Philately is one of the oldest and most popular forms of collecting in the world. The legend is that stamp collecting began in a Paris classroom. An inventive geography teacher asked his students to save foreign stamps and paste them on the back of maps of the country of origin in their atlases. This may or may not be true, but the fact is that within a decade of the introduction of stamps, there were avid collectors.
Although the Romans had an extensive and well-organized postal system, it was only used for military and political despatches. It took the British to democratize the business of mail and they did this in January, 1583, although it was quite clear that from the outset the government would control the mails. Delivery was conditional on this clause: “No private letters must be conveyed or delivered before the Queen’s packet is safely handed over.”
Postal rates were high until the reform of the postal system by Rowland Hill in the 1800’s. In 1840, he introduced the first adhesive stamp, the “Penny Black”. Up until that time, postal fees were collected when the mail was delivered. Hill insisted that mail be pre-paid and that the stamp be affixed to all mails as a form of receipt. Payment was based on weight, one penny per half ounce.
Other countries quickly followed suit. Switzerland issued their first stamps in 1843, and the first federal U.S. stamp – costing a whopping 10 cents – was issued in 1847. The first perforated stamp – another British invention – appeared in 1854.
In spite of contemporary trends to use courier companies and email, stamp collecting is as active as it has ever been. Philatelists have dozens of areas in which to specialize – vintage stamps, commemorative stamps, airmail stamps, publicity stamps, error stamps. Each year, post offices around the world cater specifically to collectors with special issues and limited edition stamps. Often, the artwork is inspired and stunning, making this one of the most beautiful realms in collecting. It can also be one of the most accessible and affordable of all obsessions. The Internet notwithstanding, stamp collecting will continue to be one of the world’s favourite pastimes.
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The Oriente range of Murano glass is one of the most recognisable with its vibrant display of colours of free–formed patches of green, yellow, blue, purple, black, and white stars, avventurina glass, and pieces of zanfirico canes fused to make brilliantly coloured vases and bowls. The pattern on every piece was unique. We look at some examples of Oriente glass, along with some prices realised at auction and we also feature some of the design techniques used. The first series of Murano glass to have the name Oriente was created by Ercole Barovier in 1940 for Barovier & Toso. Barovier’s design was characterised by a “tartan” motif consisting of flat coloured rods, on a colourless transparent backing, with applications of lots of silver leaves. Although of great interest it is the second series that really typifies the Oriente range of the 1950s. The second series of Oriente glass was created and exhibited in 1951 by Dino Martens (1894–1970) whilst at the Aureliano Toso glass factory. Using traditional techniques, Martens managed to create bold asymmetrical shapes, characterised by rich colourings, obtained with irregular patches of brightly-coloured vitrous pastes, avventurina, fragments of zanfirico and the characteristic “flower” (named by Martens) a pinwheel / circle formed by spokes of black and lattimo rods. The Oriente range created by Dino Martens has become very desirable and collectable. In 2021 Bonhams sold a Unique Monumental Dino Martens Anfora ‘Ape’ Vase for an amazing US$ 256,562 (£ 210,943). The piece included internally decorated patchwork glass with pinwheel, filigrana, zanfirico and copper inclusions. The Oriente vases are significantly more valuable than the bowls. What are Zanfirico canes? Zanfirico canes are a type of glass cane used in the creation of Murano glass. These canes are made with multiple colors of glass, which are then twisted together to create a spiral effect. Zanfirico canes are technically classified as murrine, which is a type of Venetian glass that is characterized by its multicolored patterns. These canes are made by combining fragments of glass of different colors and then heating them until they fuse together. The resulting cane is then pulled and stretched until it becomes thin and long. Zanfirico canes are often used to create ornate vases, bowls, and other