatre Masques Vase With Handle” title=This shows that the sale had good depth when looked at by prices achieved, as no single lot accounted for even 6% of the sale total.

The next top four prices were all vases (save one item that tied for 5th place) as follows:

2. Lot 67 Perruches Vase Cased White Opalescent £23,750/$37,000
3. Lot 44 Perruches Vase Cased Red £22,500/$35,000
4. Lot 09 Quatre Masques Vase with handle £21,250/$33,000
5. TIE Lot 01 Serpent Vase with heavy patina £20,000/$31,000
5. TIE Lot 06 Firebird Decoration without the original base £20,000/$31,000

The sold percentage by lots was 98/137 or 71.5% overall, and 91/128 or 71% for the R. Lalique.

The opalescent Perruches Vase was a strong price. But one other sale item deserving of special mention was Lot 7, a clear glass Chamois Vase Model No. 1075 shown below.

This would typically be about a £500/$800 vase on a good day.

But with red staining and enamel it made £13,125/$20,500. Ignoring the fact that if the vase were red glass it may not have made that kind of number, somebody got themselves about $20,000 of red paint and enamel (P&E)!

We can’t say for sure if the applied coloring was original or not because we never handled the vase.

R. Lalique Chamois Vase With Red Enamel And Red PatinaHowever we can say without hesitation that with the high price paid for the P&E, we’ll undoubtedly be seeing more P&E vases with wonderful colors in the future.

That wry**** observation aside, once again Joy McCall and her great staff came through with a good selection of items including a lot of colored glass vases. Their presentation was top notch, the customer service was high level, and the promotion was thorough. The result was another good day for Christie’s and another great day for R. Lalique.

* All sale figures used are premium inclusive.

** All dollar amounts are based on the estimate of $1.56 per British Pound and are rounded.

*** 2 of the R. Lalique lots were only partly R. Lalique.

**** “Wry” is dry and sometimes ironic humor. Consider this from actor Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer talking to a bad guy on the American T.V. Series 24 – “The only reason that you’re conscious right now is because I don’t want to carry you.” Of course he might not have been joking. Interestingly, Kiefer’s full name is Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland. Aspirations of royalty? His dad is the great Canadian actor Donald Sutherland, who is kindly remembered for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the original 1970 movie Mash. Of course 45 years later, Donald is most famous for his role in the Hunger Games movies. However for true aficionados of mindless entertainment (count this writer all-in for that), his most important and lifetime achievement role (think Charlton Heston as Moses in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 movie The Ten Commandments) was in the 1978 National Lampoon movie Animal House. Most people I talk to (an admittedly and curiously narrow group) have seen that movie at least a dozen times.

R.Lalique Leaves The Building: Prices Strong With Some Through The Roof At Christie’s London

May 4th, 2014

In any collecting field, when an auction puts down a new world record auction price or two, it’s a statement about the health of the market and the worldwide interest in the artist. This is about a sale with likely double-digit auction records.

Sauterelles Vase Rene Lalique Green Glass GrasshoppersOn April 30th, Christie’s cataloged 84 lots of R. Lalique at their King Street salerooms. All were from the same European based consignor and all apparently acquired in the last few years. So “fresh to market” would not apply here, with most of the goods having been to rodeo* quite recently.

To say that vases dominated the offerings and the results would be a bit of an understatement. Of the 84 lots originally cataloged, only 8 were not vases. With Lot 83, the highly questionable gray Bacchantes Vase being withdrawn** prior to the start, 75 of the 83 lots presented at the podium were R. Lalique Vases. The group included 3 cire perdue vases, both Cluny and Senlis Vases, and a total of 54 colored glass vases, assuming of course you regard gray and black as colors in the R.Lalique world! ***

Formose Vase Rene Lalique Cased Opalescent Blue-Green Agate GlassSo of the 83 lots offered, the auction house reports that 62 were sold****, for a roughly 75% sales rate on the lot numbers. The premium inclusive total (used for all the following sales numbers) was £1,361,375 or about £21,950 per lot average selling price. Using an approximate real life exchange rate of 1.71 dollars to the Brit Pound (again for all that follows), that makes the sale total about $2,328,000, or $37,550 per sold lot.

Let’s talk about the likely world record prices at auction for particular lots (keeping in mind the vagaries of what exchange rate to use for comparison, not knowing if the buyer had additional costs such as sales tax or vat, etc.):

Lot 3 Formose Vase (Agate) £23,750/$40,600 – for the model
Lot 7 Ronces Vase (Blue) £17,500/$29,900 – for the model
Lot 13 Penthievre Vase (Amber) £35,000/$59,900- for this color of the model, and likely for the model
Lot 15 Serpent Vase (Amber) £35,000/$59,900 – for the model *****
Lot 39 Esterel Vase (Amber) £6,875/$11,750 – for the model
Lot 47 Gros Scarabees Vase (clear/frosted) £17,500/$29,900 – for this color (well, colorless) of the model
Lot 51 Sauterelles Vase (Opalescent) £43,750/$74,800 – for this color (and for maybe 20 minutes) for the model
Lot 60 Ceylon Vase (Yellow Amber) £27,500/$47,000 – for the model
Lot 63 Sauterelles Vase (Green) £57,500/$98,300 – for the model
Lot 73 Borromee Vase (Blue) £32,500/$55,600 – for the model
Lot 77 Martin Pecheurs Vase (Black) £43,750/$74,800 – for the model
Lot 80 Montargis Vase (Black) £40,000/$68,400 – for the model

And a real close one:

Lot 54 Terpsichore (Opalescent) £37,500/$64,100 – for the model a very close 2nd place but considering the slightly higher selling vase had more than just a passing opalescence, this is a really strong result.

