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The Beauty of Designer, Vintage and Antique Perfume Bottles

Since antiquity, scent has been an important part of how humans have wanted to present themselves. We often bottle the pleasant scents we want to wear in pretty bottles and other packaging.

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This post may have affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission on purchases through the links (at no extra cost to you). This does not change our opinion but does help support the site. Thank you!

Antique perfume bottles are not only gorgeous but are often rare and collectible.

antique perfume bottle

“Antique” means that the object is over 100 years old, and “vintage” means it can be 100–20 years old. The older the bottle, the more rare and expensive it is.

Many of these antique bottles weren’t just practical—they were art. Many cultures have extravagant containers that have held perfume and other scented oils. 

Fernweh Editions Fern & Petals Candle

Collecting and owning perfume bottles is a passion that has lasted for millennia, and even today we are fascinated by lavish scents and the decorative decanters they rest in. 

Some Antique Perfume Bottles to Die For

The Czech Bohemian Rococo Perfume Bottle

For instance there is the huge Czech bohemian gold jewels Rococo perfume bottle, which is an absolutely gorgeous and stunning 1800s brass and cut faceted crystal sapphire jewels prong set into the filigree metal of the perfume bottle.

It was made for the boudoir of a lovely Victorian lady many years ago, and the bottle itself is covered in a fancy baroque rococo almost Italianate filigree metal work that appears to have been made of brass and chased with a gold wash or plate.

This is a truly beautiful and eclectic antique perfume bottle, and there are also many others similar to it available on the market.

The Silver-Top Crystal Perfume Bottle

Another great option when it comes to antique perfume bottles is the antique silver-top crystal perfume scent bottle made of beautiful Victorian metal and crystal glass. The bottle itself is a silver metal covered with an ornate raised design of flowers, shells, and decorative foliate elements.

The cap is similar and attached to it with chains is a simple metal top where, when uncovered, the wick comes through.

This is a true and unique antique perfume bottle. The top is opened to allow the perfume to permeate the room slowly, then simply cover the wick with the metal top once finished.

The bottom has a hand-etched crystal stem on a crystal pedestal base which is particularly special. The base is covered with a band of ornate silver metal.

The details on this bottle are amazing, and again, there are many similar antique perfume bottles like it available around the world.

antique perfume bottle 7

Let’s take a look at some things you should consider when it comes to antique perfume bottle identification and what you should know as you start your own collection. 

What Are Vintage Perfume Bottles Called?

Scent bottles, vials, alabastrons, decanters—there’re many names the perfume bottle was and still is known by today. Antique and vintage perfume bottles come from all over the world, and all throughout history. So the names vary from their era and origin.

How to Tell if a Perfume Bottle Is Vintage

First off, make sure you do your research into the eras, brands, and styles. By understanding the different styles available in today’s market, you will be able to tell the slight differences when you’re searching in an antique store or online. 

Quite often, a seller takes pride in the research and history of the bottle they’re selling. On eBay, antique perfume bottles are in large supply, and there is quite a selection. You can check to make sure they’re reliable through reviews and a glance at their profile. 

Old bottles often have a number etched or placed on the bottom, which may signify where, when, and who the bottle was made for. 

Antique perfume bottles with atomizers are easily recognizable. Many of them are 1920 perfume bottles, but their popularity extended well into the sixties.

This makes them more mass-produced and easier to find and purchase for your collection. Some vintage glass perfume bottles have glass stoppers which make the overall container just that much more elegant. There is no requirement for price or appearance with these perfume bottles. 

The content is extremely varied, so have fun finding the prettiest and most unique piece you can.

antique perfume bottle 6

Are Perfume Bottles Worth Any Money?

Absolutely! As we’ve said, some of these rare and historical bottles can sell for thousands of dollars to collectors and perfume enthusiasts. The price of said perfume bottle hinges on its quality, age, and brand. 

Starting A Vintage Perfume Bottle Collection

When you are deciding to collect vintage perfume bottles it is important to learn what characterizes a vintage perfume bottle. There are several ways to go about collecting perfume bottles. One of the ways to start your collection is to start by collecting from a specific brand.

This is a good way to collect if you want to start small. These are generally easier to track down. Another way to start a collection is to start collecting by era. This can get expensive depending on the rarity of a bottle and how old it is.

