That is the case when it comes to René Lalique glass mascots, lovingly collected and sought after.
The rarest Lalique mascots in the right condition can stretch well into six figures at auction today, such as Renard, a leaping fox mascot (model No 1182) made in very small numbers in c.1930.
An example of that sold for £110,000 (plus 23% buyer’s premium) at Cotswolds saleroom Kinghams in July last year (see ATG No 2502) in a Lalique-themed sale which offered a total of 39 mascots comprising 24 different models and a number of different treatments.
A group of mascots featured among a private British collection of Lalique offered at L&T (25/20% buyer’s premium) in London on April 28.
In 1906 Lalique designed a trophy for the winner of the Targa Florio car race, but it was during the 1920s and early 1930s that he designed car mascots. A number of these were adapted from earlier paperweight designs that he produced from 1910.
It was only in the 1920s that car mascots became more widely adopted by car manufacturers, initially as radiator caps and later as an opportunity to display a logo or an emblem.
This single-owner collection included all Lalique’s 29 commercial car mascot designs and the Naiade statuette and paperweight, which is often classified as a mascot too. A number of models were represented here in varying colourways.
Top-estimated mascot, a Renard estimated at £80,000-120,000, sold for £65,000.
Lalique’s range of subjects included birds, horses, dragonflies, figures, dogs, a frog, a fox, a fish, a boar, a ram, and a celestial shooting star. A Tête de Paon (peacock), No 1140, from 1928, in turquoise made £17,000 (guide £12,000-18,000).
The underlying theme of most of the mascots was speed.
A Comète No 1123 guided at £30,000- 50,000 took £31,000.
Lalique was commissioned to design one mascot specifically for Citroën’s 5CV (five horse power): the Cinq Chevaux (No 1122). This was in 1925, the year of the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Moderne (where the term Art Deco comes from).
A Cinq Chevaux sold at L&T on the high estimate of £7000.
The vendor of this collection began acquiring Lalique in 2007 and quickly moved from plates and bowls to a focused pursuit of car mascots.
After 10 years the collection was completed with the purchase of a Hibou (owl), one of the rarest and most elusive designs. That Hibou, No 1181, sold at L&T for £34,000 (estimate £30,000-50,000).