decorative objects. These canes can also be used to create smaller murrine, which are then used as embellishments on other glass items. What is Avventurina glass? Avventurina glass is a type of Venetian glass that contains inclusions of copper or other metals, which give the glass a sparkling, glittering appearance. The word “avventurina” comes from the Italian word for “adventure,” and it is said to have been invented by accident when a metal filings fell into a batch of molten glass. Today, avventurina glass is often used in jewelry and other decorative items. It is also popular for its use in spirit lamps, which are used in spiritual practices such as Feng Shui. The sparkling copper inclusions are said to represent the element of fire, which is associated with wealth, abundance, and good fortune. What is Lattimo glass? Lattimo is an Italian word meaning “milky.” Lattimo glass is opaque, milky white glass that is commonly used in Murano glassmaking. Lattimo rods are made from this type of glass and are used to create beautiful murrine, which are like small mosaics. The rods are first cut into thin slices, and then the slices are layered on top of each other to create patterns. Once the desired pattern is achieved, the rods are heated until they fuse together. The result is a stunning piece of art that can be used to decorate jewelry, vases, or other objects. Related World Record Smashed At Bonhams Important Historical Collection Of Italian Glass Sale In New York
The Grimwades Royal Winton Chanticleer series first appeared at the British Industries Fair in February 1936. The range of realistically moulded cockerels and hen, in warm colours, were a popular addition to the breakfast table and was produced for many years. Grimwades described the range as ‘distinctive novelties’ on their advertising leaflets. Chanticleer is French for cockerel and items from the Chanticleer series are sometimes marked on base with Chanticleer while others are marked Rooster. A few examples and smaller pieces such as cruets are unmarked. The range included various teapots, hot water jug, sugar and cream, milk jug, marmalade with cover, sugar sifter, cheese cover and stand, 3 and 4 piece cruet and condiment sets, 3 and 5 bar toast racks, jam, covered butter, mint boat and stand, and dessert plate. Except for the toast rack, the Chanticleer items produced were in the shape of the bird set on a grassy green base. They were also available in different colourways, with the hand painting adding variations to the pieces. The teapot, for example, can be found in streaked and speckled shades of a golden brown, with the tail and lower body feathers highlighted in soft green. Alternatively, a rich, dark blue combination was used with bands of scarlet emphasising the tail feathers. These tail feathers curve down to create the handle of the tea pot, with the spout being formed by the open beak of the bird. Sugar shakers were either golden brown or a pale yellow lightly streaked with red, the wings being a light grey and the breast cream. As mentioned the toast racks differed from the rest of the range by not being designed to be on a grassy mound. The toast racks were main in green and yellow and featured a cockerel decorating either end. Two toast racks were produced: a 3 bar toast rack and 4 bar toast rack. The cruet and condiment sets included: a 3 piece set featuring salt and pepper pots on a base and show the cockerel standing with his head held high, while the hen stares into space; whilst the 4 piece condiment set features salt, pepper and covered mustard pot on a base and has the cockerel in the same proud pose, accompanied by two hens, one as before, the other shown head down, pecking for food. The male bird always sports a large scarlet comb and scarlet wattle, while the hen has only the merest suggestion of a comb. The base resembles a grassy field, the carrying handle depicting a fence. The images below show some of the variations in colour. Grimwades Royal Winton Chanticleer Series Price Guide / Value Guide Prices for pieces with no defects and good colour. We have seen great variations in prices especially in online shops. The prices below Chanticleer Teapot £40-£80 / $60-$120 3 Piece cruet set £40-£80 / $60-$120 4 Piece cruet set £50-£80 / $75-$120
They have a variety of names – pincushion dolls, tea-cosie dolls and dresser dolls… and there are those also known as ‘tops’, ‘pin heads’ or ‘whisk-broom’ dolls. Generally they are referred to as Half Dolls… but whatever name may be dubbed, they all have one thing in common.
