Vintage Warner Brothers Studio Cosmetic Photo Featuring Brenda Marshall

This vintage photograph is pretty enough to display with your vanity collectibles! The 8 X 10 glossy photo features Brenda Marshall wearing a feather-trimmed peignoir sitting at a vanity table applying a powder puff to her bare shoulder.

brenda marshall powder puff vanity vintage photo by scotty welbourne

Circa 1940, the seller of this photograph offers the following details:

Captured by Scotty Welbourne for Warner Bros. Studios, Marshall is seen in a glamorous fur trimmed robe applying soothing lotions and cosmetics to her sunburnt shoulder.

Attached press snipe reads: “DUST YOUR SUNBURN LIGHTLY … Brenda Marshall has discovered that dusting powder can be very soothing to a sunburned skin. After the star of THE SEA HAWK (opposite Errol Flynn) has applied a cooling lotion to her ‘overdone’ skin, she pats on a light bath powder. She finds it relieves her skin of that stretched and hot feeling.”

Measures 8″ x 10″ with margins on a glossy, single weight paper stock. Photographer’s ink stamp on verso.

vintage warner bros scotty welbourne photo

vintage warner film studios ephemera

I Go Dotty Over A Vintage Mid-Century Modern Brass Metal Lipstick Tube & Case

Who wouldn’t go dotty over this fabulous Mid-Century modern lipstick tube with polka-dots!

vintage metal brass lipstick case tube vanity collectible

The golden dots in the ivory enamel or paint expose the gold-tone metal beneath it. (Both the vintage lipstick tube and case are all metal, likely brass.) Remnants of the old lipstick remain inside — but you know these old tubes can be refilled, right?

vintage polkadot lipstick tube case

But what’s really driving me dotty is not knowing who made this beauty as there’s no label or marking for brand or maker.

mid-century modern polkadot lipstick tube case (1)

The fluted bottom is like many of the vintage and retro Yardley lipstick cases, but the top on this case is much rounder and more domed than the on those in the London Look or Slicker collections…

vintage yardley mod slickers metal lipstick tube

Perhaps this is an early design from the 1950s or early 1960s by Yardley?

Britemode also made a dotty lipstick case (and matching compact), but the Britemode’s base is not fluted nor is the top as tall or rounded.

vintage Britemode metal lipstick compact set

And older Britemode lipstick case has a fluted tube bottom; but not a domed top. Plus, it appears the Britemode lipstick tubes are stamped and embossed on the bottom.

vintage Britemode cosmetic set lipstick case

stamped bottom of vintage Britemode metal lippy

And so I remain stumped.

If you can identify the maker, let me know!

This vintage polkadot metal lipstick tube and case measures approximately 2 3/4 inches tall, from bottom of fluted base to round dome top. And it is 3/4 of an inch in diameter on bottom (widest part).

vintage vanity metail brass lipstick case

A Trio Of Vanity Collectibles

Some lovely vanity collectibles from stainedglasssonia:

A vintage Chinese hand mirror with a hand-painted geisha on the porcelain back, an intricately embossed silver metal settings and celadon jade handle. In original box.

Vintage Chinese Celadon Jade Hand Painted Porcelain Petite Vanity Mirror Geisha

A hand-painted Victorian powder box with original powder puff.

Hand Painted Victorian Swansdown Powder Puff Box And Original Puff

An Art Deco handbag made glass beads featuring a fabulous peacock.

Art Deco Beaded peacock purse flapper handbag glass Beads

Sweet Antique Candy Boxes

Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without the proverbial box of chocolates! These two boxes are pretty examples of sweet antique advertising ephemera.

antique chocolate candy boxes

The first box marked “Overhauser’s of Spokane” features a Victorian lady with a large hat. There’s a holly and berries sticker on the box that shows this box of candy from the Overhauser Candy Company (Spokane, Washington) was likely given for Christmas — but it’s still a romantic gift, right?

The second antique candy box also features a fancy Victorian lady wearing a large hat — with roses that match the other roses on the paper. This box bears a red and gold foil seal that reads “De Luxe Chocolates, Little Falls, Minn.” Remarkably, the original fancy embossed papers are still inside!

antique de luxe chocolates minnesota box

Both boxes are for sale in our Etsy shop, here & here. Or you can contact me at We Have Your Collectibles or the We Have Your Collectibles Facebook page.