Cluny Vase Rene Lalique Bronze Masque And Serpent Attachments Over Smokey GlassThat’s a decent number of likely world record prices in a relatively small sale out of only 62 sold lots.

Lest you are tempted to let thoughts of the superior investing acumen of the seller fog your brain, let’s take a bit of If/If time here using the amber Serpent Vase as an example. The all-in price paid at Heritage was $56,762.50. That would be the buyer’s cost. But the hammer price (not the all-in price shown above that would include the auction house buyers premium, but the price relevant to the seller’s proceeds) at this sale was $48,880. There would also be some expenses off that $48,800 such as a likely a seller commission, shipping back and forth to parts known and unknown, etc. Surely the seller hit some winners and just as surely got nicked a bit here and there as well. All If/If of course:).

But to settle the big picture, it’s rumored that the consignor was sitting in the saleroom during the auction and did not appear to be dissatisfied with the ongoing results. Also likely satisfied was the single bidder that bought roughly a quarter of the lots in the sale (including the yellow Ceylan Vase, the green Sauterelles Vase, the blue Borromee Vase, the black Lezards Et Bluets Vase, and the agate Formose Vase), or all of the top five purchasers that accounted for roughly half the sale lots.

Serpent Vase Rene Lalique Dark Amber Glass Coiled SnakeThe high seller was Lot 25, the Cluny Vase which made £116,500/$199,200. The runner-up was the Cire Perdue Covered Vase Lot 45 which made £92,500/$158,200. Curiously, one disappointment of the sale was that the runner-up vase was the only one of the three cire perdue vases to sell. Of course estimates were high as they were throughout the sale owing likely to the high prices recently paid by the seller, but that didn’t stop many of the colored glass commercial vases from making strong numbers. Also with only three cire perdues, it might just be too small a sample to draw conclusions from. And there might be other issues concerning specific pieces that caused a lack of bidding.

Ceylan Vase Rene Lalique Yellow Amber Eight Birds Motif GlassOur thoughts on the market and the meaning of the higher prices have remained steady for many years now, and this sale does not alter them. Even the large numbers of world record prices do not signal some tulip bulb or Silicon Valley stock style bubble. In any rising market, especially art, there will be individual items that get a bit over-heated in an instance. But the overall market, even for colored vases and mascots (two sometimes hot areas) can best be described over the last 18 years, beginning in 1996, as making a steady and general uphill climb. A few examples to make the point:

10 to 15 years ago, an opalescent green Rampillon Vase sold for about $6600 on Ebay. Over a decade later, it made under $11,000 at this sale******. In the same time frame, some colored Ronces were selling in the $10,000 range. So 15 years later on outlier world record on one vase makes $30,000. But the group of Ronces taken together was certainly not out of control. Did the green grasshopper vase go through the roof? Sure. But that’s only one vase. The four Formoses as a group, notwithstanding the agate example going quite high, were strong but not crazy. All the Perruches Vases were also firm but not wild, and certainly not records. And even some of the likely record prices were close (arguably close) to previous record highs.

Rampillon Vase Rene Lalique Green Opalescent GlassYou also have to consider the venue and how that impacts pricing. Joy McCall and her staff have built a high quality reputation that gives comfort to all bidders, but especially new and inexperienced ones. The Christie’s sales of R. Lalique have tended toward the high side in recent years as they’ve drawn in some great material, and also attracted the then current crop of higher end bidders building up (and chasing up at times) collections. Those bidders feel that they can bid with confidence at these sales, and this impacts prices of course.

When owners come to RLalique.com for an evaluation of their items, we tell them that in addition to all the other considerations, that speed, cost, method, timing, and location of sale are significant factors in the expected value of art. These are not listed stocks where you call your broker and sell in an instant for the one penny spread. Confidence plays a great role in both the acquisition and disposition of art, and here we believe it has played a large one.

Overall, just the kind of results you could anticipate in a firm market, at the right venue, with solid material offered.

If you are looking for more information about any of the R. Lalique models that sold in this sale (or any that didn’t), check out the R. Lalique Catalog here at RLalique.com.

All in all, another great day for the great Rene Lalique.

* “Been to the rodeo before” or “This ain’t my first rodeo” are American expressions indicating that the same thing has happened or been experienced before, or something that’s happening is familiar.

** Here at RLalique.com, we noticed a couple of years ago during our daily world wide auction searches, a spate of supposed grey glass R. Lalique Bacchantes Vases appearing at auction in Europe. They were highly suspicious for their numbers, and for a couple of other reasons best kept close to the vest. They had concave bottoms and what appeared to some to be passable signatures. But of course, R. Lalique Gray Bacchantes Vases do not drop like overripe mangos from a rainforest tree, so both eyebrows and alarms were raised. We talked to the purchaser of one of the vases, and it turned out in due time that this purchaser’s vase was in fact a modern crystal reproduction, heavily worked with a false signature applied, to be passed off as authentic R. Lalique. We can only assume 🙂 because of the vase, the color, and the timing of the consignor’s acquisitions, that the withdrawal was well advised and foreseeable.

*** Gray is a color, and for this color-blind writer (in both a physical and metaphysical sense), it is the most prevalent color. 🙂 Black on the other hand is really the absence of color, but black R. Lalique items are considered by most, from a collecting standpoint to be colored pieces. The Oracle says this is the correct view on all levels (again, both physically and metaphysically speaking), as Rene Lalique could not have produced a true, colorless black glass.

