Saturday, January 4, 2014

Magnum Perfume Bottles

The Magnum Import Company was an importer from New York who repackaged French perfumes for sale to the American market during the early 1920s.

You can find Magnum bottles with name of Caron, Guerlain, Coty, Grenoville, Rosine, D'Orsay, Roger et Gallet, Houbigant, Dedon

Magnum was wholly independent from these companies.

A 1922 newspaper ad reads:
"MAGNUM is a delightful new innovation in a purse size bottle containing the most ... includes Coty, Houbigant, Caron, Rosine, Dedon, Guerlain, Grenoville, D'Orsay. $1.50"

The purse sized bottles were NOT designed by Lalique, these were originally attributed to Lalique in the original book Lalique Perfume Bottles by Mary Lou and Glenn Utt. The Utts have since then published a widely circulated addendum retracting their attribution a few years later.

These bottles are of clear glass in an oval shape with prominent shoulders, molded with a reptile skin pattern, long neck without a lip, and a tester stopper with a long dauber. The reptile motif is identical on the backside of the bottle and the stopper has the same pattern.

The labels were manufactured by the American company Stanley Manufacturing Co, one of the most important creators of deluxe labels, specializing in antique bronze colored metallic labels in high relief embossment.

Early labels stated: "Magnum of Rue de la Paix, contents made by (perfume company)".

It seems that the Magnum Corp never obtained permission to decant the Perfume Companies' fragrances into their own bottles and Magnum was sued. Later after the lawsuit the labels stated the following:
"MAGNUM containing (perfume company name and perfume name) re-bottled by Magnum Import Co. NY NY Wholly Independent of (perfume company)"

 The 3 1/4” bottles were sold in small little satin lined cloth pouches with a snap cover and a label that matches the one on the bottle.

A bottle is also shown in the book Commercial Perfume Bottles by Jacquelyne Jones North and valued at $125.

Another bottle is shown in the 2005 Art & Fragrances Perfume Presentations auction catalog and its estimated value is $960-$1,440 for a rare Guerlain example with pouch.

These hard to find perfume bottles were in use for a very short time as there was a lawsuit in 1923 between the Magnum Import Company v. Coty. (262 U.S. 159). The lawsuit states:
"The District Court found that the defendants in all these cases were infringing the rights of the complainants in their trademarks and the use of their trade-names, but thought it sufficient to permit the defendants to continue their rebottling and repacking of complainants' perfumes and powders if, in the form in which resold, the bottles or boxes bore a legend reciting all the facts and not giving any more prominence to the fact that these were complainants' perfumes or powders than to the fact that they had been rebottled and repacked by defendants."

The bottles were still being advertised in 1928.

photos by ebay seller mypinkcottage

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