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Questions d'Eventails


        Une vente d'éventails en 1897
      A hand fans auction sale in 1897

Here, this page in French!

The hand fans collectors who visit this "Place de l'Eventail", and we thank them, inevitably ask themselves questions about the value of their favorite objects. If they have been for a long time frequenting antique dealers, garage or jumble sales, auction houses and specialized websites, they have seen the prices go up ... and down. This cycle will undoubtedly continue, and the true collector does not act on the basis of price fluctuations but after the quality of the objects and the personal interest  attached to them. However, one can reasonably think about the evolution of the market, and for example, wonder what were the values ​​in distant times. Unfortunately, old sales catalogs almost always have summary descriptions, rarely photographs, almost never estimates, and of course not the prices achieved.

We therefore believe that our visitors will be happy to find here extracts from a sales catalog comprising photographed and relatively well described fans, and where an attentive collector had noted the prices reached (which we have been able to verify thanks to another source).  This catalog originally belonged to the prestigious "Heim Library", created by a famous antique dealer with almost exhaustive Parisian auction sales since 1730, and dispersed in 2015.

We even have an "entry card" to the exhibition.

carte d'entrée

The cover and the title page provide further information.


The featured fans

The fans appeared in the first 57 lots of the sale. All the lots  which did sell bear a price noted in ink, to which it is appropriate to add the amount of the costs : in those happy times, alas well bygone, they amounted to only 5% (I truly mean five percent!). In addition to the first page, only the texts corresponding to the illustrated fans will be reproduced below, placed for convenience under the photos of the fans. Those pictures are grouped in the catalog into three plates. The question that immediately arises is that of the correspondence between these prices and our current currencies. To simplify a lot, and after consulting specialized financial sites, we will indicate that to obtain Euros for 2020 or 2021 we can multiply the prices by four, by 3.5 for English Pounds and by 4.5 for US Dollars. All this is obviously very approximate, and we must also consider that low wages, especially in France, increased considerably during the twentieth century, and that for example, a postman was earning at the time about 700 F per year (and number of workers even less) and a schoolteacher hardly more than 2000 F per year: neither one nor the other could buy the fans that we will see below!

Lot 1

Lot 1
1 - Fan from the time of Louis XV, with mother-of-pearl monture, gilded reliefs, with the arms of France and of the House of Austria, offering an allegory to the hymen of Louis, Dauphin, and Archduchess Marie-Antoinette. The leaf, painted in gouache, represents the medallions of the two spouses alternating with other emblematic medallions of the fine arts and framed by the fleurdelized mantle.
page 1

Lot 5
 Lot 5

- 5 Fan from the time of Louis XV, with openwork and gilded mother-of-pearl monture, composed of three medallions: the engagement and young women at their toilet, in frames enriched with zircon. The guards are decorated with arborized agates, and the leaf, painted in gouache, represents a pastoral scene composed of nine figures in a park decorated with vases and statues.
Lot 5 texte

Lot 12
Lot 12
12 - Fan from the time of Louis XV, with gilded mother-of-pearl monture, showing a sacrifice and enriched by coloured stones
; painted leaf depicting a female prisoner brought to a victorious warrior
Lots 12 13
Lot 13
13 -
Fan from the time of Louis XV, with gilded mother-of-pearl monture, showing mythlogical subjects: leaf depicting Balthazar's feast.
LOt 13

Lot 20
Lot 20
20 - 
Fan from the time of Louis XV, with engraved mother-of-pearl monture, openworked, enhanced with colors and gilding, with cupids figurines, garlands, baskets, birds, rockeries, etc. Leaf, painted in gouache, offering a pastoral subject.
Lot 20 texte

Lot 34
Lot 34
34 -
Fan from the time of Louis XV, with mother-of-pearl monture decorated with deities from the Fable and Cupids, enhanced with gold in frames drawn by clouds and foliage. The leaf represents Flora and Zephyr, garlanded with flowers by the Cupids.

Lot 40
Lot 40
40 -Louis XV fan in mother-of-pearl with gilded reliefs: figures of Ceres and  reaping Cupids, in openwork frames. The leaf represents the palace of Apollo.
Lot 40 teste

What questions ?

We are not going to study here the relevance of the descriptions made by MM Mannheim father and son, experts for this sale. Let us simply note that the illustrated fans are all in mother-of-pearl, and said to be "from the time of Louis XV" or, for the latter
only "Louis XV" (we do not know what this difference may mean).  We also note that at the time it was not considered useful to better specify the dating, nor the geographical origin and even less the dimensions of the objects.

If we include this page in our section of "Fan Questions", it is quite simply because we think we have seen at least two of these fans in sales or exhibition catalogs, or during these sales or exhibitions.

You are perhaps the proud owner of one of these fans, or maybe you could tell us in which catalog or book it is possible to find them.

We would be happy to relate these objects to this sale of 1897.

Thank you in advance for your contributions. Of course, all other opinions, opinions or questions are welcome!

Please email to the address given in our homepage and consider having a look at our other questions!