**** We have Lot 10, the red Escargot Vase, as having passed at £18,000 and not selling. The published sales results show that vase selling for £20,000 plus £7500 premium, for an all-in total of £27,500 and this amount along with the sale is included in the reported results above. We assume it sold after it passed (non-buyers remorse?), but fast enough to beat the results to press and be included just as if it sold from the podium.

***** The dark amber glass Serpent Vase in this sale is likely the previous world auction record holder from Heritage Auctions, where it made just a bit less. This standout example of the classic deco design graced the halls of World Headquarters for many years before being released to set the world record price for the model on now two different occasions.

****** Thankfully, the Christie’s London staff had the good sense not to repeat the November 1995 Park Avenue catalog calumny that only five of these green opalescent Rampillon Vases are known to exist. This author once had three of them in hand at the same time (yah yah, big hands) and pulled out that catalog just to have a good laugh.

A Rene Lalique Tristan Vase In Blue Glass Sells For $125,000 At Sotheby’s New York

January 19th, 2014

Rene Lalique Tristan Vase In Blue Glass

If you always wondered what King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, 16th Century Portuguese explorers, the movie “Legends of the Fall”, U.S. baby naming preferences, and Rene Lalique have in common; well we have the answer right here!

Tristan And Iseult In An Arthur James Draper Depiction In Arthurian legend, Tristan (as shown here in an Arthur James Draper depiction) is the 12th century** Cornish Knight of the Round Table having a scandalous relationship with Iseult, the wife of the King. Incidentally, this tale of complicated involvement was kept alive in story form in France by hundreds of poets over the following centuries.

A few hundred years later, the Portuguese explorer Tristao da Cunha stumbled upon what is now the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, around 1750 miles south of South Africa. He named the main island and the island group after himself. Go figure.*** The islands have a bit of a colorful history being used as a weather station and U-Boat monitoring facility during World War II; being visited by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1957 (with the pictured main town Edinburgh of the Seven Seas then named after him); and being dang close to a late 1950’s U.S. Atomic Bomb test!

Edinburgh On The Seven Seas Settlement On Tristan Island But before the 1900’s, when the Brits got a hold of the islands (formerly annexing them in 1816 just after the first permanent settler from of all places Salem Massachusetts landed in 1810), they dissed Tristao and changed the name to Tristan da Cunha, a name that has been shortened colloquially to Tristan. Note that the Queen of England still reigns over Tristan and it’s 250 or so inhabitants.

In 1928, Rene Lalique, a man not unfamiliar with complicated involvements, introduced his vase model no. 1013. The vase was a heavy plain round container, with a pair of opposing large upward pointing and outward curving leafs. He named the vase Tristan.

Legends Of The Fall Partial Movie PosterA little closer to our own time, after the great movie “Legends of the Fall” was released in 1994, Tristan, the name of the character in the movie played by Brad Pitt, became (and remains to this day) one of the top 100 baby boy names in the United States! Sadly, the author of Legends Of The Fall, Jim Harrison, passed away in Patagonia Arizona March 26th, 2016, not far from World Headquarters. He had moved from rural Michigan to Montana (the setting for the story), and Arizona. In each place he wrote in solitude, surrounded by natural beauty. And while he stood on the shoulders of Thoreau, his writing was uniquely his own. He was regarded by many as the greatest living American fiction writer.

And in our own time, and perhaps more important to most readers than all the preceding (unless of course you are a relative of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland author Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, whose younger brother was a missionary and schoolteacher on Tristan); on December 18th at the Sotheby’s salerooms in New York City, a cobalt blue Rene Lalique Tristan Vase appeared as Lot No. 122. The 8 inch by 13 inch vase, with its unique form and rare coloring was estimated at $45,000 to $60,000. But by the time the hammer came down it had more than doubled the high end of that estimate with a final sales price including commissions of $125,000!

Yogi Berra In New York Yankees UniformThat price makes the blue Tristan Vase total, one of the five highest auction sale prices that we know of having ever been recorded for a colored glass R. Lalique commercial vase, putting it in close company with the red Hirondelles Vase, the cased yellow Oranges Vase, and the blue Poissons Vase.

Another world record auction price for an R. Lalique Vase. It’s like déjà vu all over again.****

** 12th Century: or 11th or 13th, you can never be too approximate with legends.
*** “Go figure” is an American slang with a few related uses, including the one here to emphasize and ridicule that the obvious or expected had happened.
**** “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” is one of many famous expressions from the New York Yankees great Yogi Berra. He had a well-deserved reputation for entertaining phrases including “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” When asked about his reported ability to twist a phrase, he replied “I really didn’t say everything I said.”

Rene Lalique’s Perruches Vases Fly High: New Records At South Kensington

November 25th, 2013

Rene Lalique Dinard Box And Cover With All-Over Roses DesignR. Lalique once again made a strong showing at the Christie’s South Kensington semi-annual Lalique sale on November 21st.

Vases led the way with several world record prices, yielding a sale total including buyer’s premium of £596,875 (all results are reported to include the premium), or about $960,000 at an exchange rate used throughout this article of about 1.61 U.S. dollars per British pound.

Of the total 157 lots in the sale, approximately 37 were modern crystal reproductions or just modern crystal designs, leaving 120 original R. Lalique pieces on offer. Of those 120 works of Rene Lalique, 20 failed to sell, for a take-up rate of about 83% on the original works. The 100 sold R. Lalique items added up to £484,724 or an average price of about £4850 ($7800) per lot.