Becoming Unhinged Over Antique Beaded Purses

On Saturday, we went to an auction. Normally I avoid the girlie jewelry cases, with their beautiful vintage jewelry and antique purses because, not having very deep pockets, I fear having my heart broken. But this time was different. Not only did I look, linger, and love, but I won a number of beautiful pieces, including this antique beaded purse — sparking clear glass beads applied by hand over silk — for just $11!

antique beaded purse

This dreamy creamy white antique hand beaded bag is a square 4 1/2 by 4 /12/ inches, but it’s placed into the frame on an angle so that it looks diamond shaped. The German Silver frame is embossed with leaves — and the clasps are acorns!

embossed details on silver antique purse frame

The long beaded fringe (approximately 3 inches long) nearly doubles the length of the purse — something I’d have thought would actually have reduced the life of the purse by at least half. (Can’t you just imagine having one of those delicate — but weighty with glass beads — fringes loop itself around something and the next thing you’d know, you’d hear a shower of beads hit the floor!)

Upon close inspection, this purse is not perfect; the frame was damaged on one side, near the hinge, and a lame repair was attempted. (Things not noticeable in a locked jewelry case; a reminder for the less adventurous to ask for help before bidding.)

broken hinge on white antique beaded purse

But even if the frame is not real silver, I didn’t feel hopeless. In the worst case scenario I could get one of my antique frames, insert a bright blue or vivid red fabric background, and hang this beautiful work of art inside it (with no glass over it — because that’s not good for vintage or antique beaded purses); in the best case scenario, I could see if my jeweler could make a fine repair.

Since the old repair attempt included lead, which goldsmiths simply cannot use on the premises as it contaminates, I am left with two options: A) have hubby remove the lead here at home and then have the jeweler laser solder it, or B), have the jeweler solder around the old bad repair (which would look less lovely on the inside). Naturally I’d prefer the proper and prettier repair of option A; but in either case the cost is the same, about $20.

That would bring my total price paid for a collectible to $31; not bad since the purse could be worth as much as $500. (And even though the repair lessens the value in the collecting marketplace a bit, it surely is worth the cost and effort for a lovely beaded purse, let alone an antique beaded purse surviving with its fringe.)

And so, in the end, I’m the one ‘unhinged’ — giddy with the thrill of a find at the auction.

Of Valentino, Mineralava Beauty Pageants & Pink Powder Puffs

As a feminist, I have a complicated, conflicted, relationship with beauty pageants. But this vintage booklet from the 1923 Mineralava Beauty Pageant fascinates me because of the man involved: Rudolph Valentino.

Not just some master of ceremonies, Valentino was both the star and the prize of this contest: “The Most Beautiful Woman In America May be the Leading Lady of Valentino’s Next Picture.”

When the silent film star walked out of his Famous Players-Lasky (FP-L) contract in 1923, the studio suspended him without pay and won an injunction that prevented him from working for another studio, leaving the decadent dandy desperate for money. In Rudolph Valentino & the Mineralava Tour of 1923, Edward Lorusso explains:

Desperate for money, Valentino and Rambova decided to create a dance act and tour the country for Mineralava Beauty Clay cosmetics. Starting in New York City’s Century Theatre at a benefit for the Actors Fund on a bill with Will Rogers and Jeanne Eagels, the couple caused a sensation and received 20 curtain calls. Valentino was stampeded by 300 fans as he left the theater. A Boston headline claimed “10,000 Girls Mob World’s Greatest Kisser.” The mobs became so predictable that Valentino and Rambova often escaped theaters over rooftops. The couple performed in 88 cities in the United States and Canada during a grueling 17-week tour. The hysteria followed them wherever they performed.

The dance tour garnered a tremendous amount of publicity and earned the couple a big weekly salary plus a percentage of the gate. They broke house records in several theaters. But while Valentino was mobbed by hordes of fans in every city, local newspaper coverage often sniped at his romantic movie image and professional dancing as being “unmanly.” Plus, Valentino was hawking beauty products that he claimed to use himself.

Following the example of dance idols Ted Shawn and Ruth St. Denis, the Valentinos created exotic dances and sumptuous costumes to the accompaniment of their own traveling orchestra. They performed a number of dances, but the tango routines were the ones that always brought down the house.

The beauty contest (the Miss America contest started in 1921) was another publicity angle of the tour. Mineralava sponsored a contest in each of the tour’s 88 cities and Valentino “judged” all the contestants. Then all 88 beauties descended on New York City, where they were paraded up Fifth Avenue to the Madison Square Garden. A young David O. Selznick made a short film of the contest called Rudolph Valentino and His 88 American Beauties; the film survives and is a fascinating glimpse at a “natural” Rudolph Valentino as well as the beauty contest styles of the day. Selznick shows the terrifying hordes of people who mobbed the streets outside Madison Square Garden, hoping for a glimpse of Valentino. Inside the Garden, the 88 girls come out onto a stage that is surrounded by crowds. Each girl (most with bobbed hair and bee-stung lips) parades in a gown and sash proclaiming her city and carrying (for some unknown reason) a ribboned Bo-Peep staff.

More details on the tour here, including a list of the tour stops.

