Early car mascots rev up Melbourne auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 26th November, 2018

In the early days of automobiles, manufacturers would often proudly mount mascots on the radiator caps to better identify the make of the vehicle.

Many became elaborate works of art and a collectable prize for those who could afford them.

They only really went out of favour in the 1970s when authorities realised the extra damage they could cause pedestrians in the event one was hit by the vehicle.

One such Melbourne collector has managed to locate 12 of these creations, dating from 1920 to 1930, and after many years of owner satisfaction is now auctioning them through Philips Auctions forthcoming sale from noon Sunday December 2 at 47 Glenferrie Road, Malvern.

An extremely rare auction event, perhaps the most valuable mascot is an early French art deco Rene Lalique glass version entitled ‘Tete de Coq’ from 1928 (lot 9).

Another is a 1923 French art deco silver bronzed crescent moon with a yowling, gesticulating cat car mascot ‘Lune et Chat’ signed Et. (Etienne) Mercier (lot 13).

Most of the car mascots are French but one – a 1930 silver-plated Australian kangaroo on a wooden base – leaves no doubts as to its origins.

The auction features several music boxes including a fine 19th century probably Swiss version with its original table stand (lot 68).

Anglo-Indian furniture from a deceased Kooyong dentist who inherited the collection from his father is another notable auction inclusion.

Typical of the collection is a 1920s Anglo-Indian rosewood elephant dinner gong (lot 53) and a rosewood carved chest on a stand (lot 408).

Among the clocks on offer is a 19th century French Renaissance revival bronze clock garniture (lot 74) while a collection of scent bottles should generate strong interest – including a sterling silver and ruby glass scent and vinaigrette version (lot 186).

Georgian sterling silver vinaigrettes from the early 1800s is another strong attraction – an 1823 Birmingham watch type is notable along with an 1830 rectangular specimen from the same city.

Two ruby rings, one a 6.27-carat three-stone with diamonds and a catalogue estimate of $40,000-$55,000, are notable inclusions for the jewellery auction from 6pm Monday December 3.


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