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Titled L'Age d'Or du Rail, the 269-lot auction on September 27 was devoted to souvenirs from the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons- Lits.

While posters detailing the many exotic destinations to which these sleeper cars travelled in the golden age of rail made up much of the content, several of the highest prices were given over to elements that had a more direct physical connection with the company and its carriages.

Two of the ten top prices were given over to moulded and etched glass panels that were part of Réné Lalique's late 1920's interior decor for the Cote d'Azur Pullman Express.

Topping the list and the sale at a €110,000 (£100,000) was a set of nine: three main full-length figural panels and six smaller ones moulded with grapes (one shown here) bought by a European collector.

Another similar set followed at €75,000 (£68,180), going this time to a private US buyer. A 2ft 8in x 15in (81 x 38cm) wooden panel inset with a moulded and silvered glass floral and foliate bouquet designed by Lalique from the same decorating project was the most expensive of several in the sale at €55,000 (£50,000), going to an Asian buyer.


 Also up among the top lots were some full-size models or maquettes of late 1920s designs for the various Pullman compartments. The most expensive was that created for the Salon in mahogany and plane inset with similar silvered glass floral decorated panels by Lalique.

This was pre-empted for a low-estimate €44,000 (£40,000) by the newly established Musée Lalique in Wingen sur Moder near Strasbourg, as were a pair of wing armchairs of Cote D'Azur Pullman type, upholstered in squared velvet, designed by Suzanne Lalique, which cost the museum €9000 (£8180).

However, the €42,000 (£38,180) paid by an Asian buyer for a half model in mahogany for the restaurant car and the €40,000 (£36,365) paid by a European collector for a mahogany model of a single sleeping compartment with lacquer inlaid panels by Réné Prou were both substantially over their more modest estimates. 

Poster artwork

Two oils on canvas, both original artworks by Theo Van Rysselberghe (1862- 1926) for posters advertising the Nord-Sud Gotthard and the Ostende-Trieste Express were also among the day's top prices at lower-estimate sums of €82,000 (£74,545) and €65,000 (£59,010).

A third for the Ostend-Constantinople Express was allowed to go some way under estimate at €48,000 (£43,365).

The buyer's premium at Christie's was 25/20/12%.