Perfume Bottles Auction 2021 – the rare, unique & ravishing!

The annual Perfume Bottles Auction is the most important date in the diary for serious scent bottle collectors around the world. Every year, stunning examples of artistic fragrance flaçons are meticulously sourced and offered to bidders, and it’s a chance to see some of the rarest bottles outside of a museum.

Since 1979, organiser and founder of The Perfume Bottles Auction, Ken Leach, has been working ‘to create public and corporate awareness of the artistry to be found in vintage perfume presentation.’ His antique shop’s show-stopping merchandise ‘has served as a source of inspiration for glass companies, package designers, and celebrity perfumers, before ultimately entering the collections of perfume bottle enthusiasts around the globe.’

Like last year, thanks to the pandemic the auction will be held online on May 1st 2021 – though this offers the opportunity for everyone to join in. The circumstances have made sourcing items more challenging, but Mr. Leach says, although he’s not been able to travel ‘…as I normally would to view collections, fate smiled and among this year’s consignments are some of the rarest and most unusual items I’ve seen.’

 

 

The stunning print catalogue – highly collectable in itself, and an invaluable resource for fragrance fans and historians alike – is now available (and can be sent worldwide).

Mr. Leach is pictured, above, with some of the most important items, and walks us through them, below. Get set to swoon…!
DeVilbiss & Osiris
‘Exceedingly rare 1928 DeVilbiss figural dragonfly perfume atomizer with a pre-sale estimate of $6,000 to $8,000.  Also in this photo is the all important Osiris by Vinolia with a pre-sale estimate of $30,000 to $40,000
Paul Poiret Rosine
‘1919 Rosine Aladin perfume bottle in elaborate box signed Mario Simonis ’19. The box graphics depict Paul Poiret as a Persian King in an imagined Orientalist tableau, the base covered in authentic Moroccan fabric. Pre-sale estimate $2,500-3,500.’
Hoffmann
‘Spectacular 1920s Heinrich Hoffmann Czechoslovakian black crystal perfume bottle with Austrian decoration by Turriet & Bardach. Pre-sale estimate $4,500-5,000’
 
Isabey Lalique
‘1924 Rene Lalique for Isabey A Travers la Voilette (Through the Veil) perfume presentation in collaboration with Alix Ayme. On the box cover and seen through a veil, a beautiful woman smelling a bouquet of flowers is detailed. The lustrous box is finished to appear lacquered while the veil pattern is printed in metallic ink, allowing the embossed flowers to appear to pierce through the veil. Pre-sale estimate $3,000-6,000′
Powder Box
‘1920s Rare Galleries Lafayette “Terre de Retz” highly detailed figural “Pirate Ship” powder box. Pre-sale estimate $1,500-2,000’
Lalique Olives
‘1912 Rene Lalique et Cie. “Olives” clear glass perfume bottle molded with convex oval cabochons, matching stopper. Pre-sale Estimate $600-800’
Ballerina
‘1940’s Marie Earle Ballerina perfume bottle presentation includes a covered plaster ballet shoe stand box. Advertisements for this perfume read “Ballerina perfume for dancing souls.” Pre-sale estimate $3,000-4,000′

Perfume Bottles Auction 2020: WOW! We love these (and you can now bid online to win!)

From Mae West’s signature scent stored in a cigarette packet, bejewelled bottles from the 1800’s to novelty perfumed powder puffs chaped like 1920’s flapper girls… the Perfume Bottles Auction will delight and tempt every fragrance fiend…

The annual Perfume Bottles Auction really is a date in the diary of serious scent collectors – with the most stunning examples of artistic and rare fragrance flaçons you wever will see (outside of a museum, anyway).

Since 1979, organiser and founder of The Perfume Bottles Auction, Ken Leach, has been working ‘to create public and corporate awareness of the artistry to be found in vintage perfume presentation.’ His antique shop’s show-stopping merchandise ‘has served as a source of inspiration for glass companies, package designers, and celebrity perfumers, before ultimately entering the collections of perfume bottle enthusiasts around the globe.’

This year, because of the on-going global pandemic, it has presented something of a challenge to the organisers, but happily the entire catalogue is now online for you to view (and gasp outloud at!) with the auction to take place via live stream on Sat, Jul 11, 2020 8:00 PM BST.

What’s more, in response to the global crisis, the LiveAuctioneers website is dontaing to COVID causes such as Meals on Wheels COVID Response Fund and global relief efforts, with over $50,000 already donated.

