In the 1920s and ‘30s, French glassmaker René Claude Lalique produced 30 different designs of pressed-glass hood ornaments, also known as mascots. Since they were made of glass, they are quite rare.
Once upon a time, the wealthy strapped such trophies to the radiator caps of their Bentleys, Bugattis, Citröens, Packards, and Mercedes—the McLarens of their day. But even back then, when a new Lalique mascot cost around $50 versus the $50,000-$300,000-plus they can command today, most of Lalique’s well-heeled customers only brought their glass treasures out for special occasions, like a Concours d’Elegance car show. One simply did not run errands—or send one’s servants to do so—with such fragile works of art mounted to the hood of one’s car. Lalique knew this, which is why he licensed Breves Galleries of London to fashion metal mounts for his mascots, so that his clear, gray, milky-blue, topaz, green, or orange-yellow menagerie could be tastefully displayed inside the manor where their owners were almost certainly born.
How rare are they? It’s very hard to determine, because the Lalique production records are nowhere to be found, so we don’t know how many of each design were made. But the prices of existing Lalique mascots gives us an indication that they are indeed precious. Read about Lalique’s glass hood ornaments at Collectors Weekly.