Hello and welcome! Please understand that this website is not affiliated with Guerlain in any way, it is only a reference page for collectors and those who have enjoyed the classic fragrances of days gone by.

The main objective of this website is to chronicle the history of the Guerlain fragrances and showcase the bottles and advertising used throughout the years.

However, one of the other goals of this website is to show the present owners of the Guerlain perfume company how much we miss the discontinued classics and hopefully, if they see that there is enough interest and demand, they will bring back these fragrances!

Please leave a comment below (for example: of why you liked the fragrance, describe the scent, time period or age you wore it, who gave it to you or what occasion, any specific memories, what it reminded you of, maybe a relative wore it, or you remembered seeing the bottle on their vanity table), who knows, perhaps someone from the current Guerlain brand might see it.

Looking to Buy Vintage Fragrances?

Selling Perfume Tips


  • Are you a collector of antique & vintage perfumes or want to get started?
  • Are you a seller who wants to list vintage perfumes but don't know where to start?

Then you have come to the right place! I have been collecting vintage perfumes for many years and have also sold them on ebay for several years. I will discuss several things people look for when buying vintage perfumes and things a seller should add to their item descriptions.

If you are a seller, please read the following tips:

Take photos!

Make sure you have a photo of the item you are trying to sell. Do not use other people's photos of a similar bottle or stock photos unless the perfume is brand new. Names for specific bottle shapes, and exact dates for different styles of even well known brands and fragrances are not yet standardized.

Take good pictures! When taking pictures of commercial or colored glass perfume bottles, it is best to have a plain white background, this will show the true color of the glass, the juice, and any other important aspects. If you have a plain, clear glass bottle, shoot it with a black background and convert the photo to grayscale or black and white. It will show all the details in the glass beautifully! Do not use pictures that are blurry, too dark or if the item is too far away to make out details.

The right terminology

Although, I advise you to use the word "perfume" in your title as a keyword, try to be accurate in your descriptive text, especially if your bottle is really an Parfum (Extrait/Extract), Eau de Parfum, Parfum de Toilette, Eau de Cologne, Cologne, Eau de Toilette, Toilet Water, etc. Do not continue to call it a perfume in the descriptive text if it is not, especially if the label is not readable in your photo. Most fragrance bottle collectors consider the distinction to be quite important. True perfume bottles command higher prices.

How old is it?

Please bear in mind that your buyer is interested in how old the perfume is. If it dates to the 1920s, 1960s or even the 1990s, please make mention of it in your description. Many perfume bottles have been redeveloped throughout the years and knowing which year your bottle dates from may help in someone's quest for a particular bottle.  If you are unsure about the age of your bottle, you can ask me thru my appraisal service or look thru any of my guides here on vintage perfumes (most are listed by the perfume's name). If you estimate the date of a bottle or set, be careful. The debut date for a fragrance only dates its first bottle. After that, magazine ads are one good way to estimate the decade. Bottle style, zip code (started in 1963), and other clues will help you to date your bottle.

Who made it?

Who was the manufacturer? For instance, if Guerlain made your bottle of Shalimar tell your buyer. Sometimes, perfumes can have the same names, but different makers. Your buyer may be looking up that particular maker in a search. Some collectors only want to buy certain perfume bottles from particular perfume houses.

Does it spray or is it a splash bottle?

Is your perfume bottle an atomizer? An atomizer is a perfume that has a spray. If your perfume has one, be sure to mention if your perfume is an atomizer, because some people are looking for these. If there is no spray mechanism, it is known as a splash bottle. Look at the base of your atomizer for any manufacturer's signatures or labels. Some atomizer manufacturers are highly collectible like Devilbiss,Volupte, Aristo, Irice, Apollo, Marcel Franck. Be sure to mention if your piece is acid-stamped, especially if it says Czecho-Slovakia, Baccarat, Lalique or France.

Does your bottle have a dauber? The long stick thing at the end of a stopper that dips into the perfume is properly called a dauber (also known as a tigella--a rod, usually of glass and sometimes sculptured , attached to the underneath of a perfume bottle stopper for use as a dipper). It isn't called a dobber, dipstick, dabber or wand.

Condition

What is the overall condition? Are there any chips, scratches, fleabites, stains, or cracks? Chips along the mouth of the bottle or on the base of the stopper? If your bottle has been gilded, is there any wear to the gilding? Is dauber end snapped off the stopper? If your stopper is frozen in place, be sure to mention that when listing. Some buyers prefer if you do not disturb it, plus it will help when it comes time to ship the bottle.

