Menagerie of vintage Judith Leiber handbags and accessories selling without reserve

A multi-colored crystal Ganesh minaudiere, signed Leiber Limited Edition; accompanied with two signed pouches and one signed box. Purse measures approximately 6 1/4 by 5 by 3 1/2 inches; estimated at $1,500-$2,500. Photo courtesy Bonhams.

LOS ANGELES – Bonhams has announced the Dec. 12, 2011 auction of the Robert Maier collection of Judith Leiber handbags and accessories. The offering boasts more than 250 examples in the shapes of dogs, cats, bears, sea life, floral, vegetables, eggs and fairy tale-inspired items.

Highlights include the highly sought after 3-dimensional and traditional handbags, as well as a strong selection of pill boxes, lipstick cases, compacts, notebooks, business card cases and candy holders, with many of the items to be offered without reserve.

More than an auction, this is a love story. The ever-doting husband, Bob Maier shares a tale of going above and beyond for the love of his life, his wife.

“It started innocently enough,” he began, “as many stories do, with the single purchase of a single item, produced by someone I had never heard of at the time: Judith Leiber. My wife was completely taken with Leiber’s little “pillboxes,” so we thought we’d start a collection.

“As my wife and I enter retirement, we now pass along this these items to the other collectors out there that love these shiny little bags. … Give them a good home, show them off, and most of all, have fun!”

Highlights from the collection include:

  • a black and silver bird cage handbag with matching pillbox (estimate $2,500-$3,500);
  • a gold scarab motif handbag ($2,000-$3,000);
  • a “penguin” handbag with matching pillbox ($2,000-$3,000);
  • This silver crystal owl purse with purple crystal eyes and gold colored metal detailing, signed Judith Leiber, is expected to sell for $1,000 to 1,500.

    a brown “cello” handbag ($1,500-$2,500);

  • a gold starfish handbag ($2,000-$3,000); a “Mandarin tiger” handbag ($1,500-$2,500);
  • an orange-red tomato handbag ($1,000-$1,500);
  • a group of pillboxes in the shapes of a camel, a koala, a porcupine and a teddy bear ($400-$600) and a selection of dalmatian, poodle and Fu Dog handbag (estimates range from $1,500-$3,000)
  • a strong selection of cats, bears, sea life, floral, vegetable, egg-shaped, fairy tale-inspired and traditional handbags (estimates vary).

Many of the handbags, pill boxes and compacts on offer include the original pouch and outer box.

A full preview will be held in Los Angeles (Dec. 9-11) with the auction to follow preceding the Entertainment Memorabilia sale (Dec. 12).

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