Here’s just some of what we’d be bidding on (and would be gracing the dressing table of our dreams…) in this year’s incredible collection of lots…

 

How completely wonderful is this novelty ‘cigarette packet’ style packaging for what was Mae West’s signature scent? Made in 1933, the box is covered in iconic quotes from the bombshell movie star, and the lot includes five ad cards and a counter display. A case of ‘come up and smell me sometime…?’
Estimated price: $2,000-3,000

 

In 1937, Pinaud trademarked the name ‘Scarlett’, releasing the ‘Flirt’ perfume in 1939, with a matching Clark Gable ‘Bittersweet’ scent when the film premiered that year. The bottles were available with a choice of scents, including Apple Blossom, Maghnolia and Honeysuckle, and came with an autographed photo.
Estimated price: $1,000-$2,000

 

Lalique were instrumental in revolutionising perfume bottle design and production, and we love their contemporary fragrances (and the way they incorporate their heritage into bottle production today), but this 1929 bottle for Lucien Lelong in frosted glass with enamelled swags and silvered metal case is just exquisite!
Estimated price: $7,000-8,000

 

Our co-founder, Jo Fairley, loves Schiaparelli Shocking perfume so much she wore it on her wedding day – and did you know the pink for the box was designed by Schiaparelli herself, and gave name to what we still call ‘shocking pink’ to this day? Dating from the 1930s, the auction includes 3 figural soaps, a 1938 ‘Shock in the Box’ perfume, a Salvador Dali-designed face powder and scented boy lotion bottle. Truly, our heart’s desire!
Estimated prices from $200-600 per item

 

Fragranced dusting powders were all the rage once, and we don’t think we’ve ever seen a more fabulous version than this 1920’s Goebel glazed porcelain powder dish. Imagine being a movie starlet or ballet dancer and reaching for this to dust away shine with puffs of perfumed powder – it’s enough to make us swoon with delight!
Estimated price: $600-$800

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Perfume Bottles Auction 2018

Every year, some of the world’s most rare and beautiful perfume bottles are gathered together in one room, at the Perfume Bottles Auction (and going for eye-watering prices, as you’ll see, below!) ‘The longest-running specialty auction of it’s type worldwide, returning clients have come to expect unique, undocumented, and seldom seen bottles to be offered by the Perfume Bottles Auction.’

Bidding on these precious lots are flacon collectors and a good number of museum directors, all desperate to get their hands on these utterly stunning pieces. This year’s auction took place in conjunction with the International Perfume Bottle Association‘s 30th annual convention in Tyson’s, VA, matching the previous year’s already staggering result of $400,000 within a few dollars. Oh my goodness, how we would have loved to be there! Which of these would you have bid on, given a chance…?

1922 Lucien Galliard for Violet ‘Pourpre d’Automne’

Now we have the incredible results (and heart-flutteringly fabulous pictures of the bottles) of what they realised, as told to us by the Perfume Bottles Auction representative… ‘A large and enthusiastic crowd compeated with online bidders, multiple phone lines, and a number of absentee bids over 250 lots chosen to suit every pocketbook – resulting in a wide spread of wins from a 1925 Terre de Ritz figural powder box formed as a 17th century court lady ($120) to the 1940 Helena Rubenstein “Gala Performance” ($24,000, seen below) formed as an actress with outstretched arms standing in an elaborate stage-set box of ostrich plume and velvet.

Bottle designs of 1925 proved to generate special interest and some of the highest results, including the Julien Viard bottle for Myrugia “Besame” with it’s rare love-birds images on label and box ($19,200); the French comic-strip inspired black and white auk character for Coryse “Alfred” ($9,600); Rene Lalique‘s dancer and butterflies motif for Erasmic “de Lui” ($13,200); and the alluring fan-themed label, box, and scent name of Oriza L. Legrand “Eventail” (fan) topping the sale ($39,000) at triple it’s pre-sale estimate.

A fine grouping of R. Lalique items featured perfume bottles, powder boxes, hand mirrors, and a rare 1930 three-chamber perfume tester bed with miniature stoppers as nude maidens for Maison Lalique ($8,400). The auction drew particular interest from a number of museum curators over three historically significant Guerlain bottles including “The Moorish Bottle” a rare 1910 hand decorated bottle by Pochet & du Courval ($9,600, seen above). All three went to museum collections.

1830 Guerlain white opaline glass, with hand-written note and label.

Other highlights in the commercial bottle category include the surrealist female bust of 1941 Lilly Dache “Drifting” ($19,200); the 1938 Baccarat white crystal fan for Elizabeth Arden “Cyclamen” (9,600); and the 1927 Marblehead Art Pottery Egyptian pharoah bottle for Leigh “Amber Nile” ($10,200, see feature image at top of page).

The sale included several lots of perennially popular 19th century scent bottles featuring a Thomas Webb peachblow bottle with applied gold cherry blossoms ($960); an 1850s miniature gourd with hand carved Napoleonic images ($660); an 1887 silver-capped British porcelain monkey ($480); and an 1870s crystal chatelaine bottle with ruby, sapphire and pearl set silver mounts ($1,320).

Dominating the evenings offerings was a beautiful private collection of 1920s-1930s Czechoslovakian crystal bottles, which became a buyer’s paradise due to the large selection and variety, scattering winning bids to between $500 and $2,500, and sending an exceedingly rare Ingrid bottle simulating carved lapis birds soaring ($7,200, seen above)!’

Full results for this and past auctions can be found online at perfumebottlesauction.com

And for those of you hoarding stashed of fabulous flacons, consignments are now being considered for the 2019 auction in Chicago. For further information contact Auction Director: Ken Leach at [email protected]

Written by Suzy Nightingale