Editor’s Note: Lladró porcelain sculptures are prized and coveted collectibles. Fourteen exquisite pieces are being offered in an online auction.
Lladró, creator of artistic porcelain sculptures, will be hosting a historic online auction, offering collectors an opportunity to bid on 14 special pieces carefully selected and signed by Juan Lladró, one of the three founding Lladró brothers. These pieces will immediately become high-value collectibles.
The auction will begin on Dec. 4 and run through Dec. 10, and participants will be able to make their bids online for a chance to own iconic pieces of the Spanish porcelain brand. The exact starting prices will be announced on Lladró´s Web site Dec. 4, but will range between $1,000 and $50,000.
“We have never had an auction like this. These are rare, sold-out limited editions, and all are signed by Juan Lladró—the eldest of the three founding brothers—who is retired and does no longer attend shows or signings,” said Gemma Cortijo, marketing manager for Lladró. Cortijo said that Lladró was offering this auction as a new way for buyers to acquire these special figurines, possibly as a holiday gift for a Lladró enthusiast.
All of the 14 sculptures that are up for auction are exclusive limited editions, including “Allegory to the peace,” which the company calls “a sculpture so special it was never introduced or available for sale.” The first one was presented to German politician, journalist and Nobel Peace Price recipient Willy Brandt in 1971. Others were later given to Pope Paul VI and President Ronald Reagan.
Additionally, all auction bidders will be entered into a raffle to win a Christmas gift, the sculpture “Beautiful angel,” a Lladró creation that “expresses the eternal hope and humanity of the holiday season.” It has a retail value of $510.
‘Forest’: Introduced in 1973 and sold out in 1983 (500 units), each flower on “Forest” was made by hand, petal by petal. Lladró flowers have helped earn the company worldwide fame. The handcrafted work behind each floral composition is thanks to the Lladró artists specialized in flower making.
Lladró Auction Process
Those wishing to bid on items in the auction will have to register on the Lladró Web site and agree to the terms and conditions of the auction before being able to participate. To register, go to the Lladró´s Web site, click on “My Account,” and simply enter your name and e-mail address. To place a bid, return to the Lladró Web site after the auction has started (at noon EST on Dec. 4), and place a bid. Bidding will begin at the set base prices. From there, bids will be accepted in $100 increments.
The auction will continue through Dec. 10, with the ending times as follows: 12 p.m.: “Eagles nest”; 1 p.m.: “Forest,” “Tit birds and flowers vase,” “A timeless moment”; 2 p.m.: “Turtle-dove group,” “Radha Krishna,” “True affection”; 3 p.m.: “Road to Mandalay,” “Peacock vase,” “Maternal joy”; 4 p.m.: “Gypsy dancers,” “Scheherazade,” “The voyage of Columbus”; 5 p.m.: “Allegory to the peace.”
The person with the highest bid when the bidding ends will be the winner of the piece and informed via e-mail.
’Eagles nest’: Introduced in 1981 and sold out in 1995 (300 units), “Eagles nest” boasts extensive attention to detail with a striking liveliness in the way it renders the bird’s majestic pose.
History of Lladró
Lladró was formed when brothers Juan, José and Vicente Lladró made their first creations in 1953 in a Moorish furnace built in their home in Almàssera (Valencia), Spain. They further developed their artistry working in a tile-and-crockery factory, carefully designing pieces. In 1958, the brothers decided to dedicate themselves exclusively to their own works and transfer their small company to a warehouse in the neighboring town of Tavernes Blanques, introducing innovations not only in the design and style of the figurines, but also in the firing techniques, reducing the three-layer firing to a one-layer process. One-firing is an innovative method that creates the crystalline finish and the pastel tonalities typical of Lladró works.
Each year, Lladró produces new porcelain figurine collections, but the collections are often limited in numbers and then discontinued shortly following their release. When each figurine or collection is removed from the commercial market, the collectors’ market takes off.
‘Road to Mandalay’: This is the first piece of a limited edition of 750 units (introduced in 1982 and sold out in 1982) and one of the very best examples of how Lladró artists have often reflected a fascination for oriental cultures in their work, showing the dazzling baroque beauty of India.
And because collections of these figurines are created in such limited quantity, they are, by definition, difficult to find and even harder to get hold of. When these pieces are sold, they sell at a premium. Some collectors refuse to part with their pieces, building their collections for posterity.
In addition to the relative scarcity of the individual figurines, the small differences in the finish and the minute attention to detail of each piece keep their values high. Some Lladró figurines are created from more than 250 molds, and each piece is painted by hand.
Gregory Watkins is the WorthPoint newsletter editor
WorthPoint: Get the Most from Your Antiques and Collectibles.