Along with being a great advertising piece, I find this vintage booklet to be a lovely little piece of women’s history, combining the power of the women as consumers with their status as prey for marketers. Along with the testimonials from “women in American Homes,” collectors of silent film will also enjoy all the celebrity endorsements from silent film stars such as Nazimova, Mae Murray, Marion Davies, and Marie Prevost.

Other items from this beauty pageant tour can be found too. Donna L. Hill, author of Rudolph Valentino The Silent Idol: His Life in Photographs (who also runs Rudolph-Valentino.com, owns this original trophy from the Mineral Lava Beauty Contest in Baltimore. (The Baltimore contestant came in third overall in the national contest.)

Along with trophies, Mineralava gave out boudoir dolls of Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova to contest winners.

As fabulous as this pageant was for Valentino (it did get him a better contract — if also assisting in the “Pink Powder Puff” slur) and, one presumes, Scott’s Mineralava Beauty Clay, at the time, the story doesn’t really end well… Valentino’s life lasted just a few more years and Mineralava seems only a footnote in the life of Valentino.

Image Credits:
Images of the 1923 Mineralava Beauty Pageant booklet, measuring 5 1/2 by 8 inches, via Grapefruit Moon Gallery.

Photo of the Mineralava trophy belongs to Donna L. Hill; found via Cinema OCD.

Old newspaper archive photo of Rudolph Valentino and Natacha Rambova boudoir dolls found in The Doll of Choice by Movie Stars & Naughty Girls, by Linda Wulfestieg (published in Contemporary Doll Collector, March 2009).

Airspun In Central Park

This photo, titled Makeup, Central Park, was taken by Frank Paulin 1955.

The photograph itself is a 20 x 16 inches gelatin silver print, signed and dated on verso. But what’s most fascinating to me is the powder compact, clearly from Coty. The Coty Airspun powder-puff design debuted in 1939 and now has been around so long it’s iconic enough to be spotted easily.

Vanity: Thy Name Is Woman

One of the things I love most about this vintage photo of a woman (obviously showing off her stockings in an erotic “French postcard” way) is the old boudoir doll on the vanity. You don’t see a lot of photos of boudoir dolls!

Antique Advertising In Japanese Travel Guide

More scans from that antique, turn of the century, Japan travel guide; these are advertisements found in the back of the book.

S. Nishimura, “one price silk store,” founded in 1604.

K. Kawata, another silk vendor ad, this one targeting “Ladies desiring Embroideries or Drawn Work.”

K. Tamamura, “the leading photographer of Japan.”

K. Kimbei, a photographic studio promoting magic lantern slides, among other items.

An ad for the Nagasaki Hotel.

The top half of this ad is for the Batchelor’s Hair-Dressing Rooms, “Ladies’ Department under the sold supervision of Mons. Mogaillard, a clever Parisian Artist.” (Note that cigars are also available — for gentlemen only, I’m sure!) The bottom half is for C. & J. Favre-Frandt, an import-export shop.

Pope & Co. worries that you’ll perish from hunger on trips to the interior! The small print mentions tinned goods, but the large print mentions wines, liquors and cigars. The next page is a continuation of their ad which meantions specific champagnes, whiskey — and Schlitz Beer!

DIY China Jewelry Display

I have very mixed feelings about modifying or changing antique and vintage things, but when I saw this project converting plates (and a candlestick) into a jewelry holder I thought it would be a wonderful way to salvage china pieces, bring them out of the boxes and shadows and back to life.

I’ve seen this done before, but all the tiers were plates, and it became a nice tidbit tray for serving cookies, etc. Having the tea cup saucer on top makes for an excellent lip for hanging wire earrings!

Wouldn’t this be a fabulous way to share an antique, but incomplete, family heirloom china set? It would make it easier to share the family china with each one of your children!

Thank You Aunt Alice

It’s funny how things become vintage. I remember when my Aunt Alice (my Grandmother’s sister) came to visit me in the hospital and gave me my first pair of dangly earrings. They were not expensive made but they were gold and elegant looking and most of all, when I wore them I could feel them swaying just under my earlobes. It meant a lot to me.

Now here we are, about 30 years later, I still have those earrings tucked away in my jewelry box with all the other stuff I don’t wear. (I never became the girly type to wear make up or jewelry). Now those earrings could be called vintage. It makes me feel older than I really am. My Aunt Alice isn’t here any longer. I miss her but I do think about that day now and then, and many others.

Do you have a special pair of earrings or something other jewelry? Is there something in your jewel box that makes you remember someone else, especially a family member? Even though my earrings aren’t especially valuable I would like to have someone in the family to give them to. It’s a shame that none of the younger generation in the family now will have any memory of my Aunt Alice. So the earrings will never be special to them in the same way they are special to me. That’s kind of sad.

