Vanity cases by Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier and Alfred Langlois dazzled bidders at Tajan

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PARIS — Legend has it that Charles Arpels (of legendary Van Cleef & Arpels fame) saw a lady friend stashing her lipstick and other cosmetics in an ordinary cigarette tin for a trip out on the town. He went to work, designing what would become known as the vanity case, a must-have for any well-dressed woman on the go. Today, these Art Deco-era vanity cases are highly sought-after by contemporary collectors, as Tajan demonstrated with its Collecting Beauty sale, which took place on December 5. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

The sale’s top lot was a 1925 Van Cleef & Arpels enameled lapis lazuli, rose-cut diamond, platinum and 18K gold vanity case. Signed Van Cleef & Arpels Paris and numbered 27797 and 7050, the case carried a French assay mark and the Strauss, Allard & Meyer maker’s mark. Estimated at €25,000-€30,000 ($26,960-$32,350), it hammered for a remarkable €76,000 ($81,960, or $99,175 with buyer’s premium).

A 1927 Cartier enamel, ruby, lapis lazuli and 18K gold vanity case performed similarly, selling for €67,000 ($72,080 or $87,210 with buyer’s premium). The case was signed Cartier Londres New York and was numbered 8787 and 6144.

Headquartered in Paris, Alfred Langlois was an independent maker of vanity and cigarette cases, often for Van Cleef & Arpels, who signed an exclusivity deal with him in 1932 and eventually took over his firm. This 1925 vanity case featured mother-of-pearl, enamel, lapis-lazuli, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, jade, a diamond, platinum and 18K gold. Bearing both a French assay mark and Alfred Langlois maker’s mark, it sold for €45,000 ($48,410 or $58,570 with buyer’s premium).
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1925 Van Cleef & Arpels vanity case, which sold for €76,000 ($81,960, or $99,175 with buyer’s premium) at Tajan.
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1927 Cartier vanity case, which sold for €67,000 ($72,080 or $87,210 with buyer’s premium) at Tajan.
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1925 Alfred Langlois vanity case, which sold for €45,000 ($48,410 or $58,570 with buyer’s premium) at Tajan.
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1925 Black, Starr & Frost vanity case, which sold for €39,000 ($41,950 or $50,760 with buyer’s premium) at Tajan.
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1936 Cartier vanity case, which sold for €11,000 ($11,830 or $14,310 with buyer’s premium) at Tajan.
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Rockwell portrait of Coca-Cola exec in spotlight at Ahlers & Ogletree, Feb. 26

Portrait of Robert Woodruff by Norman Rockwell, est. $20,000-$40,000
Portrait of Robert Woodruff by Norman Rockwell, est. $20,000-$40,000

ATLANTA – Items from the estate of Robert W. Woodruff (1889-1985), the American businessman and philanthropist who served as president of the Coca-Cola Company from 1923 to 1955, will be offered on Saturday, February 26 by Ahlers & Ogletree, starting at 10 am Eastern time. Items from Woodruff’s wife Nell, who was a Red Cross nurse, will also be sold. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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