Bonhams to offer Lalique mascots from the Robert White Collection
A collection of rare and exquisite Lalique car mascots will be offered at Bonhams later this year, from the esteemed collection of Robert White.
The mascots were regarded as the "ultimate status symbol", and could be found on the hoods of luxurious cars owned by actors, aristocrats, world leaders and royalty alike.
It's believed that French designer René Lalique created up to 29 mascot designs before he died in 1945, with the majority taking inspiration from the animal kingdom.
Today these creations can be found in satin, clear and frosted-glass finishes – often with just a handful of surviving examples of each design.
"The heyday of mascots began in the interwar years (1918-1939)," said Toby Wilson, Bonhams Head of Automobilia. "The radiator cap had become a common feature on the bonnet of most cars, and it provided a natural perch for mascots, which came in a multitude of fantastic designs.
"As styling moved the radiator under the bonnet the use of mascots on motorcars was reduced. It was only in 1974 that for the protection of pedestrians, mascots were banned from the front of cars.
"Some forty years later, only a limited number of these original sculptures are still available, creating high demand and values that continue to rise."
The valuable item from the collection is the 'Hibou', a crouching owl crouching designed by Lalique circa 1931. Believed to be amongst the rarest of all the company's production mascots, the owl is expected to sell for £55,000 - £65,000 ($72,240 - $85,370).
Further standout Lalique mascots from the collection include a 'Comète' glass mascot estimated at £20,000 - £30,000; a 'Cinq Chevaux' glass mascot estimated at £3,000 - £4,000; a 'Vitesse' mascot in opalescent glass valued at £2,000 - £3,000; and a 'Sanglier' mascot in amber priced at £1,500 - £2,000.
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