Avon began life as the California Perfume Company in 1886 in New York City by David Hall McConnell and his wife Lucy who created and began manufacturing a line of perfumes. They sold their perfumes through a lady, Mrs. P.F.E. Albee, now known as the First Avon Sales Representative. Enlisting more representatives, the company grew and by 1896 issued its first catalog for customers to choose from.
By 1902 the CPC company had grown to 10,000 Representatives and the product line now included some 117 new items in toiletries and cosmetics. In 1914, the first International Branch and Lab opened in Montreal, Canada and the California Perfume Company continued to grow more rapidly with sales reaching the $1 million mark by 1920. In 1932, the Depression years, marketing schemes changed to include the 3 week selling campaigns where items were offered at special discounts for short periods. In 1937, David McConnell dies, David McConnell Jr. becomes the new President and the California Perfume Company adopts the name Avon. Sales continue to increase until 1939 when WWII began.
During the war, Avon converted 50% of its production plant into manufacturing such items as paratrooper kits, insect repellent and gas mask canisters to help the war effort. Once the war was over in 1945, the company grew even more and by 1949 had 2,500 employees, 65,000 Representatives and $25 million annual sales. In 1954, the first Avon TV ad appears with the famous "Ding-Dong, Avon Calling" bell, now a Registered Trademark for Avon and the company opens branches in Puerto Rico and Venezuela. More warehouses and shipping facilities open and Avon joins the New York Stock Exchange and begins trading Avon stock in 1964.
During the mid 1960's Avon began marketing novelty containers and the first Glass Car Decanter is introduced in 1968. This is followed over the next 25 years with hundreds of interesting novelty and figural decanters in both Men's and Women's lines. The product line itself grows to includes Fancy Soaps, Scented Candles and Holders, a complete Children's Line of plastic toys filled with soaps and bubble baths, Stationery items, Christmas ornaments and Special Occasion gift packs, even Avon Jewelly introduced in 1971 and Family Fashions in 1973.
Along the way, Avon hits many milestones, such as being the first cosmetic company to open in China selling Moisture Cream, and collects many awards at fairs and conventions. Avon enlisted many manufactures for their product lines including the Fostoria Crystal Co. (now closed) and other glass, pottery and porcelain manufacturers. Today, Avon Products, Inc. remain the world's largest direct seller of cosmetics in over 100 countries with over 4 million Representatives, 46,000 employees and over $2 billion annual sales. For more current information, visit the Avon web site at avon.com.
Collecting Avon items began seriously after the first of the novelty figural decanters were introduced covering themes from sports, cars, planes, trains, animals, guns, pipes, patriotic items, birds, flowers, lamps, plates, tea sets and even dinnerware to Special Limited Edition items produced and Awarded to High Sales Achievers. All of the items on this web site are Discontinued Avon items that are very collectible today. Prices are wholly based on the condition and current demand for items. Having the original box is always a bonus. Containers that held liquids such as Perfumes and After Shave should be empty and clean but should have all the labels and should not be altered in any way.
There are many Avon Collector Clubs in North American that can be found on the Internet, and several books with history and information on Avon available. The information and prices found on this site were researched through published up-to-date price guides and the Internet. All items on this site are listed by the year they first appeared.