Post-war ceramics arrived in an explosion of style and colour, creating contemporary ‘new look’ that is so desirable among collectors today. One of the most innovative potteries was Midwinter Pottery, largely due to one of its most celebrated designers – Jessie Tait. She was the only full time in-house designer to work for Midwinter, and her simple yet stunning designs are keenly appreciated by collectors. Her early 1950s designs such as the black and white Festival, Zambesi, Red Domino and Toadstool are among her most well known. Her later 1960s designs such as Mexicana and Spanish Garden are much easier to find and collect. Her style was often detailed and geometric, making an effective transition to transfer printed wares. Jessie Tait was in Stoke-on-Trent in 1928 – 14 January 2010 and studied at the Burslem School of Art. She first worked as a junior designer to Charlotte Rhead, and then as designer for the Midwinter Pottery between 1946 and 1974. The Midwinter Pottery was taken over by J. & G. Meakin in 1968, and again by Wedgwood in 1970. She moved from Midwinter to Johnson Brothers, another part of the Wedgwood group, and retired in the early 1990s. More Designs Related Charlotte Rhead Pottery Jessie Tait designs on ebay Jessie Tait at Catawiki auctions
It is not surprising that so many collectors find vinaigrettes a fascinating subject. These small boxes, used for holding a sponge soaked in sweet-smelling vinegar, were made in an endless variety of shapes and decoration. Their inner grilles were delicately pierced for the escape of the scent in charming and often unexpected patterns. Vinaigrettes were made in great numbers from about 1780 to 1890 and since most of them arc of silver or semi-precious stones, they are not costly and are within the reach of the most modest collector. The real ancestor of the vinaigrette is the pomander. These were used in England as early as the fourteenth century as containers for aromatic vinegars and spices to sweeten the air and as an antidote to infection. The derivation of the word is from the French “poimne d’ambre” meaning apple (or ball) of amber. (Amber or ambergris is a waxy substance with a pleasant odour). Pictured: A late 17th/early 18th century silver filigree pomander. Spherical form, with all-over filigree scroll work, central ribbed band and hinging in half, each end applied with small circular finial-like detail, diameter 2.5cm. Estimate £500-£600. Image Copyright Bonhams. In the sixteenth century compounds of scents were used instead of simple balls of ambergris or musk. These two were included, but were mixed with other costly oils possessing antiseptic qualities, such as camphor, sandalwood or myrrh, the whole being mixed to a paste with rose water. A very odd ingredient quoted in many recipes is “garden mold” which was used to keep the mixture moist and firm. This compound was called “pomander”; it was only later that the term came to be used for the vessel which contained it. There are many quotations in wills and inventories to show this development in meaning. An entry in the Privy Purse expenses of Henry VII for the year 1492 mentions a “box with pomandre”, while a similar entry for the Princess Mary, his grand-daughter, for the year 1542 includes a “pomander of gold”. The earliest type were based on the “muske ball” and were spherical in shape, hinged in the centre and pierced for the escape of the scent. Queen Elizabeth I wore pomanders among her other magnificent jewels when sitting for several portraits. In one of these (in the National Portrait Gallery) she is seen as a mature woman between forty and fifty. She wears a looped necklace of pearls and a jewelled girdle from which hangs a pomander, set in the middle with a gem surrounded by scroll work and with a small pearl drop from the base. It may be that this is the same pomander mentioned in the list of new year’s gifts to the Queen in 1577 when she was forty-five. The entry reads “A juell of golde being a pomander on each side a poynted dyamonde with a smale pearl pendant”. This short sentence describes the essential features of’ the early pomanders — they were small, lavish, their use was a social grace and their value such that they were a fit present for the Queen. From 1580 dry perfumes were carried in powder form. They were kept in containers divided into six or eight compartments and the different scents were mixed or used individually as desired. The most common form was apple or pear shaped with six segments folding into a central column, each segment having a sliding lid with name of a perfume engraved on it, usually lavender, musk, rose, rue, citron and civet. Several examples exist in the shape of a book which opens, the two halves being divided into sections. Other types vary from a flower with opening petals to a skull hinged at the cranium and divided into six compartments. There are enough of these extant to show that it must