Collecting perfume bottles is definitely a hot hobby these days. But collecting vintage perfume bottles is a whole lot more rewarding because of the intrinsic value associated with each piece. Thinking of buying a piece to start or augment your collection? Read on for some tips.
The first step is knowing the styles and origins that interest you. While books on antique perfume bottles are aplenty (there is no need to buy, just visit your local library!), I find the Internet most useful. Auction sites are excellent sources of information on what is popular out there, as well as the expected prices. Because they are antique, they tend to be expensive and having a good idea of the prices is important.
Secondly, what can one find antique perfume bottles? Begin by searching antique stores if you are a newbie. Most storeowners would be able to guide you on the age and origin of each piece. Compare what the storeowner tells you with your research note and you will know whether the storeowner is reliable. Auction sites like Yahoo! and eBay are good for bargain purchases but make sure you ask lots of questions and demand to see pictures of the bottle to ensure it is the real thing. You may also be able to unravel gems occasionally in garage or yard sales.
Thirdly, remember the brand of the perfume bottles makes a difference. As far as I know, perfume bottles manufactured by famous companies like Baccarat, Coty, Guerlain, Steuben, St. Lousis, Lalique, Galle are hot favorites of collectors. Manufacturers such as Lalique, Galle and Moser mark their perfume bottles. Therefore, it is easy to determine whether a bottle is the real thing just by looking at the bottom of theses bottles.
The overall condition of the antique perfume bottle is another critical consideration. It is obvious that bottles in good conditions (no marks, scratches, chips, stains or cracks) will fetch better prices. There should also be no blotches, discoloring or tear on the label. Nonetheless, being antiques (meaning old!), antique perfume bottles in perfect conditions are hard to come by. If it is a rare bottle, a minor chip should not be too devaluing.
Next, collectors are concerned about the contents in the bottles. Many collectors may wish to own antique perfume bottles that still contain the original scents. Indeed, perfumes that are sealed will fetch higher prices. But bear in mind that perfumes lose their freshness after 7 to 10 years, so some vintage perfumes actually stink! In addition, perfumes evaporate over time due to the alcohol content and there may also be residue in the bottles.
Last but not the least, let your glass shine! Give the insides of an empty perfume bottle an occasional scrub by filling in some water, followed by swirling lead shot or sand in it. If old perfume bottles are turning cloudy (a result of hard water mineral deposits), fill it with water and add a denture-cleaning tablet. However, do be very careful not to wet the label on the bottle.