Rene Lalique Serpent Vase In Frosted GlassTop sellers were led by a Perruches Vase in blue glass that made a surprisingly strong £55,000, or about $88,500. Next was a tie between two lots: an amber glass Perruches Vase and a pair of Lausanne Light Fixtures. Each of these lots made £32,500 or about $52,500. Fourth place went to a frosted Serpent Vase making £30,000 ($48,500) followed by another Perruches Vase, this one in opalescent glass, which sold for £27,500 ($44,500).

The top five lots accounted for £177,500 or over 1/3 of the R. Lalique total. 4 of the top 5 prices were for vases, and 3 of those vases were Perruches Vases.

Rene Lalique Blue Glass Perruches VaseSome other notable prices include an opalescent Ceylan vase for £13,750 ($22,000), a Dinard Box at £11,250 ($18,000), and a Quatre Cigalas Perfume Bottle at £4,375 ($7,000).

The price of the blue Perruches Vase, the last lot of the sale, represents a world record price at auction for a blue Perruches Vase, and for any Perruches Vase, exceeding the price of approximately $75,500 set in these same salerooms just 6 months ago. The price on the Ceylan is also a world record price for any Ceylan Vase at auction, as is the price for the frosted Serpent Vase, though colored glass Serpents have sold higher. Finally, the Dinard Box total also is a likely world record.

Rene Lalique Lausanne Hanging Light FixturesHere is a link to all the results (including the lot descriptions).

As usual, the staff at Christie’s South Kensington, led by the experienced Joy McCall, did a great job of assembling a diverse group of attractive and desirable items, and working with all potential bidders in a pleasant and professional manner.

Another successful sale for Christie’s South Kensington and another great day for the great Rene Lalique.

A Hibou Car Mascot Appears At Auction: Buckle-Up!

October 19th, 2013

Rene Lalique Hibou Owl Car Mascot

October 20th at Artcurial in Paris will see the first appearance at a major auction of a Hibou (Owl) Car Mascot in many years.

The general storyline amongst many dealers and collectors is that the Renard (Fox) Car Mascot is the rarest of the commercial models. But there have been several foxes appear in the last decade, and only a couple of owls (not including for either model any that have appeared as part of an entire R. Lalique Car Mascot collection). It is easily possible and even likely, that the rarest of the commercial mascots is not the fox, but is the owl.

How will this translate into price for the rare Hibou? We will all know soon enough. There are many variables but there are also many collectors missing the owl from their mascot collections. And times have changed in the bidding scene at auctions.

In the past, only a bidding ring of dealers might know about a particular piece at auction and possibly a small number of collectors or others that could be co-opted, cajoled, or threatened into not competing against them **. But this has changed dramatically with the appearance of this website and the attendant individual collector bidding on major pieces triggered by the Worldwide Auction Listings at RLalique.com. Now all interested parties can find out about most items that appear at auction, and individual collectors and others can compete worldwide with dealers, museums and other collectors for rare pieces. And notwithstanding reports of continuing efforts to suppress bidding at auction by certain notorious persons, now there are often just too many outside bidders for conspirators to even know about in advance, let alone “get to” ***.

Rene Lalique Hibou Owl Car Mascot -  Front ViewAlso, other techniques such as trash talking a piece, claiming it’s fake, or claiming it’s fatally damaged in order to put potential bidders off the item are also common techniques for some. We even received on email from one regular dealer in R. Lalique claiming this owl was cracked. Hmmmmmm. We’ve seen this barking before with a great opalescent Vitesse and a Renard at auction as just two examples), but of course, the pool of potential bidders is now so large, it’s just difficult to put them all off with wisecracks **** about likely fairy tale condition issues. And of course, most serious bidders will confirm condition directly with the auction house, and/or engage an independent consultant on major purchases.

The auction house has placed an extremely conservative estimate on the owl. In 1987 for example, before the peak of prices around 1990, a Hibou appeared at auction and sold for over 378,000 French Francs including the buyer’s premium. At the time, 26 years ago, this was the equivalent of over $66,000.

We are aware of reports of Hibou sales made privately in the past several years including at least one sold through this website, for prices that are multiples of the previous record auction price discussed above. These sales range into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. To put this in perspective, we are aware of a sale of an owl mascot to a dealer in the last decade for a reported $150,000.

With the Fox Car Mascot making successive auction price records at its two most recent auction appearances (Fox Record Price 1, Fox Record Price 2), we would expect no less from what may be an even rarer chance to obtain this elusive prize.

SignShould be a wild ride ending a bit above the estimate :).

** See a series of articles published at RLalique.com discussing bid rigging at auctions.

*** “Get to” in this usage means influence.

**** A “wisecrack” is a clever remark.

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

May 24th, 2013

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).

Rene Lalique Sales Records: Highest Selling Lalique Auction Total In History With Just 16 R. Lalique Lots

February 18th, 2013

Rene Lalique Femme Ailee Balustrade Cire Perdue Bronze From the 1900 Paris ExhibitionThere’s no more appropriate place for the sale of great R. Lalique items than Paris. Rene Lalique spent most of his life in Paris. He lived and died in perhaps the greatest of the European metropolises. Most of his inspired and unique works were created there, and it was there in 1900 and again in 1925 that Lalique rose above the fray; rose above the crowded field of artists and designers, and left his contemporaries behind as he captured the attention and the imagination of the world.

Many of his works, both unique and commercial show a heavy Japanese artistic influence. In a way, you could predict that perhaps the greatest of all French decorative artists, growing up in the rich pastoral countryside would embrace the natural world motif as a primary artistic expression in the same way that countless generations of Japanese artists had done before him.

