Lalique vases are probably his best-known designs, but for dealer and collector Geoffrey G Weiner it was the classic ‘mascots’ that became a fascination. So much so, that he wrote a book, not just about the car (hood) ornaments but also desk ornaments and associated paperweights, trophies and bookends, of the inter-war Art Deco period to modern (discontinued) pieces.
And now Weiner’s entire private collection of Lalique mascots is coming up for sale (The GG Weiner Collection) in a dedicated single-owner offering of 70 lots at Gorringe’s auction house in Lewes, East Sussex, on September 6. All the collection was featured in Weiner’s book titled simply Unique Lalique Mascots.
This extensive group has been accumulated since the turn of the century.
The timing of the sale coincides with the nearby Goodwood Revival week, with the saleroom hoping to attract interested parties and overseas visitors that are coming to the event, with car mascots forming such a large selection at Gorringe’s.
Weiner says: “In a nutshell... we (my late father and I) have been continually in business from the 1960s dealing at first in fine arms, armour and militaria along with (controversial) Third Reich regalia. We started in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, taking a shop in Brady's Arcade - formerly the collectors’ shop owned and run by Roy Butler, he of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow, who's been running an auction house for many years in Lewes, Sussex [Wallis & Wallis].
“Travelling every month to purchase stock from his auction house in Lewes, it was sensible to move nearer.”
The business moved to Brighton in the 1970s, renting various shops in the famous ‘Lanes’ area, still trading in militaria and then, incorporating vintage children’s pedal cars, from an arcade shopping centre in nearby Rottingdean.
It moved back to central Brighton in the 1990s and leased premises called The Sentry Box in Market Street, in the Lanes, and then traded from various other outlets - gradually dispensing with the militaria and trading in classic car memorabilia and automobilia incorporating Lalique car mascots into the inventory.
In early 2000 they were able to buy a freehold house with land and a ‘tatty’ garage, “getting planning permission to knock it down and re-build a purpose built gallery with glass roof to show off the exclusive Lalique mascots in natural light."
The car mascots are highly sought-after by collectors.
According to the rlalique.com website: “The most expensive and fanciest cars of his day were adorned with one of his mascots and even today his mascots grace the hoods of some of the greatest cars of the early 20th century at car shows, in private collections, and in automobile museums.”
Lalique produced 29 different mascot designs before he died in 1945, most of them based on different animals.
Also included in the sale is a large oil on canvas painting of the master himself, René Jules Lalique, working at his desk with an Albert vase in the foreground, commissioned in 1931 from his highly acclaimed artist daughter Suzanne Lalique.
Other items include a large octagonal plate glass display case together with spare top with electric motor to power the shelves and lights, black glass circular display stands, various Lalique ephemera relating to the mascots, including reference books, auction catalogues, brochures, flyers and so on.