You probably first heard about Old Spice products when Isaiah Mustafa's hypnotic timbre spun a clever story about how your man could smell like him if he used Old Spice. However, the nautical-themed fragrance and bath product manufacturer has been around since the 1930s, and you can find cool, vintage Old Spice collectibles all over the internet. Rock your beauty boat by adding one or two of these practical promotional items from Old Spice history to your bathroom routine.
Old Spice History
The Shulton Company, founded by William Lightfoot Shultz in 1934, originally manufactured the first line of Old Spice products. In fact, the very first one that the company released wasn't even a men's beauty product; rather, in 1937, they unveiled the Early American Old Spice for Women line, which was a combination of roses, cloves, herbs, and other spices packaged in a colonial theme. The company was particularly crafty in the way they designed their containers. They made the packaging simple and attractive so that once the product was gone, people could repurpose it for future use.
Despite its humble beginnings during the Great Depression, the line prospered and a men's line called the Old Spice for Men began the following year in 1938. Unfortunately, the company didn't have as much staying power as other brands before it, and its dwindling elder male demographic made it the butt of jokes for decades. Yet, the 2010 advertising campaign featuring 'the man your man could smell like' was a smash success, and the Proctor and Gamble brand has risen to become one of the most popular cleanliness product manufacturers in the United States.
Old Spice's Interesting Product Line-Up
If you look beyond the scented after shaves, soaps, and body washes, you'll discover Old Spice's fascinating line-up of promotional items like shaving mugs and gifts sets, as well as their long-lasting aftershave and cologne bottles. By looking through the decades of collectibles, you can see how each passing era touched the company's sense of identity and design, and you can find affordable pieces that work best for you.
There're two kinds of mugs in the Old Spice line, one for shaving and one for drinking coffee. The first shaving mugs in 1938 contained shaving soap packaged in a wood veneer box. After the beginning of WWII in the early 1940s, the boxes switched to cardboard due to wartime rationing.
Shulton produced mugs for its international market as well, and the most collectible of these include the Canadian, English, and Belgian mugs. One of the rarest mugs is an English one produced between 1969 and 1984 by Wade Pottery. It features a ship on one side and an Old Spice inscription on the other, and is considered one of the more valuable mugs out there.
Old Spice coffee mugs existed primarily in the 1980s. The most common is the "Morning Refresher"; a tall, rimmed mug sold in a gift set along with aftershave lotion and shave cream. There're two types of this mug: one decorated with the Old Spice ship and one entirely plain. The plain mug is worth nearly double the amount of the decorated mug.
Aftershave and Cologne Bottles
The original Old Spice aftershave and cologne bottles were made out of pottery with a metal stopper by the A. E. Hull Pottery Company. In 1946, the manufacturer switched from ceramics to glass. Though the graphics, dimensions, and colors update and change occasionally, the bottle's general appearance hasn't changed since this first rendition.
One of the most valuable Old Spice bottles contained Lime aftershave or cologne. Valued between $15 and $20, the green glass bottle sold between 1966 and 1991. Old Spice also produced a variety of other bottles, including talcum powder bottles and shakers, travel-sized bottles and novelty bottles.
Shulton grouped its products into gift sets almost from the beginning, trying a number of different combinations. Old Spice gift set values vary depending on the decade and the products that the company was promoting at the time. A very popular mid-century gift set you can find is a mid-century one filled with travel size colognes.
Other Old Spice Products
There are a myriad of other Old Spice products and containers. Old Spice hair care products, shaving accessories--such as traditional boar's hair shaving brushes--beer steins, sporting goods, advertisements and novelty items, are also collectible. For a more complete list, see Old Spice Collectibles.
How to Date Old Spice Collectibles
In the realm of collectible memorabilia, Old Spice items are relatively easy to find and to date. You can figure out the production period based on the logo as it underwent many documented changes, and you can identify where your items fall in this scale using a number of factors including date and product type. The oldest containers featured images of the ship, the Grand Turk. While this ship did appear continuously until the 1990s, other ships you can find on Old Spice collectibles include the Friendship (introduced in 1941) and Recovery (introduced in 1946) to name a few. In total, all of Old Spice's various vintage containers reflected sixteen different colonial ships. However, if you find a sailboat on the front of an item, then it dates to the 1990s or later as the change was made when Proctor & Gamble acquired the company.
Smell That Old Spice of Money
Although the scent of Old Spice might not be your cup of tea, the old spice of money sure can be. Out of all of the Old Spice products that were manufactured over the years, the most valuable tend to be actual product itself. Things like leftover aftershave or unused soap bars can go for $30-$50 on average. If you're looking for something a little cheaper, non-product items like shaving mugs and cups go for smaller amounts, around $20 usually.
Here are some of these Old Spice collectibles that've recently sold at auction:
The Schooner the Better
Old Spice products aren't going anywhere anytime soon, and while their modern red nautical designs catch the eye of twenty-somethings, their off-white ceramic products and old-school simplicity can't be beat. Vintage collectibles are constantly being rotated throughout the online market, and they're super affordable for even the most casual fan. So, if you're looking for something to spruce up your bachelor bathroom, buy yourself one or two of these vintage Old Spice collectibles.