have been a fairly common form. It may seem odd that such a gruesome model as a death’s head was used for an ornament in daily use and it is generally supposed that it was an association with the horrors of the plague. Another reason is suggested by a silver pomander dated 1682 made in the form of an apple bearing the impress of teeth or teeth marks. This is hinged and inside is a small skull, itself hinged to contain the scents. The outer case is engraved with the in-scription “from man came woman — from woman sin — from sin death”. The image of an apple to the seventeenth century mind immediately recalled the temptation of Adam and the fall of man from grace to sin. The skull represents death, the inevitable result of’ sin. Many pomanders had a compartment in the base for a sponge soaked in aromatic vinegar and when their use began to decline in the last quarter of the seventeenth century this section developed into a separate container called a sponge box. There are many early recipes for aromatic vinegar and its therapeutic properties were recognised by doctors who normally carried a stick with a sponge box set in the head as a precaution against infection. Most vinaigrettes range in size from 1″ to 4″ long and were carried in the hand or tucked into a glove. As many as eighty per cent of vinaigrettes were made in Birmingham and that of these more than half were made by a limited number of specialised makers, the most important being Samuel Pemberton, Joseph Taylor, Matthew Linwood, Joseph Willmore and Nathaniel Mills. Any large collection shows great variety both in the outer case and inner grille. Apart from geometric shapes, books, bags, watches and even fish were quite common. There is, however, a broad development of style. As would be expected those made from 1780 to 1800 correspond with the neo-classical style then fashionable. From 1830 they were made with very heavily embossed scenes on the cover, usually of castles or large public buildings but these “castle” vinaigrettes are uncommon and expensive. The grille is as significant to the collector as the outer case. The earliest were simple drilled holes but as early as 1800 delicate […]
Manuel Cipriano Gomes Mafra (1829-1905) was one of the foremost Portuguese ceramists of the 19th century who developed a vast array of work influenced by the natural world. Manuel Mafra’s pottery work, marked by naturalism, was strongly influenced by the French 16th century engineer, craftsman and potter Bernard Palissy . Palissy was famed for his figulines rustiques (rusticware), or decorative faience fired in a high-relief pattern inspired by nature, and especially pond life: reptiles, insects, vegetation, flowers and fish. Palissy’s work apparently often used moulded from casts taken of dead specimens. The tradition Mafra developed of Portuguese Palissy-style ceramics became an important movement in the decorative arts in the second half of the 19th Century. Mafra moved to Caldas de Rainha to work at the famed Maria dos Cacos factory. He was later to run the same factory from 1853 till his death in 1905. The town was to become a magnet for other ceramicists and it became the centre for Portuguese Palissy Ware. The factory produced faience wares and later Did you know? Mafra was actually christened Manuel Cipriano Gomes and took the name Mafra, the county of his origin in 1853 19th Century copies of Palissy’s work were made in both faience and in majolica, a 19th Century version of faience with an improved lead-based glaze. Reference Manuel Mafra at the Met Museum A Concise Guide to Caldas Ceramics
Beads, Bobs And Babies – Dolls in The 1920s by Sue Brewer What a time it was! Carefree, sparkling, crazy; the 1920s was a decade for the young. It was fashionable to be youthful, with thin bodies, no busts and long legs ending in strappy-shoes. Parties were held at the slightest excuse, and dances such as the Charleston were all the rage, performed by arm-flailing, leg-kicking youngsters in fringed and beaded dresses with feathered headbands worn low across their foreheads. The Music-hall was still popular, with roguish singers such as Marie Lloyd playing to packed houses every night, while wind-up gramophones ensured that music was always available – and at least one member at every celebratory gathering was an ace piano-player. My grandmother held parties in her flat next door to the Palace Theatre in Walthamstow, and the artistes would call in after the show, dancing and singing and filling the air with laughter and love, something her children would always remember. She was one of the first so-called `flappers` in the area, rushing to get her hair bobbed as soon as she heard of the fashion. There was a feeling of optimism – the devastating Great War was over – and women were becoming much more independent. During the hostilities, they had worked in previously male-dominated occupations, and having acquired a taste for