Reprinted from Avon Collectibles Newsletter –Volume 2 Issue 8- September 2000
Helpful Hints from Bud Hastin
I get a lot of calls from people who have been given a Avon Collection after a friend or relative has died and passed it on. The best advise I can give you is that collectors collect a collection one at a time and seldom buy a large collection because they already have most of what someone has to sell. If they do buy a large collection all at one time, they pay a fraction of the collector book price. To get the best price, you have to sell each item one at a time. This is true with any collectible, not just Avon. Most big collections sell for $1.00 per item straight across the board when sold all at one time, and sometimes even less. Then that person has to invest his or her time and money in marketing the collection to get the best price possible.
When you advertise a collection for sale, you must put prices you want. If you say “make me a offer”, Most people will not waste their time with you. The lower the price, the faster you will sell it. This is common sense that goes with anything you are selling. The only time you should ask for offers is if you have very old California Perfume Items that are rare and have a high book value. Only the rare items will bring top dollar. Most Avon is not rare from late 1960’s forward. If you have something rare and hard to find, be patient when selling. It doesn’t matter if it’s a ad in Avon Times, the #1 Avon Collectors monthly magizine or any of the Internet Avon Collecting sites or one of the Auction Sites on the internet. When you are selling, it depends on who is reading the ad at the time of the offer. You may not get a response today or this month because the person looking for that paticular item is not reading your ad. I know people who buy things today and turn around and sell it tomorrow for twice or more what they paid for it in the same place. Just different people reading the ads make all the difference in the world. Keep this in mind. How important is boxes? Most collectors do not show boxes, but when you buy and sell them, the boxes are very important to ship them safely. Without the original box, they often get broken in shipping unless you use a lot of packing. As Avon’s get old, 1950’s or older, the boxes become more valuable. Look in the CPC section in my latest edition of Bud Hastin’s Avon Collector’s Encyclopedia: Avon and California Perfume Company Products-1886 to Present (Paperback)-18th Edition (paid link) for box prices. The older they get, the higher the price for the box. Some boxes in CPC’s are worth $75.00 or more if in mint condition.
The best places to sell Avon Collections are listed on page 620 of my new book. Sometimes donating a large collection to charity and deducting it from your income taxes at the end of the year is the best way to get the best price and benefit if you are in a hurry and don’t have the time to sell a collection one item at a time. I am told by other collectors that you can deduct the full value that my latest volume Avon Collectors Encyclopedia™ list for current market value when you donate the collection to charity. You need to make a complete list and price each item and get it signed by the charity you donate it to. Do not do this until you check with your tax advisor.
Avons do not always go up in value. They fluctuate with the market just like everything else in life. When the economy is good, collectibles sell well. When the economy is bad, you have to wait longer to sell your items and usually at a lower price, just like in the house market. Avon Jewelry does not have much of a market in the Avon Collecting world. Most people just do not want to collect their jewelry because too much was made of each piece. Avon Products is the largest producer of costume jewelry in the world. Sell all the jewelry at a garage sale. You should sell most of it just as jewelry, not as a avon collectible. You know how women love jewelry at garage sales. Jewelry is made to wear, not collect.For those who want more info on Avon Jewelry, there is a small book for $30. at major book stores and at amazon.com.(paid link)
Avon Products Inc. are making very few new collectibles in the late 1990’s forward. Most do not have Avon marked on the product. If it does not say Avon on the product, we advise do not buy it for a Avon Collection as most collectors will not want to buy it later on from you. It has to be marked Avon on the product itself before I will put it in the Avon Collectors Encyclopedia.™
More Helpful Hints on Collecting Avon
The Avon hobby as a whole, covers a tremendous volume of material. There is far too much to collect for the average person to work on all categories. No.1 Rule in Avon Collecting: “Set a goal for your hobby and collect only what you want to collect.” You rule the hobby, it doesn’t rule you. Decide what part of the overall hobby appeals to you, set your goal and work hard toward that goal. Ask yourself some questions. How much room do I have? How much can I spend each month? What do I enjoy most about Avon Collecting? Base your goal on the answer.