Rene Lalique Femme Ailee Balustrade Cire Perdue Bronze From the 1900 Paris ExhibitionBut you could not predict the new heights to which Lalique would take this traditional expressive motif, as he applied his interpretation of the surrounding world not only to artistically unique objects, but also to the mass production of the new art glass which he brought into the homes of so many people around the world. Echoing an old 20th century American summer camp fireside story, the “foo is on the other shoot”. For today, a whole new generation of eastern artists is trying to build upon the works of the great Frenchman; works that stand squarely on the shoulders of their own native ancestral designers.

So it is only fitting that the collection of Tokeo Horiuchi, the enthusiastic collector of turn of the century French decorative art; art which so clearly echoes the motifs of his homeland, would be destined for sale not in Tokyo, a center of high level natural world artistic efforts for so many long past generations, but would instead be brought to Paris, the scene, the home and the leading light of the great wave of the genre that brought Lalique’s work not just to one city or one country, but to most of the civilized world.

It’s also fitting that in a sale heavily laden with so many of the names you would expect to hear when assembling an entourage of the great decorative arts achievers of the day; names like Brandt, Cartier, Baccarat, Daum, Dunand, Frere, Galle, Guimard, Jallot, Majorelle, Sevres, Mackintosh and Morris; that the high seller in such a sale would be a non-commercial object made for the very 1900 exposition which was the foundation event for the assemblage. Yes friends, in the rural Midwestern United States, an area not unfamiliar to this writer, they call it a rail or a railing. And no, when they say rail, they aren’t talking about the bird family that includes the coot, though there are quite a few old coots ** and old railbirds *** back in the Western Reserve ****.

Rene Lalique Bats And Butterflies Rene Lalique Serpent Topped Pocket WatchHeck, when you think Midwestern railing, you think of a split piece of timber laying horizontally between two posts somewhere outdoors that keeps your livestock in place, and not exhibition visitors both astonished and at bay. For something like that, you’d need a fancy name and material other than timber, and in Paris for a high seller they had both.

Cire perdue bronze, in the form of a nude butterfly woman; a rail piece that can stand on its own with no fence posts needed :). And a railing that can stand on it’s own when compared artistically and monetarily to the best of the best in the 1900 design world. Oh yea, and it’s not a railing in Paris, it’s a balustrade…. a great French word that means “railing”. So yes, there are thousands of miles of balustrades in the rural midwest, but of course most of the inhabitants (the cows AND the people) can’t speak French so they don’t know it!

Rene Lalique Nude Nymphe Amongst Branches Pendant And Comporting ChainThere were 137 lots in the February 16th sale at Sotheby’s, of which 17 were the works of Lalique. Against an estimate of €200,000 – €300,000, the great Femme Ailee rail sold for a hammer price of €1,050,000 and a premium inclusive total of €1,240,750. At today’s exchange rate of about 1.375 dollars to the Euro (a rate used for all other approximate dollar prices in this article), the railing part made $1,706,000.

This same railing had previously sold at Christie’s New York Rockefeller Center Salesrooms as Lot 111 on December 10th, 1998 where it made $134,500 including the buyers premium *****. That’s less than 1/12 of the current price! It is one of five railing parts (having three different designs), several of which are shown in an iconic photo of the Lalique display at the 1900 Exhibition Universelle in Paris.

The sale price is likely the 2nd highest price ever achieved at auction for a single work by Rene Lalique, the Lady Trent Doors being the highest. We can safely say it’s the highest price at auction for a Rene Lalique Railing piece and it most definitely was the high selling item in the entire Sotheby’s sale.

Another new high seller for Lalique, and a world record price at auction for a Lalique Pocket Watch, was the very cool Butterflies and Bats Pocket Watch. It was also the 2nd highest selling lot in the entire sale, outselling an amazing Bureau Aux Archidees Louis Majorelle Desk! The small 2 inch wide jewel of a watch made an all-in €696,750 against a pre-sale estimate of €150,000 – €200,000. In dollars it’s about $958,000.

Rene Lalique Butterfly Brooch
After the watch, things fell off really quickly (just kidding), as the third high seller for Lalique and fourth for the entire auction, the quintessential nude female pendant with comporting chain, sold for €312,750 or about $430,000, once again blowing out the estimated price of €100,000 – €120,000.

Rene Lalique Female Face BroochFourth in line for price honors was the 9 centimeters long and stunningly realistic enamel, gold, silver and diamond Butterfly Brooch which hit €300,750 all-in, or about $413,000 against an estimated price of only €60,000 – €80,000.

Fifth in the price department was a fabulous and so R. Lalique Brooch featuring the classic Lalique drop baroque pearl under a female face spreading to detailed enamel work. The estimate was €100,000 – €120,000 but the price was €216,750 or about $298,000.

In some ways the most surprising price of the sale was for lot 126, a clear and frosted Sauterelles Vase with patina that against a reasonable to strong estimate of €4000 – €6000 made an all-in €13,750 or about $19,000.

All in all, of the 17 Lalique lots, 16 sold, the only exception being the lowest estimated of them all, a Font-Romeu Vase with heavy patina estimated at €2500 – €3500.

The 16 sellers made €3,410,975 or $4,690,000 making this the highest selling group of R. Lalique at any single auction in history. Quality not quantity was key. Furthermore, every one of the 16 lots that sold made an all-in total that exceeded its high estimate. The average price for the sold lots was €213,186 or $293,000. An amazing group of numbers and another great day for the great Rene Lalique.

Here is a link to the Lalique results in the sales catalogue.

