Just now there is a big popular movement towards traditional double edged wet shaving. Every vendor I speak to who serves this market is rushed off their feet. Items in current manufacture, like Merkur razors, can often be difficult to get hold of. Business is booming.
Most people who take up real shaving will be happy with the minimum of equipment. Say an Edwin Jagger DE89L, a Vulfix 404 brush, some Taylors of Old Bond Street avocado shaving cream and some Personna blades from the local supermarket. But others will want to explore the rich variety that real shaving provides and then they start collecting. Brushes, creams, blades and, especially razors.
So with real shaving booming and a good percentage of its adherents wanting to own a few nice razors there is increasing pressure on the supply of old, classic razors. And that demand is pushing prices up fast. And the rarer the razor the faster the price is going up. So whilst a Flare Tip Super Speed is appreciating nicely a Fatboy is appreciating even faster and the price of a Gillette Toggle adjustable is rocketing. Eclipse Red Ring prices seem to have doubled in the last month. And the main market for these razors is eBay, where prices going into the hundreds of dollars are not that uncommon.
So now we come to The Razor Emporium and their current auction for a Gillette Old Type De Luxe Safety Razor Combination Set with a start price of $10,000. This is a rare and beautiful thing but is not really suitable for everyday shaving, it belongs in a museum. If you want a more useable razor then how about this 1905 Gillette Double Ring for just $600? Or this lovely Darwin for just £250. Or this Gillette Cavalier that went for $746.
But eBay isn’t the only market, there are antique fairs, car boot sales, charity shops etc. And in these markets the prices are often still a long way behind eBay, the problem is that you have to do all the hard work yourself and most times you end up with nothing. However last weekend I got lucky twice. An English rhodium plated Gillette Aristocrat in nearly new condition was mine at an antiques fair for just £20 including a brush travel tube and a vintage brass razor case I bought from the same vendor. Then on to a car boot sale that has been useless for me in the past and I found a Gillette Fat Boy and a Gillette black handled TTO at the same vendor. £3 for the pair of them. I didn’t even haggle.
So it seems that there are two routes you can take when building your razor collection. You can press the buttons and bid on eBay, competing against everyone else who wants these hard to get razors. Or you can do the soul destroying hard work and track round endless secondhand markets in the hope of turning up the occasional gem. Of course you have to have a bit of an idea what you are looking for and Mr Razor is probably the best photo guide we have.
Whichever route you go down, enjoy. And happy hunting.
Update on that Aristocrat I bought. It has been positively identified as a 1953 Gillette #66 Aristocrat Coronation model.
There’s great value to be had on the trading sections of shaving forums. Most enthusiasts don’t try to rip each other off!
Very true Peter, thank you. I have bought several razors from America, from members of Badger and Blade, in this way. Far more gentlemanly than well known auction sites and no commission.
The Razor Emporium auction is an outlier, and there’s some serious question about how reliable a seller they are.
There are still plenty of old school razors available at very moderate prices, though you may need to do some searching to find them. If you go to eBay and bid blindly, you will probably spend too much.
And, unfortunately, the Feather Portable (double edge) razor will likely soon be gone. They haven’t been made in many years, and old stock supplies are very limited now, unless some new seller shows up.
I have bought a couple of razors from Razor Emporium that was either of poor quality or was not what was described. So be careful and review closely when you recieve your item.
Not sure if this is the appropriate place to ask this question but perhaps someone can help. I have a Gillette Aristocrat Rhodium plated razor set. It is Pat. No. 430030 which I believe is a 1948 model #21. It is in the origional case, never used, has holder with origional blades, “Directions for Use” and is in extremely good condition (no plating damage). First can you tell me if the model # and year are correct? Secondly I am thinking about selling it and have no idea where to sell it or how much to ask. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated…Thank You
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