Describe defects honestly. Descriptions of defects on eBay are usually quite good - full disclosure seems to be the rule. Fleabites on stoppers, tears in labels, broken corners on set boxes, missing box tops, dings on bottle bottoms, and chips out of lips always need to be mentioned. How visible the defect is when the bottle is displayed is also helpful to mention.

How big is it?

What is the size of the bottle? Please make mention how tall the bottle is and the width. Some bottles may look big/small on the computer, but a buyer may be disappointed in how big/small it may be in person. Mention if the bottle is a mini perfume or if it is a large factice (dummy, display bottle). Describe important colors of the glass, label, or box, if they look wrong in your photo. Color rendering in photos is often hard to control; your description can explain away colors that are artifacts. Try to give the height of the bottle, or the dimensions of the box holding a set. The term "mini" is not very precise - it is used for a wide variety of sizes. Also, some collectors prefer not to buy very large bottles. By the way - I prefer not to see a ruler in the picture: it detracts from the beauty of the bottle or set and some people may have trouble reading the fine print on a computer screen.

Does it have a label?

What condition is the label in? This is very important as this adds or decreases the value of your bottle. For instance, is there any wear, fading, smudges, chipping? Is it a gold or silver foil label? Is it a metal label? Is the label missing or on the base? Is there enameled lettering on the bottle instead of a label? Does this have wear?

Try to get close-ups so that a potential buyer can read the label and judge its condition. (Some digital cameras have separate settings for close-ups, look for a flower or tulip motif.) If you have glare on your label, or if the label is not readable in your photo, try to describe the quality of the label in your words. Tell buyers if the label is mint, stained, faded, smudged, rubbed off on certain letters, peeling, torn, etc.

Ideas for Describing the Condition of Labels on Commercial Fragrance Bottles by Bill Ellis

The label on a commercial fragrance bottle, can be an exceedingly important component of the value of the bottle to collectors. This is especially true for antique bottles valued for their historical interest, rather than those with unique designs and considered art objects. Many antique fragrance bottles lose 50 to 75 percent of their value if their label is missing, the proportion depending mainly on the esthetic appeal of the bottle itself compared to the label.

For example, many Prince Matchabelli bottles are attractive and desirable without any label; for them, the loss of a label may decrease their value maybe 25 percent. But many Lanvin bottles without their distinctive golden metallic labels would not look very different from Revlon fragrance bottles. I would downgrade the value of a screw-capped Lanvin bottle without its label by about 75 percent.

My ideas presented here, however, are for grading the label between the extremes of no label and a perfect label. The following are my suggestions for grading fragrance bottle labels, and the corresponding percentage of full label value based on its condition. Remember that the conditions of the label and the glass combine to determine the value of the whole bottle, and the relative contribution of the two to overall value is determined by collector opinion.

Grading Fragrance Bottle Labels


  • mint (100%) - the label is in perfect condition, like new, properly positioned (usually centered) on the bottle front or bottom; the words are properly centered on the label
  • nearly mint (95%) - the label is nearly perfect, with only one minor fault: minor scratch, minor stain, or minor crease
  • excellent (75-90%) - the label is slightly worn, but all words can be read easily, and none of the label is missing; it may be off center, or some of the color on letters may be gone; corners of the label may be curled; there may be up to two other minor faults: minor scratch, minor stain, minor crease
  • very good (50-70%) - the label is worn; the color on up to half of the letters may be gone, but most words are still readable; the fragrance name and brand name can be deduced; there may be up to two other major faults: major scratch, major stain, or major crease
  • good (30-40%) - the label is very worn, and words may be obliterated; about half of the words are readable, or all of the words are hard to read; either the fragrance name or the perfume company can be deduced; there may be up to three other major faults: major scratch, major stain, major crease, or a piece of the label is missing (each 10% of the label missing is a major fault)
  • fair (10-20%) - enough of the label is present to determine its original size and shape (at least half), or all of the label is present, but none of it is legible; possibly neither the fragrance nor the perfume company can be deduced
  • poor (5%) - more than half of the label is gone or stripped to bare paper, with traces of the original words and color on the label visible, but no words readable
  • no label (0%)


Does it have a stopper?

Does your bottle have a stopper or cap? If you have a ground glass stopper, make sure the stopper and the base go together. On fine French crystal bottles, numbers will be incised onto the base and the bottom of the stopper, this was done at the factory to show that the stopper was specifically ground to fit the base. The numbers should match! If your glass stopper has a plastic base, be sure to mention this in your listing as this helps to determine the age of the bottle. If your stopper isn't glass, mention if your cap is metal, plastic, Bakelite, celluloid, cork, etc. 

