A History of Avon Collectibles
Avon began life as the California Perfume Company in 1886 in New York City by David Hall McConnell and his wife Lucy, who created and began manufacturing a line of perfumes. They sold their perfumes through a women, Mrs. P.F.E. Albee. She is now known as the First Avon Sales Representative. Word spread of the perfumes and they hired more representatives. The company grew and by 1896 issued its first catalog for customers.
By 1902 the CPC company had grown to 10,000 Representatives and the product line now included some 117 new items in toiletries and cosmetics. In 1914, the first International Branch and Lab opened in Montreal, Canada and the California Perfume Company continued to grow more rapidly with sales reaching the $1 million mark by 1920. The Depression followed and in 1932, marketing strategies changed to include the three week selling campaigns where items were offered at special discounts for short periods. In 1937, the founder, David McConnell dies, and David McConnell Jr. becomes the new President and the California Perfume Company adopts the official name of Avon. Sales continue to increase until 1939 when WWII began.
During the war, Avon converted 50% of its production plant into manufacturing such items as paratrooper kits, insect repellent and gas mask canisters to help the war effort. Once the war was over in 1945, the company grew even more and by 1949 had 2,500 employees, 65,000 Representatives and $25 million annual sales. In 1954, the first Avon TV ad appears with the famous "Ding-Dong, Avon Calling" bell, now a registered trademark for Avon and the company opens branches in Puerto Rico and Venezuela. More warehouses and shipping facilities open and Avon joins the New York Stock Exchange and begins trading Avon stock in 1964.
During the mid 1960's, Avon began marketing novelty containers. One of their more popular products, the first Glass Car Decanter, is introduced in 1968. This is followed over the next 25 years with hundreds of interesting novelty and figural decanters in both Men's and Women's lines. The product line itself grows to include fancy soaps, scented candles and holders, a complete children's line of plastic toys filled with soaps and bubble baths, stationery items, Christmas ornaments and special occasion gift packs. Avon even introduced their line of jewelry items in 1971 and family fashions in 1973.
Along the way, Avon hits many milestones, such as being the first cosmetic company to open in China selling moisture cream, and collected many awards at fairs and conventions. Avon enlisted many manufactures for their product lines including the Fostoria Crystal Co. (now closed) and other glass, pottery and porcelain manufacturers. Today, Avon Products, Incorporated remains the world's largest direct seller of cosmetics in over 100 countries with over 4 million Representatives, 46,000 employees and over $2 billion in annual sales. For more information on current Avon products, visit the Avon web site at www.avon.com.
Collecting Avon items began seriously after the first of the novelty figural decanters were introduced covering themes from sports, cars, planes, trains, animals, guns, pipes, patriotic items, birds, flowers, lamps, plates, tea sets and even dinnerware to special limited edition items produced and awarded to high sales achievers. All of the items on this links site are discontinued Avon items that are very collectible today and highly coveted. Prices are based on the condition and current demand for items. Having the original box in good condition will raise the value dramatically. Containers that held liquids such as perfumes and after shave should be empty and clean, but should have all the labels and should not be altered in any way.
Over the course of the last century, Avons line of gifts, beauty products, and home goods have come to represent an American tradition. The Avon lady has become an instantly recognizable stock character of the classic American landscape, right up there with the Maytag man and the Good Humor man.
Among the most popular of the Avon collectibles are the annual Avon Christmas plates. Each year, the company releases a porcelain collectors plate, trimmed in 22k gold, featuring a special holiday design. Some of the most collectible plates are those made by by Enoch Wedgwood Tunstull LTD from 1973-1980.
Many have recognized the place that Avon holds in domestic Americas history and as a result, have also recognized the value that older Avon products hold as collectibles. If you are one of these people then you have come to right place.
Links of Interest
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