€8? Try £800! Burton valuation reveals car boot bargains as prized Art Nouveau Loetz vases

A PAIR of vases bought by a Staffordshire mum for just €8 at a Spanish car boot sale are set to sell at auction in Lichfield for hundreds of pounds.

Christine Rehm, 65, from Stapenhill, bought the iridescent glassware on a whim about five years ago when she and husband Manfred, 69, were living near Alicante.

But little did she realise that the pretty vases – secured for the equivalent of about £7 today – are actually a pair of Art Nouveau pieces dating back to 1900 by renowned European manufacturer Loetz.

Following a valuation with Richard Winterton Auctioneers at Burton Market Hall, the vases will be offered for sale at The Lichfield Auction Centre on Tuesday, May 2, with an estimate of £800 to £1,200.

“I didn’t know they were valuable or what they were when I bought them,” said Christine.

“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.

“So I took them to Richard Winterton Auctioneers in Burton Market Hall for a valuation and couldn’t believe it when I found out what they were!”

Christine and Manfred Rehm pictured when they were living in Spain near Alicante.
Christine and Manfred Rehm pictured when they were living in Spain near Alicante.

The couple, who have three grown-up children, moved back to the UK in 2021 having lived in Spain for 15 years.

“I’m very glad we brought the vases back with us!” Christine added.

The 13cm tall vases with trefoil-shaped upper rims are from Loetz’s Phaenomen Genre.

Known as PG29, they date back to 1900 when Loetz art glass was at its ‘pinnacle of greatness’, said Sarah Williams, senior valuer with Richard Winterton Auctioneers.

“This was during the Art Nouveau period and is the period of manufacture that is most prized by collectors today,” she said.

“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.”

Bought for €8 at a car boot sale in Spain, the pair of Loetz vases have an auction estimate of £800 to £1,200.
Bought for €8 at a car boot sale in Spain, the pair of Loetz vases have an auction estimate of £800 to £1,200.

From beginnings in 1836 as a glassworks in the Southern Bohemian town of Klostermühle, today part of the Czech Republic called Klášterský Mlýn, Loetz grew to produce some of the world’s most outstanding examples of Art Nouveau.

The factory endured the First World War, the Great Depression and three factory fires but ultimately closed completely in 1947.

“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 First World War. These include Tiffany, Gallé, Daum and Lalique,” added Mrs Williams.

“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 metalwork including silver, silver plate, bronze, and pewter.”

Valuer Lisa Spence with the vases at Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ unit at Burton Market Hall.
Valuer Lisa Spence with the vases at Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ unit at Burton Market Hall.

The auction catalogue featuring the vases will be online a week before the sale via our Auction Dates page and viewing in person takes place on Friday, April 28, from 10am-4pm.

Richard Winterton Auctioneers offers free weekly valuations at Burton Market Hall, Market Place, DE14 1HA, for silver, paintings and antiques on Wednesdays 10am-1pm.

Jewellery and watch valuations usually take place from 10am-1pm on Mondays (excluding Bank Holidays) although in May the only session takes place on Monday, May 22.

For more auction information, to book valuations or to discuss house clearances and large collections, email office@richardwinterton.co.uk or telephone 01543 251081.

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