Solid Perfume Compacts, What’s in a Name?

Estee Lauder

Estee Lauder

A few years ago, I found an Estee Lauder solid perfume compact at an antique mall in Illinois. My daughter had worked at a famous department store on her breaks from college and I recalled her saying these pieces were quite expensive. She told me how highly sought after they were and how ladies would rush to the counters in anticipation of the arrival of the newest Gift With Purchase promotion.

"Palazzo" solid perfume compact

“Palazzo” solid perfume compact

So I bought it at the reasonable price of $15. While at the check-out counter, the lady exclaimed that I got a real bargain because these were so very collectible. I must admit, even though I have dabbled in the antiques and collectibles business for a lot of years, this was not an item I knew anything about.

Collector book Estee Lauder Collectables by Roselyn Gerson

Collector book Estee Lauder Collection
by Roselyn Gerson

Imagine my surprise when I came across the book by Roselyn Gerson, circa 2002. I paged through the book and found the exact compact I had purchased with a wonderful description and original price, plus an estimate of current value. This was called “Palazzo”, nicely enameled on the lid in a rich blue and colorful flowers. I learned it cost $10.00 in 1973 and had a current value of $65-85. I promptly listed it on an Internet site and it sold for $95, even more than anticipated by the writer of the book.

Two solid perfumes "Black Slipper" and "Pink Slipper"

Two solid perfumes “Black Slipper” and “Pink Slipper”

Through the years I have found other solid perfume containers, by different makers. No matter how lovely they were, none reached the price of the Lauder example. They are actually quite lovely.  Some were actually pendants with the scent inside, and as the years went on, more creativity was added. In the 1990s when slippers and shoes were so “hot”, they made a few of those. The Age of Aquarius influenced some in the late ’90s showing fabulous zodiac-related compacts, adorned with crystals.

"Bird Cage" solid perfume brushed goldtone

“Bird Cage” solid perfume brushed goldtone

Many of the animal examples such as a “Bird Cage” perfume compact originally cost $150. It appears to have held its value and was valued at $150-200.

"Panda" black and cream enamel munching on green leaves

“Panda” black and cream enamel munching on green leaves

I often search for these at yard sales and thrift stores and flea markets hoping to strike a bargain. But alas, it appears that people that paid a goodly sum for these when they first came out know they have managed to continue to grow in collectibility and often price. I have learned it makes “good scents” to keep looking and hope to score again.



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