Auction: LaMothe Collection represents one couple’s lifelong journey Auctions is expanding its reach across the collecting spectrum by offering 487 lots including the largest known collection of metal mesh handbags and vintage fashion. Click here to download the free special eight-page catalog for the sale, composed primarily of the Dennis and Terri LaMothe Collection, a three-decade pursuit for Whiting and Davis and Mandalian Mfg. Co. metal mesh handbags and fashion, plus additions of fine jewelry. The online, absentee and telephone auction opens Nov. 23 and closes Dec. 16 on

It’s rare when husband and wife come together with a shared passion for collecting, yet the LaMothes’ union produced two of the 20th century’s top collectors of metal mesh used in fashion. The auction is comprised of four different categories: antique mesh, vintage fashion, jewelry and the LaMothes’ collection of Department 56 collectibles.

Standout lots include a series of handbags depicting Hollywood icons Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable and Mickey Mouse as well as celebrity memorabilia from Cher and Lisa Hartman-Black.

Included are a number of rare scenic handbags depicting a range of Art Deco-inspired themes such as skyscrapers, peacocks, sunrises and meadow scenes.. Once a design was chosen it naturally narrowed the market for the handbag. As such, the design and style had to be of the finest quality and feature dynamic designs. “It took 24 hours for each color to dry once it was applied,” Terri said of the different colored enamels used in the designs. “Once they were complete the stencils were destroyed so they really are living history.”

Also in the selection of handbags are 70 lots of rare specimens made by the Mandalian Manufacturing Company. Mandalian-made handbags are highly sought after by collectors because of the company’s eclectic designs and strict production methods. “They used crushed fish scale and applied it to the mesh to give it the shine,” Terri said. “They made a better bag but they couldn’t go up against Whiting and Davis.”

Rounding out the metal mesh collection is a selection of vintage fashion produced by the Whiting and Davis Company in the 1980s. Pieces include rare prototypes made by fashion designer Anthony Ferrara made specifically for the Whiting and Davis line.

Among the fine jewelry is a white gold bracelet adorned with 72.23 carats of rubies and a pair of earrings with an impressive 8.7 carats of sapphires accented with diamonds. Auctions’ first vintage fashion sale welcomes mail, phone, absentee and online bids through Bidding opens Nov. 23 and closes Dec. 16. Complete descriptions and images for all lots can be found at

For information on any lot or to learn more about bidding in this sale, call the offices at 888-463-3063.

Photos courtesy Dennis & Terri LaMothe.



*Great Books, CDs, Price Guides & More
*Share YOUR Thoughts in the Antique Trader Forums
*Check out our FREE Online Classified Ads
*Sign up for your FREE e-mail newsletter
*Visit the Antique Trader blog for the latest news and views from the Antique Trader editors
*Enter the Antique Trader Treasure Hunt Sweepstakes