Would you put a $300,000 glass sculpture on the hood of your car?

Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly wrote a piece on rare Lalique car mascots (aka, hood ornaments) from the 1920s and '30s. "They are amazing," he says, "but even if I could afford one, I don't think I'd drive to Safeway for a quart of half-and-half with one of these things on the hood of my car. Oh wait—I don't have a car!"

Once upon a time, the wealthy strapped such trophies to the radiator caps of their Bentleys, Bugattis, Citröens, Packards, and Mercedes — the McLarens of their day. But even back then, when a new Lalique mascot cost around $50 versus the $50,000-$300,000-plus they can command today, most of Lalique’s well-heeled customers only brought their glass treasures out for special occasions, like a Concours d’Elegance car show. One simply did not run errands — or send one’s servants to do so — with such fragile works of art mounted to the hood of one’s car. Lalique knew this, which is why he licensed Breves Galleries of London to fashion metal mounts for his mascots, so that his clear, gray, milky-blue, topaz, green, or orange-yellow menagerie could be tastefully displayed inside the manor where their owners were almost certainly born.