By Brand

An easy way to start your collection is to choose a brand that is easily available and mass-produced. One of the most popular brands of perfume are the perfumes produced by Avon. These kind of perfume bottles are easy to get since many people have old Avon perfume bottles lying around. This is an inexpensive way to start collecting vintage perfume bottles.

Chanel No. 5 is an iconic perfume and if you would like to start your vintage perfume bottle collection by collecting specific brands then there’s no going wrong with this classic bottle. The Chanel No. 5 perfume spray bottle it should be noted has not changed much over the years. However, older bottles have been known to retail at more than $100.

By Era

Choosing to group your collection by era can be expensive. Especially when you are looking for older bottles. Bottles from the 1880s are unique in that they sometimes doubled as jewelry. So intricate and beautiful are vintage perfume bottles from this era that they can still be used as jewelry today.

The value of a vintage perfume bottle can increase depending on the materials that go into making it. Victorian-era vintage perfume bottles are very valuable. Not only because of how old they are but the extensive use of gold to decorate perfume bottles from the Victorian age. It should be noted that such bottles can be very expensive and are hard to find.

Fernweh Editions Candles

antique perfume bottles

Hand-painted bottles are also valuable and were popular in the early 1900s. You may not want to collect a type of bottle simply because it is very expensive. A bottle might be valuable but you may not like the way it looks. Don’t worry about this, let your taste guide what goes into your collection and not price and value alone. After all, what’s a collection worth if you don’t like it?

Buying Vintage

It’s important that you go into the buying and collecting process with an understanding of what you’re looking for. If they are offering a high-end antique bottle for a sizable price, make sure you look up that same piece and see what the price guide is.

Where To Buy Them

They are successfully found all over the internet, but eBay, Etsy, and other websites with credibility will have a big variety. Browsing antique stores can offer up a unique selection and experience of hunting for that perfect piece.

Check for any cracks, discoloration, or chips from the body of the bottle. You want to get your money’s worth and ensure that the price isn’t too high for a damaged piece.

Why Buy Vintage

There is no requirement for price or appearance with these perfume bottles. The content is extremely varied, so have fun finding the prettiest and most unique piece you can. It’s a little piece of history that you can keep within your home.

In the past, perfume bottles were made and sold empty so that people could purchase whatever scent they wanted. This is still an option today, so why not find a cool antique piece for your favorite scent?

antique perfume bottle 1

Antique Perfume Bottles Price Guide

Prices for antique and vintage perfume bottles range in price depending on how old they are, who made them, and the level of intricacy. Some of the most valuable antique perfume bottles were made specifically for a person, so they are one of a kind and can’t be found elsewhere. 

The low end can be pocket change and the high end can be thousands of dollars for a truly rare and old piece. But generally, they are priced fairly and it doesn’t take too much sweat to find out the price guide for a certain bottle you’ve got your eye on. 

Some perfume bottles are so old they are more like artifacts rather than collectible or practical pieces that can be owned by everyday people.

Selling Antique Perfume Bottles

You might have some old perfume bottles lying around, maybe gifts from your mother or grandmother. Maybe you’ve just collected some from antiquing. 

No matter the reason, you might want to sell your own antique perfume bottles. Or, at least figure out how much they are worth and decide from there.

Before selling, do as much research as you can on the bottle you own. You might already know the brand and year, but you want to find the median price and decide what your own piece is worth. Ensure the antique perfume bottle is in peak condition and not missing any key parts. 

Where To Sell Old Perfume Bottles

Choose where you will be selling. eBay is known for its antique options and special content around collectibles. Etsy is also a simple option if you’ve found some lovely pieces at an antique store.

It doesn’t hurt to check out more niche sites to see what price you might be able to discover.

Make sure you have a safe way to package and mail them. The last thing you want is to have to refund because of rough handling during shipping. 

antique perfume bottle 3

Each Bottle Has a Story

Perfume has been an aspect of human beauty since ancient times, and the beauty of the containers lives on way beyond their original owners. Each antique perfume bottle you encounter has a story.

Whether it is a rare custom piece or a department store classic from the 1900s, you aren’t the first person to dote over that vial.


Annie is a self-motivated, ambitious, enthusiastic individual and a self-proclaimed "people person." Her passion for communication and problem-solving is evident in a variety of media. She currently lives with her family in Washington DC.