freedom and life outside the home environment, were determined not to give it up again. Naturally, not everyone was affected by this wave of euphoria. Thousands of people lived in abject poverty, and families still grieved for the men who never returned from the war. In Britain, King George V and Queen Mary were popular monarchs, and George had spent much of the War visiting the troops abroad. He wanted to fight for his country, but was not permitted as it was feared he could be captured as a prize hostage. Queen Mary was very fond of dolls and was presented with a wonderful doll`s house, exhibited at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. It can still be viewed today at Windsor Castle. This enormous, five foot tall house, designed by Sir Edward Lutyens, contains hundreds of items made by crafts people of the time, such as tiny bottles filled with champagne, ornamental figurines, Doulton china, Cartier clocks and carved furniture. It boasts running water, electric lights and a working lift. German dolls were exceedingly popular during the 1920s, and it was during this time that Armand Marseille introduced one of his most popular lines with the `My Dream Baby` doll. This pretty baby, with a bisque porcelain head, is a favourite amongst today`s collectors. Available in several sizes, with a hard or soft body and in various `skin tones`, there was one to suit every little girl. There was even a choice of open or closed mouths. The open-mouth My Dream Baby was marked with the mould number 351 and was bald-headed with a moulded few curls. Her mouth revealed two tiny bottom teeth. These babies featured the recently-introduced bent-limbed body (as opposed to the `traditional` straight-limbed bodies jointed at knees and elbows.) The closed-mouth version, mould number 341, is particularly sought after today. She has a rather dreamy expression and sweetly-shaped lips, and is not quite so plentiful as her open-mouthed sister. My Dream Baby dolls had either flange or socket heads (indicated by a letter `K` on the back of the neck), and could be obtained as caucasian, black or oriental types, though no attempt was made to alter the features, it was just the colouring which differed. The oriental dolls had a creamy complexion, while the colour of the black dolls varied from milk-to-dark chocolate brown. In America, Grace Storey Putnam developed another top-selling baby doll, the Bye-Lo baby, which was introduced shortly before My Dream Baby – though Armand Marseille claimed he had designed his doll first but not produced it! The Bye-Lo had more realistic face-modelling than the Dream Baby, managing to achieve a `screwed-up` look with the porcelain. Apparently, it was based on a new-born baby, and little creases were put into the composition limbs. Issued in 1922, these sweet dolls became nicknamed the `million dollar babies` because they were so much in demand. They were made by various German companies, including Kestner. Many other manufacturers such as Ernst Heubach, Schoenau & Hoffmeister, Kammer & Reinhardt, Kestner and Simon & Halbig produced bisque dolls at this time, most using the new bent-limbed baby-type body, though girl dolls with multi-jointed bodies were still available. Armand Marseille made other baby types, too, including a particularly attractive character-faced 990 mould. This doll was produced in various sizes, and the larger-than-life model tended to find its way into shop windows, where it was used to model baby wear. Babies were in fashion, because a very special little girl was born in 1926 to the Duke and Duchess of York, who later became Queen Elizabeth II. Little all-bisque dolls were popular, too. These could fit into a dolls` house, or neatly into a pocket to be carried around as a child`s companion. During the Great War, when German exports were discouraged, Japanese dolls made from a coarse white bisque had been introduced, but now, the finer-quality German dolls were back in the shops. Celluloid, wood and cloth dolls were also produced, with manufacturers such Dean`s issuing exquisite moulded-cotton-faced dolls, including the Princess doll from 1927, Posy dolls, boudoir dolls and a range using the newly-developed `Evripose` jointing system. Chad Valley was another company manufacturing cloth dolls at this time; these beautiful dolls featured moulded-felt faces with glass eyes. Their dolls included the Bambina series, made from felt and velvet, and a leggy Boudoir doll. Norah Wellings, originally a designer with Chad Valley, began producing her own collection of dolls during the 1920s, setting up a factory in Shropshire. Her Cora dolls featured felt faces, velveteen bodies and were dressed in pretty frilly frocks. Later she became known for her cheeky sailor dolls. The […]
Retro and vintage have become the new buzz words with those eagle eyed collectors who seek out all things dating from the middle of the twentieth-century onwards.
