Vladimir Zahour

People keep saying to me that “everything that’s worth something has been found” and “it’s not worth looking as there are no bargains any more”. Well, it’s just not true. Only last month a superb, and rare example of a Modernist chair found for £25 sold at auction for nearly £3,000! Similar, but not quite in the same league, is the large cut glass display goblet shown here. It was acquired by a friend of mine on eBay, where it was described as ‘A large crystal balloon vase, hand cut, very unusual’. The seller went on to say that he had never seen anything quite like it before.
Not surprising, really, as it’s a very rare example of a late 1960s design by Vladimir Zahour, a master of postwar Czech glass design.
During this period, the cut itself was the most important factor, rather than it being used as a means to an end, to produce traditional naturalistic or heraldic designs. Simple, geometric cuts in abstract patterns that reflected the brilliance and purity of Czech lead crystal dominated.
The design is hard to find, but this form is even rarer. Decanters and ashtrays covered in the pattern crop up from time to time, as do vases. I’ve only ever seen one example of a goblet before, but at 6.5in (16.5cm) high, this could probably take nearly a whole bottle of brandy! I believe this cross between a (largely impractical) display piece and functional drinking glass makes it much scarcer as fewer would have sold. The price? My friend paid £13. The value? I’d cautiously estimate it at at least ten times that price, and could see it fetching in excess of £150. And that’s today. If the market continues to grow as much as it has done, I can see it comfortably doubling that in five years’ time. Not a bad return – try making that sort of margin trading in stocks & shares today!

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