Sunday, July 20, 2014

AA Vantine's History and Perfumes

In this guide I have listed the various perfumes presented by the Ashley Abraham Vantine Inc.  of  West 39th Street New York City, with branches in Boston and Philadelphia.

Vantine's Oriental Store was a well known gift store that specialized in imported wares "from the Empires of Japan, China, India, China, Persia and the East". It was founded in 1869 by AA Vantine in New York City, establishing one of the first stores to import Oriental goods.

Most of their incense burners were also imported from France. Vantine's supplied a touch of the exotic to Americans during the craze for all things Oriental.

Some commonly found items from Vantine's are the metal incense burners imported from France, incense tins, fans, hanging wicker sachet containers, postcards, advertisements, mahjong sets, vases, Japanese dolls,and powder boxes.

The less commonly found items are:

  • the perfumes (some in their original lacquer boxes)
  • bath salts
  • catalogs
  • lamps and lampshades
  • Oriental rugs and carpets
  • soaps
  • paper lanterns
  • porcelain tableware
  • bronze lamps
  • teas, coffees
  • delicacies
  • toys
  • kimonos
  • bronze and porcelain jardinieres
  • porcelain and cloisonne floor vases
  • wall scrolls
  • paper parasols
  • other parasols had ivory, belt buckles, silver and jade handles
  • dinner gongs
  • chimes
  • carved ivories
  • draperies
  • Baghdad cushions
  • rattan furniture
  • Oriental silk fabrics
  • teakwood furniture
  • solid silver tea services
  • large bronzes
  • Japanese and Chinese brocade bags
  • clothing
  • shawls
  • hair ornaments called kanzashi 
  • jewelry.


Original Vantine's labels on these goods are scarce.

The company also provided mail order catalogues so that customers could "rest comfortably at home in your easy chair, and, at your leisure, select by mail, with absolute confidence, from the largest collection of Oriental goods in America".

Vantine's also had a fan catalog featuring over 100 different fan styles made of bamboo, bone, gauze, sandalwood, paper, silk and some with sequin spangled decorations. The 1906 ad stated that "fans make souvenirs and gifts for cotillions, bridesmaids, weddings, dinners, and all other occasions".

On a darker note, Vantine's was bought in 1926 by mob gangster Arnold Rothstein who used the store as a front for his business in drug smuggling. Since Vantine's was a legitimate business with an excellent reputation, customs officials gave the shipments only a cursory search. This drug trafficking operation through Vantine's only lasted until 1928, when Rothstein was murdered.


The perfumes and toiletries listed below are ones that I have found in original advertisements, the dates given are from what year I saw them in an ad, they may have been introduced earlier, but I have no exact proof just yet.
                                                 
The Perfumes of Vantine's:

  • 1898 Corylopsis
  • 1898 Delhi Heliotrope
  • 1898 Japanese Iris
  • 1900 Java Lily
  • 1900 Mary Stuart
  • 1905 Koi Sai
  • 1906 Sandalwood
  • 1908 Geisha Flowers
  • 1908 Hi Yang
  • 1908 Jafleur
  • 1908 Van San
  • 1908 Chypre
  • 1908 Kai Sang
  • 1909 Mekado
  • 1909 Pagoda
  • 1909 Sandalwood
  • 1909 Wisteria
  • 1909 Vinenta
  • 1909 Viorenta
  • 1912 India Pearl Tooth Powder
  • 1912 Winsum Lilac
  • 1912 Geisha Flowers Sachet
  • 1912 Kutch Sandalwood Talcum
  • 1912 Wistaria Sachet
  • 1912 Sandalwood Extract
  • 1912 Lotus Flower Extract
  • 1912 Geisha Flowers Extract
  • 1912 Wistaria Extract
  • 1912 Geisha Face Powder
  • 1912 Sandalwood Sachet
  • 1912 Geisha Disappearing Cream
  • 1912 Sandalwood Soap
  • 1912 Wistaria Toilet Water
  • 1912 Geisha Nail Stone (part of Geisha Manicure Set)
  • 1912 Geisha Nail Bleach (part of Geisha Manicure Set)
  • 1913 Japanese Corylopsis
  • 1913 Flowery Kingdom
  • 1914 Attar of Rose
  • 1915 Nirvana
  • 1915 Orange Blossom
  • 1917 Flowery Kingdom
  • 1917 Geisha
  • 1917 Geisha Flowers
  • 1917 Gul Raesee
  • 1917 Japanese Lily
  • 1917 Kutch Sandalwood
  • 1917 O Lotus San
  • 1917 Wistaria Blossom
  • 1920 Orchid
  • 1920 Oriental Violet
  • 1920 Rose Drops
  • 1920 Singapore Sandalwood
  • 1920 Turkish Rose
  • 1922 Hana Violet
  • 1922 Charmeen
  • 1922 Mimosa
  • 1922 Nile Lily
  • 1922 Sacred Lily
  • 1922 Violet
  • 1922 Mikado
  • 1922 Jafleur Toilet Water
  • 1922 Jafleur Powder
  • 1922 Jafleur Talc
  • 1922 Jafleur Cold Cream
  • 1922 Jafleur Vanishing cream
  • 1922 Lotus Flower
  • 1925 Mekado Bouquet
  • 1925 Sweet Pea
  • 1927 Zanadu
  • 1930 Anna Pavlova
  • 1933 Embassy
  • 1940 Apple Blossom
  • 1940 Lilac
  • 1940 Clover
  • 1940 Escapade
  • Winsum Lilac


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