Baccarat tantalus

Baccarat tantalus in the form of an elephant and howdah – Can$120,000 (£75,000) at Lunds.

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The c.1886 cut glass and gilt-bronze pachyderm carrying liquor decanters in its howdah and glasses at its side, was commissioned from the French factory by the American entrepreneur, engineer and inventor George Westinghouse (1846-1914).

It was a gift for his wife, Margaret Erskine Walker Westinghouse whose initials MEWW appear to one of the glass elements. It is thought a similar model was designed for display at the 1878 Exposition Universelle (world’s fair) in Paris.

Baccarat tantalus

The stamp for Baccarat on the tantalus.

The 2ft 1in (63cm) high tantalus had been in the Westinghouse family for more than a century and consigned for sale to local British Columbia auction house Lunds.

A number of elements were missing or broken but, estimated at Can$50,000-100,000, it sold to a US bidder for a house-record sum. With 20% buyer’s premium, the price on April 26 was Can$144,000.