Everything You Need to Know About Avon Collectibles

Hallway in Avon Products New York Headquarters
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Although many people know Avon for its cosmetics, the company has also produced a long line of collectibles over the decades. These decorative containers, figurines, ornaments, dolls, and other tchotchkes are popular with collectors and American history buffs. What's more, some Avon collectibles have become quite valuable on the antiques market. Read on to discover more about these pieces of Americana.

 

Company History

Today's Avon Products began life as the California Perfume Company (CPC), which was founded in 1886 (in New York City, ironically). The founder, David H. McConnell, was a traveling book salesman who would sometimes give out perfume samples to his female clients. The samples, he discovered, were often more popular than the books. 

Inspired, he began formulating perfumes in New York and recruited women as sales representatives. The company made a point of empowering women professionally and personally and within two decades had more than 10,000 sales reps, all female. California Perfume began marketing products under the Avon brand in 1928 and was officially renamed Avon Products Inc. in 1937.

Collectibles

True antique CPC and Avon products are rare, though collectors can sometimes find vintage packaging or perfume bottles. Collectibles didn't start to become popular until the early 1960s, when Avon began producing a line of novelty containers for its perfumes and colognes.

The company expanded its line of collectibles through the 1970s and '80s, selling jewelry, decorative plates and steins, holiday ornaments, and more.

Official products are sold directly through Avon's sales reps and come with certificates of authenticity. Some products, like their steins, are sold in limited, numbered editions, while holiday goods such as plates or ornaments are designed to be unique each year.

Market and Value

Like many mass-produced commemorative and novelty goods, Avon collectibles do not necessarily hold their value over time. High-value pieces are rare on the collectibles market, but that doesn't mean you won't find personal value in collecting Avon antiques. You can amass a respectable collection without a large financial investment. 

That being said, several series are popular with collectors, even if the values aren't high. The Avon Nativity set pieces are always near the top of the list. Licensed pieces can bring a higher price, as well as the porcelain Seasons in Bloom series. Avon's Cape Cod dinnerware set is another popular collectible; the bigger pieces sell well on eBay and online, but usually well below their original values.

More Resources

The collectibles community is small, but you can find a few decent resources for buying, selling, and talking about Avon.

eBay is a good place to begin because it has a huge Avon category on its collectibles site. Don't forget to check with your local antiques dealers.

Collectors' web pages sometimes have nuggets of useful information on specific types of Avon products, though they may be limited. The Avon Collectible Shop's site has some info on rare products.

Author Bud Hastin's "Avon Collector's Encyclopedia" is one of the few published books that provides data on valuation and collectibles.