Compact makers: Coty

Coty ad from September 28, 1942 Life

A Coty ad from the September 28, 1942 issue of Life magazine

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I’ve been fighting computer trouble. The new computer is now up and running, so I should be back in full force reasonably soon. To tide you over, a quick post about Coty. Coty has a rich history, established in Paris in 1904, initially launching a fragrance. The company introduced the classic Air-Spun face powder in 1914, bringing Coty into the word of cosmetics. By 1934, an estimated 36 million women bought Coty face powders worldwide.

You can read more about the company’s founder, Francois Coty, and some company history here. Coty’s confident signature became the company logo, gracing a range of  perfumes, powders, and cosmetics.

Many of the company’s compacts have become highly collectible–most notably, the holiday-themed Sleigh Bells package. Often referred to as Jingle Bells, the case included both powder and rouge, with a tube of lipstick in the accompanying presentation box. I want one of these, but every time I have encountered one, it’s been in terrible condition – missing bells, cracked mirror, dented, etc. Or in good condition but well outside my spending limit. Someday, I’ll find the one I’m supposed to own.

Coty Sleigh Bells ad

A 1942 ad for the coveted Sleigh Bells set.

The belt buckle pictured in the ad is another collectible piece, available in white or black. The envelope compact is also popular–they’re easy to find on auction websites. My favorite, however, is the Coty book. This simple goldtone rectangular compact was marketed as having enough room for a month’s supply of powder. I just like the design–it appeals to the bookworm in me.

Coty Corsica compact

Coty Corsica compact in aqua.

The deco-style “Corsica” compacts came in different colors and configurations–bright red and a lovely aqua. It’s also easy to find the round goldtone compacts with Air-Spun powder, with a blue or pinkish plastic button at the center of the lid. These are a good start for the beginning collector…well-made, affordable pieces, definitely worth a look.



  1. I have one similar to the Blue piece you have on here. The plastic is red, and it’s in really good condition, with the original makeup still inside. The make up looks almost new. I’m going to give it as a gift, and I was hoping I could get some history on the piece. I got it from an antique store, and they didn’t have much info on it either.

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