** In the U.S., an “old coot” is a kind of a simple minded harmless older person. But you can add some words like crazy or senile to the beginning to give it a more robust and a bit less harmless meaning.

*** A “rail bird” is a member of the rail bird family, which as we mentioned includes coots. But if you put the two words together, “railbird” in the U.S. is any sports enthusiast, but specifically a horse-racing fan who sits on, leans on, or hangs out near the track rail at horse races or workouts.

**** At the time of the founding of the USA, the 13 colonies agreed to compromise many of the land claims found in their original land grants, specifically the ones that gave them all the land to the next ocean. In return the new government assumed the States’ debts from the Revolutionary War. When Connecticut gave up its expansive land claims, it retained a claim to over 3,300,000 acres on some land in the Northwest Territory that was set aside for future settlement including land reserved for those who lost their homes in the war. That land, which now comprises part of Northern Ohio, was (and still is) called the Western Reserve; land reserved in the west. If you go there today, and head out east of Cleveland (named after the head of the Connecticut Land Company survey crew Moses Cleaveland … a printer dropped the first “a” from his name to save space) to Chagrin Falls and the Chagrin River Valley, you’ll find an amazing idyllic architectural and geographic make-up very much like the old Connecticut countryside. And if were wondering, 3,300,000 acres would equal nearly 6% of the entire UK.

***** The sale catalogue from the 1998 Christie’s New York Sale on December 10, 1998 is available for purchase (including the sales results) in the Decorative Arts Catalogues section in the Library here at RLalique.com. This Library section alone has nearly 500 different auction catalogues of sales, all of which include some Rene Lalique works in the catalogue. These are in addition to the separate Library section which is devoted to totally Lalique Auction Catalogues. Over 100 of those are listed there for sale.

Rene Lalique Palestre Vase Sells For $362,500: A World Record Price For Any R. Lalique Production Vase At Auction

December 14th, 2012

In ancient Greece, the Palaestra evolved into a wrestling center built in many cities at public expense. But they weren’t just big wrestling rooms or gymnasiums. They also had social rooms, dressing rooms, educational areas, and baths.

Rene Lalique Platestre Vase Featuring A Band Of Nude Male Athletes Reminiscent of the ancient Greek PalaestraWhile Homer’s Lliad describes wrestlers in loincloths (somewhere between 1200 B.C. and 800 B.C.), wrestling at the Palaestra later developed into a sport where both training and competition were conducted in the nude

The “no uniform” program is not as surprising as it might seem to some today, from a view looking backwards in time over 2000 years. Ignoring the fact that Spandex** had not yet been invented :), consider that the Greek version of wrestling was a stand-up battle where the object was to throw your opponent to the ground. If the opponent’s back touched the ground, the guy still standing got a point. The first person to get three points was the winner of the match. There was no rolling around on the mat in the way wrestling is practiced today. So there was no trying to pin your opponent. And any kind of hold you placed on your opponent was only permitted on the upper body. The sport is said in legend to have been invented by Theseus, a hero of Greek Mythology depicted below in the center of the photo.

And there you have in a few erudite paragraphs the historical and artistic inspiration for one of the largest and dramatic Rene Lalique Vases, the Palestre. 40 centimeters tall and first introduced in 1928 just before the start of the great worldwide depression, it features a design consisting of a band of nude male athletes in various poses surrounding the entire outside of the great R. Lalique Vase model.

Theseus: Greek Mythological Hero Said To Be The Inventor Of Wrestling Is Shown In The Center Of The PhotoOn December 12th at Christie’s Rockefeller Center in New York, Lot 35 in the sale of a private art deco collection was a frosted and stained version of this vase estimated at $80,000 – $120,000. At the estimate it would have been a record price for this model. However in frenzied bidding tapering down (as always) to the two most determined bidders, the vase made a premium inclusive total of $362,500.

The price is not only a world record price at auction for a Palestre Vase, but it’s a world record price for any commercial or production R. Lalique Vase. A few Cire Perdue Vases have sold for more (and possibly one or two auction sales of the early limited (a few or less examples) mold blown vases have topped this price), but no production vase in color or otherwise has reached this lofty height.

Even in this frothy market (a froth which mainly continues notwithstanding the spotty worldwide economic conditions), the result is a bit surprising. The final price, when viewed as part of the string of record price accomplishments for R. Lalique glass and other objects at auction this year, reflects the increasing appreciation among decorative arts buyers of the important artistic and industrial accomplishments of the great Rene Joules Lalique.

**Spandex was invented in 1959 in the Dupont Lab in Waynesboro Virginia by Joseph Shivers and C. L. Sandquist. The brand name Spandex is just an anagram for “expands”. Outside of the U.S. it is called different things in other countries such as the brand name Lycra in the U.K., elasthanne in France, and other local variants of elastane in Germany, Spain, Italy, and many other countries.

Rene Lalique Perfume Bottles: World Record Price For Any R. Lalique Perfume Bottle And For ANY Perfume Bottle At Auction!

October 14th, 2012

Rene Lalique Sirenes Cire Perdue Perfume BottleThere is a saying in Japan, “食欲の秋”, that describes the harvest season thusly: “Autumn, a season for strong appetite!” Occurring from late September to late November, Autumn is the harvest time in Japan for everything from rice, to Matsutake mushrooms and sweet chestnuts. Apparently Rene Lalique Perfume Bottles will have to be added to that traditional list :). For in Roppongi Hills, located in the Minato Ward of Tokyo, at Est-Ouest’s ** annual Autumn Sale, buyers from around the world displayed a whole lot of appetite for the great Rene Lalique Perfume Bottles which were the heart and vast majority of the over 100 R. Lalique glass lots offered on October 6th, 2012.

