Woman buys car boot sale vases for £7 - and discovers they are Art Nouveau Loetz treasures worth £1,200
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A woman who picked up a pair of vases from a car boot sale for £7 was shocked to discover they are rare treasures worth more than £1,000. Christine Rehm, 65, spotted the iridescent glassware while browsing for souvenirs at the event in Spain five years ago.
She bought two matching vases for €8 (£7) and put them in her home she shared with husband Manfred, 69, near the Spanish city of Alicante. The couple moved back to the UK in 2021 after 15 years living in Spain, and Christine took the ornaments to an antiques expert for valuation.
She was amazed to discover they were around 120 years old and were Art Nouveau pieces by renowned European manufacturer Loetz. They are now going under the hammer with an expected sale price of between £800-£1,200.
Christine, from Stapenhill in Staffordshire, said: “I didn’t know they were valuable or what they were when I bought them. I just liked the style and particularly their colour.
“The seller had marked them up for €10 but said I could have them for €8 as that’s what he’d decided to let them go for. We’ve looked after them and kept them behind glass but I’m redoing the lounge and thought I’d see if they were worth anything.
“I couldn’t believe it when I found out what they were. I’m very glad we brought the vases back with us.”
The 13cm tall vases with trefoil-shaped upper rims are from Loetz’s Phanomen Genre. Known as PG29, they date back to 1900 when Loetz art glass was at its “pinnacle of greatness”.
Sarah Williams, senior valuer with Richard Winterton Auctioneers, said: “This was during the Art Nouveau period and is the period of manufacture that is most prized by collectors today. The Phaenomen Genre’s main characteristic is the rippled or feathered design on the surface of the object.
“This was achieved by wrapping hot glass threads around a molten glass base and then the threads were pulled on the surface to create the designs whilst all the materials were still malleable. The technique was patented in 1898.”
Loetz grew to produce some of the world’s most outstanding examples of Art Nouveau. The factory survived the First World War, the Great Depression and three factory fires but ultimately closed completely in 1947.
Sarah added: “Several other glass manufacturers are also synonymous with the Art Nouveau, a style in the decorative arts that covered the 1890s to the start of the FirstWorld War. These include Tiffany, Gallé, Daum and Lalique.
“Glass lent itself well to the sinuous and naturalistic forms that the style was inspired by and suited the iridescent glass well, especially when combined with metal work including silver, silver plate, bronze, and pewter.”
The vases will be sold at Richard Winterton Auctioneers in Lichfield on May 2.