More Chinese New Year collectibles from Shu Uemura
Curator's Corner, 2/14/2016

Quick post: vintage Valentine's Day compacts

As I've said before, I think Valentine's Day is kinda dumb so the husband and I don't celebrate it, but I do love any sort of holiday-themed makeup. Vintage compacts are especially fun to browse for V-day, as there's no shortage of lovey-dovey designs.

If I had to guess, I think Elgin's heart-shaped compacts were originally created for Valentine's Day (and eventually marketed for Mother's Day and Christmas), since the earliest ad I've seen for them was from February 1947.  I'm greatly amused by the fact that this one appeared in Esquire magazine.  Clueless men, here's what to get your girl for Valentine's Day!

1947 Elgin ad(image from

I always love it when I can find the item that I spotted in a vintage ad.  

Vintage Elgin "Hearts Afire" compact(image from

Here's another ad from February 1948.  While it seems to be targeting women, it does mention the compacts as Valentine's Day gifts.

1948 Elgin ad(image from

Vintage Elgin "Gay Nineties" compact

Vintage Elgin "Gay Nineties" compact(images from

Some other Elgin compacts that would have been appropriate for Valentine's Day:

Vintage Elgin arrow compact(image from

Vintage Elgin heart-shaped compact
(image from

Vintage Elgin heart-shaped compact(image from

It looks like some of them had space for engraving so you could customize them.

Vintage Elgin engraved compact

This one is my favorite. Like I said, I'm not really into Valentine's Day crap, but this is precious.  It really hits all the love notes - Cupid, flying hearts, and "I love you" in several languages. At least, I think that's Cupid...he doesn't have wings, which is a little odd.

Vintage Elgin love compact

Vintage Elgin love compact
(images from

If I had been more organized I would have gotten one for the Museum in time for V-day.  Fortunately there are lots of this particularly design floating around so I can still get it.

What do you think of these?  And do you celebrate Valentine's Day? (I won't judge if you do!)

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