Q: I have a set of three unopened perfumes by Jean Patou in the original box. I do not know the exact age, but they predate 1955. The cardboard box [has marks and wear] and is marked: "Parfum/Coffret 3 Boules/Amour-Amour, Moment Supreme, Colony/Jean Patou, Parfumer/Made in France." — D.T.
A: French fashion designer Jean Patou (1887-1936) opened his salon in Paris in 1912. He took time off to fight in World War I, reopened in 1919 and in 1925 introduced his first perfumes, including Amour-Amour. In 1931, he introduced his most famous perfume, Joy. Some stock Patou perfumes were packaged in Art Deco style bottles made by Baccarat — they trade for $50 to $100. The most valuable Patou bottle is the Louis Sue designed ship-shaped flacon for Normandie perfume, presented to first-class passengers boarding the Normandie on its inaugural voyage. One sold this year at a Paris auction for more than $13,000.
Your set, dating after 1938 and before 1950, was manufactured by an unknown glass house. The set with the original box is worth around $110. I priced it sans perfume, since it appears that the sealed bottles are empty.
Q: Would you give me an approximate value for my Boilly tapestry? Also, any advice on how to research it further? — R.C.
A: Although your tapestry is labeled on the front "Boilly 1791," he actually is the artist who originally painted the scene. Louis-Leopold Boilly (1761-1845) was a painter who specialized in portraits. But Boilly's genre paintings of French middle-class life are his most popular works, and the most copied.
The tapestry probably was machine-woven in France during the first half of the 20th century. Without a label, it's impossible to identify the textile mill that produced it. Tapestries also were woven in Belgium and Italy.
Check out the back under strong light for any details.
Some hand-woven European textiles are signed. Ones manufactured after 1891 are supposed to be marked with country of origin.
This tapestry is faded, a real problem for many old and antique tapestries, but otherwise in good condition. It's worth $50 to $100.