Jane Vanroe on collecting vintage powder compacts and compact mirrors. You can find Jane's designs at www.vanroe.com and on Amazon in the EU & USA
In this, the second of my FAQ posts, I’ll take on the trickiest of questions – “Can you value my compact?” or “How much is it worth?”.
(See also my first FAQ post: Can you repair my vintage powder compact?)
First of all, I should say that I don’t now buy vintage compacts for Vanroe Compact Mirrors. I mainly source my own collection from fairs, dealers and collectors with a number of compacts to sell.
Unfortunately I am not able to value individual pieces. So much depends on condition, design and current trends in the collector community. A good tip is to look at recent prices on Ebay for similar compacts – it’s where most collectors look first. You should note too that collectors often prefer their compacts in their original, untouched condition… potentially powder and all. This is rather different to my customers at Vanroe Compacts who are buying a compact to use.
Compacts that receive enormous collector interest are Stratton Ballerina Compacts (currently in vogue), novelties by any established brand like Le Rage, Vogue Vanities, Pygmalion (Diaries, Telephones, Roulette Wheels, Pianos, Globes), and KIGU’s beautiful Flying Saucer editions. Then there are the earlier compacts, pre-1940, often in precious metals. See Gillian Horsup’s site for lovely examples.
I also recommend (again!) that you get in touch with the British Compact Collectors’ Society. They are a lovely and incredibly well-informed group. Although, like me, they are unable to provide valuations, they can point you in the direction of information about your compact. Should you decide to become a BCCS member, you can discuss valuations with the experts at BCCS events. Membership is currently just £15/year.
You might also like to read my post on The Use, Care and Repair of Vintage Powder Compacts.