Bud’s personal views on collecting are: “I think the Avon collecting hobby is the best hobby around today. It is one of the few hobbies that you will probably never find all of them and that’s what collecting is all about, the challenge to find something you don’t have. The thrill is finding a high priced Avon or California Perfume bottle in a flea market or garage sale for a low price. You see very few Avon collections the same and this always makes the challenge greater to find the one that your friend has. Avon collecting is one of the biggest hobbies in the U.S. I wonder how many old and rare C.P.C. or old Avon bottles or old sets are lying around in somebodies attic and cellars just waiting to be discovered by some informed collector? Garage sales, rummage sales, etc. are the gold fields and it is almost as big a thrill to find a $100.00 C.P.C. as it was for the treasure hunters of old to find gold. Avon collecting is for all ages, both young and old. It’s a hobby for the entire family.
Certain Avon Items Have Been Removed From My Avon Book. Avon collecting has changed many times since 1967 when collectors first started saving Avon Decanters. Many Avon items and even complete categories of items that were once very popular can not be given away today. You will find this true with almost anything in life.
Remember, if its a household kitchen or decorator item and not marked Avon on the product we do not feel it is a true Avon Collectible. It must be marked Avon on the product. We have removed all Christmas Tree ornaments and hanging ornaments, that do not have the Avon name or logo or the year or date on each item. Collect only ornaments that can be identified as Avon.
Avon Plates are still very popular, but most collectors only want porcelain or ceramic plates. Pewter plates are not desirable and most collectors will not want them. Soaps of all kinds are very popular in the Avon line. Soaps must not be damaged in any way. If they are, we suggest not buying them. All Soaps must be in New Mint Boxed Condition.
We have used the Inflation Index method to reprice many older Men’s and Women’s Decanters, Candles and Plates. The new products now issued by Avon are much higher in original issue cost. They cost more than similar, much older items we had priced in past books. We feel if you will pay the price to get a new item from your Avon Representative that is plentiful, you should be willing to pay the same price for older and much harder to find Avon Collectibles in Mint Condition. Avon Representative Awards and Gifts are still very popular with many collectors. We have removed a few items in the Award section. Paper items, Purses & Bags, Clothing, Scarfs and Award Plaques that are not national level awards, and trophies have been removed. All awards should be marked Avon on the award or an Avon trademark.
We have weeded out some items in each of these categories and left many in. Most of this type of item is becoming less popular over the years. If you have any of these items and they are not pictured in this book, just use a item in this book that is similar to get a price for the current value. Most of the avid Award collectors tell me they are now only interested in Awards that are given on a National level. They must fit on a shelf or hang on a wall and display well. If they don’t fit this description, they will not appeal to the next collector when you decide to sell your collection.
A word of warning! I know how excited many collectors get to find a new item or award and pay a big price to get it, then find it much lower in price in a few months. This is particularly true with the Albee Figurine Awards. I have seen this happen on every Albee Award to date. Have patience. Wait a few months and you will save a lot.
Helpful hints from Bud Hastin
What Is Hot And What Is Not In Avon Collecting
For the absolute best advise in Avon collecting, nothing can beat something old and in new condition. This of course is the California Perfume Company products. This is the original Avon Product’s name from the late 1800’s to 1939 when the name was changed to Avon Products Inc. as it remains today. Almost anything in mint condition with the CPC label will sell quickly and usually bring a good price. It’s like any other collectible, the older the better. CAPE COD, Mrs. Albee PORCELAIN DOLL AWARDS, DECANTERS, FIGURINES, both men’s and women’s, STEINS, SOAPS, KID’S TOYS, SETS, AVON REPRESENTATIVE AWARDS, OLD FRAGRANCE LINES both men’s and women’s, PERFECTION PRODUCTS. OLD MISC. BOTTLES 1935 or older. These are the collectables that are hot if they are older and in mint condition.
