One of three complete Lalique mascot collections brings big bucks in Florida
Since the dawn of the motor car, owners have added their own personal touches — inside, outside and under the hood. Lord Montague is thought to have been among the first to add a hood ornament to his automobile when he attached a Saint Christopher medal to his 1899 Daimler. Well over 5,000 different types of hood ornaments and mascots have since followed, either as factory offerings or as accessories, in nearly all shapes and sizes and cast from a variety of materials, but none were as elegant as those offered by René Lalique.
Born in France in 1860, Lalique was a masterful artist, and his turn-ofthe-century art nouveau jewelry was worn by prominent personalities of the era. He also applied his considerable talent to glass making and created more than 250 different perfume bottles, which today are highly sought by collectors.
In 1925, André Citroën commissioned Lalique to create a mascot for the 5CV that would be exhibited at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. It was to feature five prancing horses representing the five horsepower performance of the 5CV. The result was “Cinq Chevaux,” and over the next seven years Lalique would create an additional 26 glass mascots with clear, frosted or satin finishes that exhibited the grace and detail of human and animal forms.
The 1932 Lalique catalog actually listed 30 pieces, as two that were originally noted as paperweights were now included, and a variation of “Longchamps,” the horse head, was also added. Only three full sets of the 30 pieces exist, and amassing a complete collection now is complicated by the fact that only seven examples of “Renard,” the fox, are known to exist.
Another of the significant mascots in the collection is “Victoire” — Spirit of the Wind — which is the largest piece and epitomizes the art deco styling of the period. It was introduced at the 1928 Paris Motor Salon as a mascot on the hood of a Minerva.
At its March 10 Amelia Island sale, RM Auctions offered the complete Lalique mascot collection of Ele Chesney, which included two large, specially designed display cases to house the collection. Including buyer’s premium, it sold for $805,000, against a pre-sale estimate of $800,000–$1.2 million. Even at the low end, the final sales figure was impressive, and considering the prestige of the Lalique marque and the inherent difficulties in assembling a complete collection, if another is ever offered, it would likely sell for at least what was paid here.