DANIA BEACH, Fla. – Many believe that buying what one likes, as opposed to speculating on an object’s potential to increase in value, is the only sensible way to collect, whether it’s comic books or French cameo glass. The globetrotting Florida couple who acquired this elegant Rene Lalique perfume bottle during their travels across Europe probably never gave a thought to its value beyond its obvious beauty, but both their taste and innate buying sense proved to be impeccable. The 4.75-inch rose-hued vessel, in flawless condition and etched with an “R Lalique” signature, was auctioned on April 26 for $57,950.
Akiba Antiques offered the bottle as part of the local couple’s estate holdings, which included a variety of fine and decorative art, and a small grouping of perfumes. Titled “Trois Groupes De Deux Danseuses,” the Art Deco vessel decorated around the shoulders with images of dancing nude figures was cataloged with a $100-$1,000 estimate. However, it took no time at all for the auction house to realize they had something very special on their hands.
“We knew that it was one of very few known examples of its type and that it was probably the most valuable bottle in the whole consignment. Based on our homework and due diligence, we felt that it might sell for $5,000 to $8,000, but certainly not for the price it achieved, which might be a record for its particular form,” said Alexander Anapolsky, owner of Akiba Antiques.
“As soon as we published the catalog on LiveAuctioneers around three weeks before the sale date, we started getting numerous requests for condition reports and additional images. They wanted to know the provenance, and some people wanted to see videos of a person holding the bottle so they could gauge it for size,” he said.
In the past, Lalique – which has its own museum (Musee Lalique) in Wingen-sur-Moder, France – has been known to request condition reports when certain Lalique perfume bottles have appeared in Akiba’s auctions. Because Lalique has been both gracious and communicative in the past, Anapolsky said he routinely reaches out to them if he has a question about a Lalique production consigned to his auction house. “They have even published images of perfume bottles from our auctions on their website, which we appreciate,” he said.
Two or three days prior to the April 26 auction, some “very high” absentee bids were placed, Anapolsky said. On auction day, the bottle opened with an aggressive Internet bid of $20,000. Fourteen bids later, a competitor in France using LiveAuctioneers won the bottle with a hammer bid of $47,500. A 22% buyer’s premium applied, making the final all-in price $57,950.
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