What not to Collect for Future Resale
We have removed from my Avon book all items listed because they are mass produced in the millions of pieces and may never have a value for resale. We have left only the older items in each category that is truly rare or harder to find for a collection. Any new items will not be included in this book in the future as collectors just do not want them. We suggest you dispose of them.
Items not to collect are avon jewelry, all tubes, tin cans, misc. bottles, stuffed animals or non porcelain head dolls, any plastic bottles unless it is part of a set or a children’s toy, unless it is listed in the book. This goes both for American and Canada and Foreign products. All fragrance lines from 1975 up should be avoided as there is little or no resale market for them. Any Avon item may be collectible after a period of 30 to 50 years. Otherwise when they become a antique. People will buy anything old.
Collect only what you truly enjoy for yourself. You may collect any of the things I have listed as not collectible as long as you understand that there is not much of a resale market for them. Otherwise when you are done with them, dispose of them.
Grading Condition of Avons
People have asked me WHAT A BOTTLE IS WORTH WITHOUT A LABEL. If it’s an old bottle where the label is the main thing that identifies the bottle and it is missing, then it’s worth whatever you can get, which is usually not too much. If it is a new figural bottle, then it will usually take a few dollars off the price. MINT CONDITION means items must be in new condition as originally sold, with all labels bright and correct, and cap and/or stopper. Items need not be full or boxed, but will bring a higher price in most cases if they are in the box. All items in the book are priced empty in mint condition only with the right cap and all labels. Bottles with no cap or label are of little or no value.
If any Avon is damaged in any way – I would not buy it. Collect only mint Avons and throw away the less than mint ones in the Avon Line. IF ANYTHING IS TOO BADLY DAMAGED, DON’T BUY IT OR SELL IT!
Avon Sets – Many sets have a premium value because they display so well. They are packaged in unusual ways and are much harder to find with perfect box and superior contents. I agree with the statement: Poor box – poor set, subtract 50% to 75% of listed value. A mint box is at least twice as hard to obtain as the mint bottle that came in it. As good as Avon is in packing – order 10 items of the same thing and only 4 will be truly mint boxes and containers. That is: creased or crushed box, corner of label not securely glued. Several people ask about INSURANCE ON BOTTLE COLLECTIONS. Bottle insurance is available through your home owners policy. Check with your local agent.
Bottles will differ in color shades due to various dates in manufacture. It is difficult to get exactly the same color each time. Unless a bottle comes out in a completely different color, it will be of the same value.
THE SILVER METAL SALT & PEPPER SHAKERS WITH AVON PAT.DATE 1926-28, are not Avon Products Inc. items. THE AVON NAME WAS NOT USED UNTIL 1929. The name Avon has been used by several companies and still is. Only the name Avon Products Incorporated is copyrighted.
For the new collectors and to refresh seasoned collectors – we have found collecting, like other investments, has rules to follow for the best results: If you don’t like an item, don’t buy it no matter how much of a bargain it seems to be. The only good investments are those that are enjoyed.The old goes up in value, or at least retains its resale value. New items take longer to increase in value and stay around longer. Buy it when you see it. If you don’t know your dealers, be sure you know your Avons. •
It is acceptable to haggle – it cannot hurt to ask if there is a lower price. Often in a booth or flea market there will be a better price available – don’t be timid. Start small and learn the market. Browse, study the Avon Encyclopedia and learn all you can before you start buying. Measure your space – don’t be the collector who buys a lot of items only to bring them home with no place to put them. Don’t change your item in any way – don’t paint it, wash it in water, add lettering, remove labels, etc. . .this may destroy the value.
The above rules are good ones to keep in mind – the advice I’ve found most helpful is to have FUN while collecting . . .whether it be at a flea market, garage sale, or Avon Collectors Show and Sale or Annual Avon Collectors Convention.
About the author:
Bud Hastin’s is famous in Avon Collecting Circles as the authority on Avon Collecting. His Avon Collector’s Encyclopedia is #1 among Avon Collectors. He is also the author of Aunt Nell’s Bathroom Jokes. .