Vintage Beauty & Cosmetic Tips Explain Vanity Collectible Conditions

More things for collectors to learn from that 1940’s Hint Hunt booklet — this time the tips could explain some condition issues you find with vintage vanity collectibles.  These vintage beauty and cosmetic tips explain why you might just spot pinholes in powder boxes and find beads in perfume bottles.

For me, such pin pricks and beads are the tangible evidence of the intimacy of these old items… Clues to the connections between decades, even centuries, of women who desire both beauty and practicality.

Vintage “Match Lips”

This is so ephemeral that I can barely stand it! It’s a paper matchbook…

With matchheads of “Stay-Tru” Almay lipstick!

I’m not sure why you’d want to sell beauty on the idea of putting a match to your lips, or how these survived (mostly intact; one ‘strike’ is missing), but I love it!

Collecting Vintage Cosmetics: See What’s Taken A Powder In Vintage Makeup Name-Calling

I have a modest collection of vintage vanity items; my collection and I have even been featured in Collectors News magazine. Included in my collection are various vintage powder tins, compacts, and refills.

Once you get past the pretty packaging (which I’ll admit might take some time!), you notice the names of shades of old powders… And this can spawn a collection of its own: collecting vintage powders by name of the color (or shade) of the powder.

In fact, there’s quite a bit to learn in the dusty trail of vintage face powder names.

One of the most common vintage powder shades is Rachel; nearly every maker of face powders had a shade called Rachel, making it an easy entre into collecting by shade. Even if you don’t collect vintage cosmetic items or didn’t notice how common the shade was, you may find the history of this color fascinating!

Along with the connotative associations between makeup and the stage (in which actresses were equated with prostitutes — as was any woman who dared to daintily apply color), there is tangible evidence of stage makeup for collectors. Beauty products and makeup kits were created and marketed for theatrical (and, later, film) production quality makeup artistry. An example is my vintage Max Factor Stage Make-up Kit. In this professional student makeup kit, the individual colors and shades are known by numbers, presumably for a more ‘industry standard’ aesthetic.

But not all manufacturers sold their products this way. In fact, some companies sought to market their products to the stage — and beyond. For example, this Stein’s Face Powder tin, circa 1920s, has the following statement printed on it: “For the Stage — For the Boudoir.”

While clearly trying to appeal to legitimate actresses, it is unclear if “boudoir” was intended for the average potential female consumer of the time… It would seem more likely that a powder tin for general consumption would boast of ‘invisibility’ or ‘undetectability’ or, at the very least, be more discrete and ladylike, mentioning it was for her vanity, dressing table or toilet, as opposed to the more bawdy her boudoir. Even in the roaring 20’s.

The 20 colors , listed below clearly lend themselves more to the staging of characters rather than romantic notions of beauty.

1 – White
2- Light Pink
2 1/2 Pink
3 – Dark Pink
3 1/2 Darker Pink
4 – Flesh
5 – Brunette
6 – Dark Brunette
7 – Cream
8 – Juvenile Flesh
9 – Healthy Old Age
10 – Sunburn
11 – Sallow Old Age
12 – Olive
13 – Othello
14 – Chinese
14 1/2 – Japanese
15 – Indian
16 – Moving Picture
17 – Lavender

I wasn’t surprised to see the rather racist ethnic shades (as limited in ethnicities as in shade options within ethnicity labels; and I’ve seen worse), but I was surprised to see two shades for brunettes while they passed on any specific shades for blondes or redheads (which was quite common for many years). And do I even need to mention how I’d love to see the color that is “Othello?”

With colors like these, it is difficult to see the cross-appeal to general female kind — unless, of course, the woman in question was err, performing on a much smaller stage. *wink*

Whatever the intended target market of the M. Stein Cosmetic Company (and I do continue to research it), collecting all these vintage powder colors would certainly be fun — and illuminating in ways the old cosmetic company never imagined.

Alice White, I Hardly Knew Ye (But I Want Your Furnishings & Your Little Dog Too)

One of the great things about collecting old photographs are the things in the photos — not only the objects and persons the photographer intended you to focus on, but the little extras which make the scene. Like in this vintage photo of Alice White.

Clearly designed to promote the movie star, but (as pretty as the Ms White is, as cute as her little white dog is) I’m drooling over the rather eclectic mix of furnishings in the frame.

Revel in the mix of patterns and textures, including the walls, the upholstery, the lace tablecloth, and the wicker Ms White sits on.

Check out the pretty mirror in her hand (more objects from the vanity set appear to be on the table — a table covered in a lace cloth, with suggestive legs beneath it, making me wonder just how wonderful that old round table is!). I just wish the mirror wasn’t preventing us from seeing more of that dress…

But it’s that fabulous art deco lamp which has me sitting-up pretty and panting, begging like her canine companion. Look at that final, the base, and that shade! All those spheres!