The Est-Ouest sale got off to a great start, with the first 98 lots being R. Lalique Perfume Bottles. All but 5 sold, for an over 90% sales rate to start off the sale. There were a few more perfume bottles offered later in the sale mixed in with a handful of other R. Lalique items, but these did not fare as well as the great opening run.

Rene Lalique Deux Danseuses Perfume BottlePrices were solid to strong across the board, perhaps echoing the French literary figure and philosopher Albert Camus closer to their ancestral home: “Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower”.

Two world record prices were set when the 10 centimeters tall Lot 41 came under the hammer. Sirenes, the 1905 mythical sirens and algae motif glass bodied near tear dropped shaped Cire Perdue Perfume Bottle under the bronze sympathetically designed cap, may have peaked the interest of just one bidder at its lofty pre-sale estimated price. It sold for about 90% of the low estimate (Est: JPY28,000,000 – JPY40,000,000) for a hammer price of JPY25,000,000 and a total price of JPY28,750,000.

Rene Lalique Bouchon Fleurs De Pommier Perfume Bottle The premium inclusive total is about $370,000 at an exchange rate (used throughout this article to estimate the dollar cost) of 77.7 yen to the dollar. A world record price for a Rene Lalique Perfume Bottle at Auction, and likely the world record price for any perfume bottle at auction regardless of manufacturer.

Next high seller was the extremely rare 1912 production bottle Six Danseuses selling as Lot 40. The great bottle featured a design of three pairs of dancing nudes intertwined with a trailing garland, the body of the bottle reminiscent of the shape of many of the Lalique Inkwells. The brown stained bottle, against an estimate of JPY3,000,000 – JPY5,000,000 made a hammer price of JPY2,700,000, and a premium inclusive JPY3,105,000 or about $40,000.

Again, the hammer being 90% of the low estimate, this may have been another one trick pony *** but it looked to this writer like a condition dependent fair deal for the new owner.

Rene Lalique Bouchon Mures Blackberries Perfume BottleThird high seller was Lot 42, the tiara stoppered 1919 model Bouchon Fleurs De Pommier, which hit a hammer of JPY2,000,000 against an estimate of JPY1,000,000 – JPY1,500,000. The premium inclusive total of JPY2,300,000 represented about $30,000, exceeding the high estimate.

Fourth best seller was Lot 44, the Bouchon Mures Perfume Bottle with a black glass tiara stopper, also known as the Blackberry Perfume Bottle.

This clean looking example made JPY1,700,000 compared to a pre-sale estimate of JPY1,500,000 – JPY2,500,000 and its all inclusive total price of JPY1,955,000/$25,000

Rene Lalique Lezards Perfume BottleLot 36, the Lezards Perfume Bottle also exceeded the high estimate, making a hammer of JPY1,600,000 against an estimate of JPY800,000 – JPY1,300,000. The premium inclusive total of JPY1,840,000/$23,500 made this the fifth high selling bottle in the sale.

For the rest of the results visit this Results Page, and select artist “Lalique René” from the 1st drop down list and click “Select”. It will bring up all the R. Lalique Lots in list format with photo, title, estimate and result.

And of course, to access the extensive information at RLalique.com about the great R.Lalique Flacons, go to the Lalique Perfume Bottles section of the Rene Lalique Bio.

We will leave you all with the words of George Eliot ****, which echo the feelings of so many Lalique Sellers in the current ebullient market: “Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

** Est-Ouest is East-West in French. In Japanese it’s Est-Ouest!
*** One trick pony is an American expression from the early 1900’s describing an animal at one of the many small traveling circuses around the country that could only perform one trick. The expression was later made more famous by Paul Simon as the title of his 1980 movie and song of the same name. Call our use a bit of literary license.
**** George Eliot is the pen name for the 19th century English writer Mary Ann Evans. She published her works under a male nom de plume feeling her writing would be taken more seriously. Her seminal novel Middlemarch is considered by many to be one of the greatest works in all of English literature.

Rene Lalique Vase World Records Fall: R.Lalique Cire Perdue Vase Makes $555,000

September 15th, 2012

Rene Lalique Deux Figures Femmes Ailees Cire Perdue VaseNamed 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.

Rene Lalique Deux Figures Femmes Ailees Cire Perdue VaseNormally, 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 :).

Rene Lalique Deux Figures Femmes Ailees Cire Perdue VaseWorldwide 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.

Rene Lalique Deux Figures Femmes Ailees Cire Perdue Vase Signature

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.

R. Lalique Renard Car Mascot Sets New World Record Price For A Rene Lalique Mascot At Auction

August 19th, 2012

Rene Lalique Renard Fox Car Mascot

It was just 9 months ago, that an unsigned Lalique Renard Hood Ornament appeared in the Pennsylvania countryside and made a world record price for any Rene Lalique Car Mascot at auction of $204,750. High prices and hounds are apparently the two things that can flush out a fox, and a signed example in apparent good order dutifully appeared in the sale announcement for the annual sale of automobiles and related items that Bonhams holds in Carmel California, timed around the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Car Show held each year.

Bonhams usually offers up a good supply of R. Lalique Mascots at this auction, and accompanying the Renard for the August 16th sale were about 20 other Rene Lalique Mascots as well as two brass copies of Rene Lalique Paperweights and Person Majestic copies of the Longchamp and Victoire Car Mascots.

Rene Lalique Tete De Paon Peacock Head Car Mascot In Blue GlassHigh seller was the great Renard as Lot 230 making $338,500 including the buyers premium, and topping the previous record by just about 65%. This example had the block letter signature on the side of the base, a little bit of scuffing, and was said by Bonhams to have great mold definition.

