Kurt Molders from Munsterbilzen collects crystal ashtrays from Val Saint Lambert (Bilzen)

Kurt shows some of the finest specimens from his unique collection.© yoga


Seventy crystal ashtrays by Val Saint Lambert that shine extra because of the light installation in his cabinets. We are in the collection room of Kurt Molders (49) from Munsterbilzen. “I can look at my collection for hours.”

Johnny Geurts

Yesterday at 03:00

He started his special collection by accident about three years ago. “At a flea market in Sint-Truiden, a woman was offering a collection of crystal,” says Kurt Molders (49) from Bilzer. “A brilliant blue ashtray caught my eye. I then immersed myself in the prestigious crystal factory at Val Saint Lambert abbey near Seraing. Since then I have been constantly looking for beautiful ashtrays. I mainly do that at flea and antique markets. As a truck driver I am on the road a lot and have little time, but I still try to explore as many markets as possible in the hope of finding an ashtray with the right characteristics.”

But that is not always easy. “I now have almost 70 different copies in my possession,” says Kurt. “I ignore colorless or unsigned copies. I am especially a fan of the beautiful, colorful reflections of the crystal. I also pay particular attention to the engraving on the underside of the ashtray. All pieces are hand-cut and signed on the bottom by master cutters. Only a small number of some models were made. It’s even nicer if I have one unique piece can find. But they are all works of art.”

The crystal works of art each got a nice spot in Kurt’s collection room.© yoga

Out of production

Cigarettes don’t get extinguished in Kurt’s ashtrays. De Bilzenaar displays his collection neatly in custom-made wall racks. They are equipped with light elements, which creates a beautiful effect. “The crystal creations are fantastic,” says Kurt. “The ashtrays are no longer made these days. Fewer and fewer people smoke, so ashtrays were dropped from production in the 1990s. Val Saint Lambert is still active itself, but with the grinding of vases and glasses, for example.”

“Each model in my collection has a certain character,” continues Kurt. “This red-green specimen gives a magical purple glow in the reflection of the sun. 250 pieces were made, I have no. 236. At the time, the crystal was mainly on the table of the richer bourgeoisie, it was not affordable for the common workman. The Walloon producer of crystal was also purveyor to the Royal House. Another visit to the glassworks of Val Saint Lambert is on my to-do list.”


Is his collection not an expensive hobby? “I do have some pieces that are pricey,” says Kurt. “Prices can quickly rise enormously via online auctions. But I prefer to search markets and fairs. I also come across a nice copy every now and then through online collection groups. I try not to pay more than 20 euros for a special model in good condition and with the right signature. Every month, all ashtrays are carefully washed. After that I can look at my collection for hours. It makes me really happy.”

Got a Val Saint Lambert crystal ashtray left that you want to please Kurt with? Contact [email protected]

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2023-05-22 01:00:00

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