Monart Glass was produced at the Moncrieff’s North British Glassworks by John Moncrieff Ltd, Perth, Scotland from 1924-1961. The design works was headed by Salvador Ysart, a Spanish glassworker, and his four sons (Paul, Vincent, Augustine, and Antoine). Monart Glass is recognisable for its mottled and marbled colour patterns and its distinctive iridising of the white decoration in its earlier pieces. Salvador Ysart was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1878. He apprenticed as a glassblower in Barcelona and later moved to France in 1909, influenced by Emile Gallé’s School of Nancy, to work in various glass factories which included the Schneider Art Glass factory (founded by Charles and Ernest Schneider). In 1915 he moved to Scotland with his family where he was recruited to teach glassblowing at Leith Flint Glassworks in Edinburgh. In 1922 he moved to the Moncrieff glassworks in Perth, initially to make laboratory glassware with his eldest son Paul. Isobel Moncrieff, wife of John Moncrieff, saw a vase made by Salvador at the factory and he realised its commercial potential. A new range of decorative glasswares was developed in 1923 and eventually released in 1924 under the brand “Monart Ware”. The Monart was from the name MONcrieff and YsART. The range to include vases, bowls, lampshades, candlesticks, scent bottles, ashtrays and paperweights and became to be sold in London by Liberty’s as well as being exported to Australia and North America including at Tiffany & Co. Monart became especially well known for their range of table lamps and ceiling shades became an important part of production. The Monart lamps are among the most valuable of the all the Monart ranges. The designs of some of the lamps reflecting Salvador’s earlier training with Schneider as well as the influence of Daum and Gallé. The Monart Ware Lighting Pattern Book recorded thirty-four bases and twenty-seven shades, some available in at least three different sizes. Production of art glass at Moncrieff’s ceased during World War II. After the war, Moncrieff’s were reluctant to continue producing art glass, so in 1947, Salvador, with his younger sons Vincent and Augustine, set up Vasart Glass. Paul Ysart stayed on at Moncreiff’s and Monart glass production was restarted in 1947, then continued for another 14 years, but on a much smaller scale than before the War. The colours were also paler after 1945 because fashion tastes had changed and also it was difficult to obtain the bold pre-war colours. During this time Paul Ysart developed line of paperweights at Monart which have become highly collectables. In fact Paul has is recognised as one the fathers of the Scottish fame in paperweights. He later designed paperweights for Caithness Glass. Production finally ended in 1961 but the legacy of Monart Glass and the Ysart infleunce continues today. Related Monart Glass – from The Glass Encyclopedia Monart Glass information and Antique Ethos
As an obsessive follower of fashion one of my favourite pastimes is spending copious amounts of money in the designer shops lining London’s smartest streets. Just recently I caught the train home armed with bags bearing the names of Gucci and Lulu Guinness, but if I’d had enough money then the bag that I would have definitely carried home would have been blazoned with the word “Chanel”. Pictured: Gabrielle Chanel, A Little Black Dress, Circa 1926 – classic silk dress in tunic form, with integral overblouse which ties at back waist, short sleeves and square neck, finely pleated apron panel, labelled Gabrielle Chanel Paris, numbered ‘2924’. Sold at Christies, London, Nov 2007 for £875 ($1,806). Born Gabrielle Chanel on 19th August 1883 in Saumur, France, into a poverty stricken family, she spent most of her childhood growing up in the austere area of Auvergne. Chanel’s mother was a sickly woman and her father a philanderer. Life became even harder for Chanel at the age of twelve when after her mother’s death from Tuberculosis she was abandoned at an orphanage by her father. Pictured: A Chanel Wedding Gown And Train 1930 – Composed of a dress with elaborately gored and top stitched bodice and skirts, the detachable train appliqué with cream velvet flowers, fixing to shoulder with hooks and eyes. Labelled CHANEL, with couture number ‘99409’ Sold at Christies, London, Nov 2013 for £40,000 ($63,520). Chanel’s passion for