Note that we are reliably informed that this price fell just short of the highest price ever paid at auction for ANY car mascot of any manufacture. That record is said to be held by a Bugatti Royale silver plated standing Elephant mascot that made £205,000 in 2010.

Selling just before the Renard and making a likely World Record price of its own was Lot 228 the horse head Epsom Car Mascot which made $68,500 all-in against a conservative pre-sale estimate. Third place in price department went to a striking blue peacock head Tete De Paon Mascot, one of a pair that surfaced several months back, the first one of which was also sold by Bonhams earlier this year. This example made $43,750 all-in, outselling the first of the pair which had made a premium inclusive $40,000 in April.

Looking at price strength across the board, you might skip over the good all-in prices paid for the small dragonfly Petite Libellule Mascot ($17,500), the greyhound Levrier Mascot ($8,750), the guinea fowl La Pintade ($15,000), the frog Grenouille Mascot ($23,750) and even the ram’s head Tete De Belier ($12,500) and go straight to the usually more price restrained Lot 223 swallow Hirondelle Car Mascot, which made a strong $9,375 affixed to a custom base.

Rene Lalique Hirondelle Swallow MascotOverall, a pretty good run of results for the great Lalique Hood Ornaments ranging form the somewhat common to the extremely rare.

One more general comment about the Renard. It has become commonplace for folks to talk about there being only 5 or 6 or a “a small handful” of these fox hood ornaments in existence. And Bonhams had a catalogue note concerning the Renard to this effect. However, this writer would steer you to double digits, and whether that’s likely 20 or 30 or whatever is a discussion that will have to be left for another day. But take note that 3 have appeared at auction in the past nine months alone, the third being part of the complete Lalique Car Mascot Collection sold in Florida in March 2012.

In the meantime, check our Rene Lalique Car Mascots page here at RLalique.com. It has photos of each mascot in a catalogue format, and links to individual pages of photos and information for each Lalique mascot model.

Rene Lalique Poissons Vase in Blue Glass Leads R.Lalique Prices As Records Fall At Christie’s Lalique Sale

June 1st, 2012

“Close but no cigar” is an American expression that likely originated at carnivals where cigars were given away as prizes at the various games of chance. Some early slot machines also awarded cigars to winners and may have contributed to the spread of this expression

Rene Lalique Poissons Vase In Electric Blue GlassWell, at Christie’s South Kensington’s Semi-Annual Lalique Sale, the high seller was Lot 143, a nice looking electric blue glass R. Lalique Poissons Vase. Against an estimate of £30,000 to £50,000 or about $48,000 to $80,000 (at the estimated 1.6 U.S. dollars to a British pound used throughout this article), the vase made £65,000/$104,000, and with the buyers premium, an all-in total of £79,250/$126,800.

A record price at auction for a Lalique Poissons Vase! A record price at auction for a Lalique blue glass vase! But the total price (which does not include possible other charges) was just shy of what they might call in the American Southwest, the Big Enchilada; the record high price at auction for a colored glass Lalique production vase. Not quite the turkey** we were hoping but a great Rene Lalique result nonetheless.

Rene Lalique Perruches Vase In Dark Amber GlassThis is of course only minor consolation for the buyer who if rumor is correct, hailed from across the channel, and may therefore be responsible for as much as $10,000 to $13,000 or so of added charges related to either VAT or Import Duties or both, which when combined with the reported result, would make for a record payment if not a record price:). Basically, send the cigar ….. and the turkey.

Notably, two other R. Lalique Poissons Vases were offered up as Lots 124 and 142, with the prior, an amber glass example making all-in (as are all further prices in this article unless stated otherwise) £32,450/$51,920, and the later cased red glass example hitting a bit more at £34,850/$55,760. Though less than half the high selling Poissons Vase price, these represented the 3rd and 4th high selling lots in the auction. Nothing fishy here. Notably the result for Lot 142 was roughly equal to the record price at auction for a Red Poissons Vase achieved just last month.

Rene Lalique Poissons Vase In Cased Red Glass2nd high seller was another colored glass vase, Lot 141, a Perruches Vase in amber glass that sold for £36,050/$57,680.

And rounding out the top five was a nice looking press molded opalescent glass Bacchantes Vase selling as Lot 125 for £30,000/$48,000.

Some lots (among others) which seemed to make seriously strong and likely record prices include Lot 140, the cased opalescent Perruches Vase at £30,000/$48,000, the cased opalescent Alicante Vase Lot 126 at £25,000/$40,000, and the Muguet Bowl in opalescent glass as Lot 32 for £6,875/$11,000.

Rene Lalique Muguet Bowl In Opalescent GlassAll in all, for Christie’s a sale total of £591,050/$945,580 for 105 sold lots or an average of about £5,629/9,006 of which the R. Lalique glass was 90 lots making £564,524/$903,210 or an average for each Rene Lalique item of about £6,272/$10,036. See all the results here.

If you are interested in more information about Lalique Auctions visit the Rene Lalique Biography Lalique Auctions section from which you can access all the great auction resources here at the Worldwide Gathering Place for Everything R.Lalique!

** Turkey: In American bowling three strikes in a row were called a “triple”. But around the turn of 20th Century, at a time when the game was more difficult, a tradition arose where a player making three strikes in row on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day would get a live turkey as a prize. Today, no live turkey, but the appellation has stuck and is now colloquially used to describe almost any three successes in row, bowling or otherwise.

 
 

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