Collectible Antique Perfume Bottles

Collecting antique perfume bottles can be a fun, challenging hobby. However, before you start to collect, you will have to make a few decisions.

Decorative vs. Commercial Perfume Bottles
There are two general categories of perfume bottles, decorative and commercial. Decorative perfume bottles can hold any type of perfume that you choose and can be refilled. These bottles are sold empty. Commercial bottles are sold containing a specific brand of perfume.

Collecting Decorative Perfume Bottles
If you have settled on decorative perfume bottles, you still will need to winnow down the collecting field. You might focus on glass producers, such as Lalique or Steuben. Another option is to buy atomizer bottles or figural bottles. Perhaps you may fancy cut glass or perfume bottles made in Czechoslovakia. If searching hard is your thing and you have the money, you might look for pieces made before the 1800s, which are considered to be rare.

Some interesting decorative perfume bottles include:

  • "Myosotis #3" by Lalique with nude stopper, signed,  9" c.1928
  • Nude figure dauber with blue jewels made in Czechoslovakia 5.7" c1920s
  • Perfume lamp with dancing girls by Devilbiss, 7.5" c1930s

If you are collecting decorative perfumes, make sure that any metals on the bottles are as clean of corrosion as possible.

Handmade, one of a kind perfume bottles are starting to be in vogue again. You could snap up the work of a new artist whose bottles might appreciate over time.

Collecting Commercial Perfume Bottles
If you decide to start collecting commercial perfume bottles, chances are that you can start your collection spending a lot less money that you would if you were start a decorative collection. This does not mean, however, that commercial perfume bottles are not sought after or valuable. Some collectible commercial perfume bottles include:

  • "It's You" by Elizabeth Arden. Baccarat figural hand. 6.5". Mint in box. c1938.
  • "Diorissimo" by Dior. Urn that has gilt flowers stopper. 9" With box. c1956.
  • Ambre Antique by Coty. Gray stained maidens by R Lalique. 6". c1913.
  • Unnamed perfume by Elizabeth Arden. Blue bottle with blue horse figurine inside. 2.2". With box. c1934.

You might focus on a manufacturer such as Avon or look for miniatures. You could find perfume bottles produced during a certain time frame or year. You can also start a collection by asking for perfume bottles from your friends and family when the bottles are empty.

When collecting commercial bottles, try to find as much of the original packaging as possible. That includes any tags tokens that might have hung on the bottle.  The condition of the bottle is also important. The bottle should be clean or cleanable without corrosion on any metal parts. The bottle will probably be less valuable if it doesn't have a stopper.

Finally, keep in mind that 1963 is a cut-off date for many collectors. Before 1963, stoppers were ground to fit inside of the perfume bottles. In 1963, manufacturers used plastic on the end of stoppers instead. This makes commercial perfume bottle produced before 1963 potentially more valuable than those made after 1963. 

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