BACK in the 1980s, on the back of the Lalique boom, there used to be fairly regular offerings of scent bottles at auction in London.
It's less of a feature in the sales calendar these days but in
New York and Paris there are still periodic auctions devoted to
this collecting genre.
On April 8 at Drouot, for example, étude Neret-Minet
Tessier (19/12% buyer's premium plus vat) offered the
single-owner collection of Serge Albisetti.
The 280-plus lots covered a wide range of scent and bottle
manufacturers but in financial terms there was a clear division:
between those bottles by Lalique which commanded four- and
five-figure sums and the rest which fell into the three-figure
That's not a surprising distinction really as Lalique appeals to
a broader audience. And, with 150 'first period' Lalique bottles on
offer, there was plenty of choice.
Topping the bill, as expected, was the early 1912, 4¾in (11cm)
high grey patinated bottle Lézards, initialled
RL under the base. Estimated at €10,000- 15,000, it
sold at €19,000 (£17,270).
It was followed at €10,500 (£9545) and €10,000 (£9090), by
bottles for Fougères and L.T Piver's
Scarabée respectively, the latter from 1911, in its
gilt-lettered leather case.
Both prices were well in excess of the estimates and overtook
what had been predicted, with €7,000-10,000 estimates, to be three
These were a Bouchon Cassis bottle in clear glass,
enamelled with black stripes and an extravagant black stopper
moulded as bunches of blackcurrants from 1920 which fetched €8500
(£7730); aTrois Guêpesbottle of 1912, moulded with wasps to the
shoulders and stopper at €6300 (£5730) and
Eucalyptus,another extravagantly stoppered bottle, that
failed to get away.
Overall, around three-quarters of the lots found buyers with
most of the casualties coming from the more affordable end of the
Above: outside the Lalique arena bottles were more
affordable objects. This 3.5in (9cm) bottle for Violet's Pourpre
d'Automne by Gaillard in 1922 went for €850 (£770) at Neret-Minet
Another anonymously consigned collection of 20th century scent
bottles and perfume-related items appeared in Bailly,
Pommery & Voutier's (23.92% buyer's premium inc. VAT)
sale at Drouot the following week on April 15.
Again there were quite a few Lalique bottles amongst the 70-odd
lots (mostly from the 1920s and '30s) but also a fair number by
other makers and prices were accordingly lower. Around two-thirds
changed hands overall.
One lot made it to four figures and predictably this was a
combination of the talents of Baccarat and Lalique. Selling for
€1100 (£1000) was an Orfèvrerie bottle for Ambré d'Orsay
of 1913 designed by Baccarat with a metal frieze of vestals
designed by Julien Viard, edited by Lalique and stamped with the
Highest non-Lalique price here was €780 (£710) for a Gallé pâte
de verre landscape scent bottle with atomiser, 8in (22cm) high
overall, from c.1890-1900.
Exchange rate: £1 = €1.1