May/June 2019 edition
Issue #5 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
Geoffrey George Weiner
His mascots were produced during the inter-war period... somewhat by accident! You see, Lalique was approached by his friend André-Gustave Citroën, who asked if he could produce an appropriate “mascot” for his forthcoming car, the 5 CV to be shown in 1925.
First, in sketch form, and then a proper drawing to scale, Lalique came up with a staggered row of five galloping horses named Cinq Chevaux that he cast from a re-usable metal mould, and produced in a special hardened glass. This was then finished, and the mould lines polished out. This was the first commercial Lalique mascot specifically produced for a make of car. Citroën was delighted, and from then on Lalique decided to carry on making these adornments for wealthy clients cars’ radiator caps known as Bouchons de Radiateurs or Mascottes par Automobiles. These designs were produced only for a short time from 1925 until 1931, although Lalique being a canny entrepreneur re-introduced two previous Mermaid designs of 1920 into the mascot range.
With the wartime occupation of France by the Germans, production ceased in 1940 at the factory at Wingen-sur-moder, (although it’s thought that some items were still produced for a short while during that period). After the war, and with the death of René Lalique in 1945, his son Marc took over, and continued to produce the mascots until 1947. At that point in time, they entered into the range of producing desk ornaments and paperweights made of crystal, the company henceforth was known as Cristal Lalique SA Fr.
In 2008 they were acquired by the Swiss owned company, Art et Fragence, who re-organized Lalique, and proceeded to discontinue the range of desk ornaments and paperweights. Only very few of the old designs are still produced today. In 2016, Art et Fragrance was renamed Lalique Group, as the Lalique name was deemed to be more valuable.
Today you can obtain original period Lalique pieces of all types through private sales and well publicized auctions. Some pieces may be quite difficult to find, and costly. Choices run the gamut. There is of course the car mascot range of 28 actual hood ornaments, along with the two large and small Mermaids making a round figure of 30 different designs in all.
If your budget does not stretch into thousands of Dollars... look for the signature “R. Lalique France”, or just go for the aforementioned few designs chosen for the crystal desk ornaments, and paperweight range. The signature changes and is easily identified on post-war to modern pieces as “Lalique France” with a small circled “r” for registered, which is engraved in scrolling script. If you go for the latter, these earlier ones came in grey boxes, and if you’re lucky along with a factory inspection certificate. The later examples (and current pieces) come in black boxes and should still have the certificate intact.
*The Roundels of St. Christopher, the Archer, small Mermaid, the Perch, the Wild Boer, and the Eagles head should be had for a ball park figure of around $150 - $350. Then going up a notch, the female nude of Chrysis, the large Cockerel, large Mermaid, the Cockerels Head, the Falcon, the Horse head (Longchamp ‘B’) should be around the $500 - $1,500 mark. The Five Horses, the Horse head (Longchamp ‘A’), Vitesse, Victoire, Guinea hen, Rams head, Greyhound, large Dragonfly, Swallow, and Hawks head would be around the $3,000 - $10,000 mark.
Going higher.... The Epsom horses head, the Peacocks head, Frog, and small Dragonfly would be around $8,000 to $15,000. Then the rarest really rocket. the Comet, the Fox, and Owl from $50,000 to $300,000. These are ball park figures, and if those are not high enough for you, then consider the super rare opalescent and full colored examples, which run even more!
The Lalique factory did in fact produce some crude bases, around 1925, but Breves bases were superior, and Lalique gave Breves the European License to market them. These bases are extremely rare and desirable, and depending on their completeness, and condition would be worth between $500 to $1,500 a piece. A warning here... There are unlicensed knock-offs being produced and fraudulently represented as “real” which they most certainly are not. They are of quite high quality complete with the Breves impressed address and patent number, but they are fakes, so seek expert advice before you buy! One of the best places for advice and information is the “The Lalique Mascot Collectors’ Club”: Brmmbrmm.com/lbcc.bb
*I’ve used the English terms for describing them here, the actual true French names are easy to find searching on Google or you can go direct to “The Lalique Mascot Collectors’ Club” website for a mine of information.