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  • Harry Fane

What the heck?

Can someone please answer this question?

Why did this mid-1920s Lacloche powder compact sell for £ 150,000 (US $ 198,000) this week at Christies, London. A good indication of how Christies felt about it was evident in their pre-sale estimate which was £ 10-15,000. This, in my mind, was the correct valuation. Let’s face it, Lacloche, whilst well recognised, was no Cartier. Their creations, do however, show a strong ‘admiration’ for Cartier’s designs of the time.

So what was so special about this box? It certainly is not rare. Lacloche sold quite a number of compacts just like this. In fact, this is a well known Lacloche ‘look’. It’s not heavily jewelled either. Was it the Chinoiserie decoration which perhaps attracted Asian interest? The Chinese love the colour red.


Maybe there’s a mad new Lacloche collector but that doesn’t make sense either because there had to be a second such mad man to be the underbidder.

To me,

it makes little sense but it reminds of a time, some years ago, when a gold and jewelled (Cartier) box made a mad price at auction and I called one of my collectors and said ‘did you see what some idiot paid for that box yesterday?” to which I received the reply, ‘you are talking to that idiot’.




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