fashion started whilst at a boarding school in Notre Dame; she studied the other girls clothes and fabrics, then learnt to sew. After leaving school she found employment in a lingerie shop and took a second job with a tailor, but her biggest ambition was to leave the life of poverty behind. Intent on seeking wealth without marriage she knew that rich men would shower her with gifts and introduce a grandeur way of life. This dream became reality when Chanel found work as a cabaret singer in a bar at night. She sang two songs and one of these was called “Who has seen Coco”. This became her signature tune and gave her both a new name and the start of a relationship with Etienne Balsan, a wealthy man whose family money was made from textile manufacturing. Life as a mistress was a little uncomfortable at first, as she had a boyish figure and short hair, which was very different to the other mistresses who wore elaborate, corseted dresses and knew how to conduct themselves properly. Chanel decided to adopt her own unique style by wearing men’s clothing, and although this look was a little strange compared to other elegant women Chanel felt more comfortable and continued to dress in this manner. It was during this period that she started to design her own range of hats; this was the first stepping-stone of her successful career. Women craved to wear her millinery creations and it wasn’t long before she was recognised as an important hat designer, forcing her to open a workshop in 1909. Chanel’s first shop was opened in Paris in 1910, and by 1912 she had left Etienne Balsan for Boy Capel, a successful businessman. Capel took a personal interest in Chanel and backed her business financially, thus encouraging her to fulfil her dreams. She opened a boutique in Deauville in 1913 and then began to expand by designing clothing as well as hats. Using hand knitted fabrics she created jackets and skirts. These fresh new designs became an instant hit with the wealthier women, liberating them from their corsets, thus liberating their minds. Chanel wanted women to no longer be reliant on men but to think for themselves and saw that this could happen through the clothes that they wore. In 1915 Chanel’s business was thriving and she was able to open a second house of couture in Biarritz. Completely selfsufficient she no longer needed Boy Capel’s finances but he was the one true love of her life. Chanel was devastated; when in 1919 tragedy hit; Boy Capel was killed in a car crash, and once again she felt abandoned, coping with the grief by throwing herself into work. It was in 1921 when Chanel’s signature scent first appeared on the market. She asked Ernest Beaux, a perfumer, to create an innovative perfume and the result was a fresh smell that lasted longer than any other scent. She set about designing packaging that would capture what the name “Chanel” was all about; clean, crisp and modern. The perfume was housed in a square shaped plain bottle and she did what no other designer had done before by attaching her own name to the scent, “Chanel No. 5”. It was then launched at a Spring Fair on the 5th day of the month. “Chanel No. 5” has become one of the world’s biggest selling scents and the earlier bottles are highly sought after in collecting circles. Another popular area of Chanel collecting is costume jewellery. She was inspired by her own collection of precious stones to create a range of costume jewellery that would complement her clothing ranges. It was sold in a Chanel box and materials used varied from enamel and glass to crystal rhinestones and faux pearls. Some of the rarer pieces are worth thousands of pounds, such as a Peacock pin, set with poured coloured glass and clear crystal rhinestones, produced in the 1930s. This can command £1,665-£2,335. Another rare pin is the enamelled frog brooch dating from 1927, again worth in the region of £1,500-£2,000. If your pocket will not stretch to such high sums, then you can find more affordable pieces of Chanel jewellery on the market. Look for pins in the form of the Maltese Cross which was a signature motif for Chanel. Unfortunately this design is not as popular with contemporary collectors as some of the other designs, so a pin would only cost £80-£100, but it’s a good place to start if you want to begin a collection of Chanel jewellery. Coco Chanel continued to make classic sophisticated […]