Mention if you have a screw cap. If your stopper is stuck, be sure to mention this in the listing. Don't attempt to use force to remove it, as you can snap the stopper right in half or crack the bottle. Try to use precise terms for the closure: "stoppers" insert into the mouth of the bottle; "caps" cover the mouth and are usually threaded. Even with a photo, describe the type of stopper. It's often impossible to tell from a photo if it is all glass ( = ground glass), glass in cork, glass covered in plastic (plastemeri), or glass with dabber, etc. Also, for older bottles, say if you judge a ground glass stopper to be the original by a tight fit.

What's inside?

Are there any original contents in the bottle? If so, how much? The contents, or what we call the "juice". Do not pour out perfume, unless your buyer instructs you to do so. Many people wish to own bottles that still contain their original scents and haven't been opened. Perfumes generally sell higher if they are sealed. If your perfume is sealed, but looks like it has some missing, its most likely due to evaporation. Even if there is just a little amount, please let your buyers know. I usually give a percentage, like there is 20% of perfume left in the bottle. If your bottle is 7-10 years old or older, please tell your buyers, as the perfume will no longer be fresh in most cases.Is there perfume residue inside? Most bottles look beautiful with their juice inside, and I feel it completes the presentation.

Another good reason for NOT emptying the contents is that some people wear the perfumes, even if they are old. This is true for rare, discontinued or older pre-reformulated scents.

Does it have a box or paperwork?

Is the original box present? If so, what condition is it in? Boxes are a definite help in selling vintage perfumes. Collectors like to display them together, be sure to include it in your pictures.Also, if there are any papers or other items included, please mention them.If selling a boxed set, be sure to show a photo of the front of the box, if it is attractive.

Who made the bottle?

Was the perfume bottle manufactured by a famous company? Guerlain's bottles were made by various companies over the years. Some of these perfume bottles were manufactured by Lalique, Baccarat and Cristal Romesnil. Collectors are looking for these, so be sure to look for their marks on the bottom of your bottle. If your bottle is marked on the bottom, please include a picture of it for your buyers.

Don't see any markings? To look for markings that may no longer be legible, carefully take the base of the perfume bottle and rub it briskly against a piece of soft cotton like an old towel or denim, for several seconds, then immediately breathe hot air upon it, a mark such as Baccarat may show up for a few seconds. If it didn't work the first time, try it again.

References?

Is this perfume bottle shown in any books you may have on perfume? If so, quote the book, author, page its on, and the book value. Remember, book values are only a guide, but many collectors would like to know if the bottle has any value, or they can look it up in their own books. A book reference can also help to identify a bottle that has lost its label or other identifying marks.

Packing and Shipping

What is the best way to pack and ship your bottle? Packing and shipping perfume bottles is easy, be sure to wrap the stopper separate from the bottle to avoid breakage. I use styrofoam packing peanuts and small bubble-wrap to pack bottles. 

If the perfume bottle has juice in it, I usually put the stopper in place and then melt some beeswax around the edges of the stopper and mouth of the bottle (while it is in place) so that it will stay in place the juice will not escape during shipment. Just be careful you do not get any excess wax on the rest of the bottle or on the label! You can do this trick if your stopper is frozen too, just in case.Your buyer can scrape away any beeswax and buff away any residue off with a soft cloth. I would email the buyer before shipment to see if they want the bottle sealed with the wax.

 Some might want just tape over the stopper. Do not get any tape on the label or gilding. I usually get a piece of paper big enough to cover the label, then put a piece of tape over that paper so that it does not touch the label. Or you could get a medicine dropper and decant the perfume into a small glass vial with a screw cap to ship inside the box, so that the perfume won't soil the label or box. 

Please do not use newspaper as it is not a good cushion for the glass. I have received some broken bottles in the mail because the seller used newspaper. Some buyers want their perfumes double boxed. Always insure the package and get delivery confirmation. If the bottle is over $100 you might want to get signature confirmation. You never know what will happen when the box leaves your hands at the post office--because YOU are responsible for getting the item in as described condition to the buyer, not the post office--so get insurance, its cheap enough for some piece of mind. I insure bottles no matter what the price.

2 comments:

  1. Good afternoon, I'm hoping that you can point me in the right direction...I have an older Aunt (89 years "young") who just gifted me a ton of perfume. It is mostly older Chanel No.5's and Shamimar's. I don't wear either scent. Do you have any idea how or where I can sell them online? Thanks in advance. Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christina, contact me at cleopatrasboudoir@gmail.com

      Delete

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