A Favorite Thing

By Sherry — I’m melting in the summer heat

I originally wrote about this on my SherryHarrisauthor.com website a couple of years ago. But I was dusting today and thought maybe you all would like this story too.

One day when I was wandering around an antique store in Concord, Massachusetts I found the beautiful little jar below. I loved it for two reasons — it was blue and white and it said Boston on it. I knew I would live in the area forever and thought it would be a wonderful keepsake.

IMG_2667This side of the jar reads: MAGDA TOILET CREAM, C.J. Countie G CR, CHEMISTS, BOSTON, U.A. — other jars say USA but the S on mine has disappeared.

I decided to use the jar in the third book of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries , All Murders Final. I wanted to find out more about the jar so I did some research (thank you Google). Boy, was I surprised! There was a jar similar to mine on Etsy and the seller provided a lot of information — you can view the full post here. I had always thought the lid said Counti of Boston with a little extra flourish by the word “Counti”. In reality Countie is the family name of the company that manufactured Magda Toilet Cream. Here’s a picture of the lid:

IMG_2669 The Esty site provided this information: One of the Countie family members was kind enough to contact me and offer more information about this beautiful jar. Here’s what she told me:

‘My Grandfather Francis’ two Uncle’s John and Charles started this business in the late 1800’s. They called it MAGDA toilet cream. They were Chemists in the beauty business and developed this wonderful cream. Beacause it was in such demand, Cheeseborough Company, which is now Pond’s bought the formula and called it Pond’s Cold Cream. They used the porcelain jar back in those days because of it’s lower cost. Pond’s Cold Cream

IMG_2670This reads: Ah, Exquisite Communion of rare blossoms (Isn’t that so perfect?)

IMG_2671And this one reads: A dainty luxury for me skin. (I love that!)

I’ve done some more research since I wrote the first post.

The National Museum of American History has one, but it’s not currently on display. Click here for the link.

There are eight jars for sale on eBay and range in price from $26.75 to $199.00. I paid $10 for mine. (I’m almost tempted to by another one!)

There are two for sale on Esty. Both are around $150.00.

Most sites date these from the mid to late 1800s to the early 1900s.

Readers: What small thing do you have that you treasure?

25 thoughts on “A Favorite Thing

  1. I love that jar, Sherry! I own several old pieces that come from my grandparents’ farm. A mantle clock that no longer runs. A stoneware crock that I remember was under the basement steps and covered in cobwebs. A blue and white plate. A cow and bucket creamer and sugar bowl set. All things I remember from my childhood and managed to snag for myself when the farm was sold. And all things that I treasure deeply.

    • Nesting is one of my favorite shops in Concord! I own several things from there. When I live in Bedford there were two other shops on a side street off Main Street. I think i bought the jar at one of them. Go have breakfast at Helens for me. It was our favorite.

  2. That’s very cool you did the research, Sherry. I have a porcelain jar with a lid that I think is an apothecary jar. It’s nearly a foot tall and my grandparents had several of them. I just tried to do a bit of research and struck out! Must persevere. It has a portrait of Hippocrates on it and the words (medical abbreviations?) FOL: COCHL: under his picture, plus a bunch of ornate gilt. I don’t keep anything in it but I love having it..

  3. Loved this, Sherry! I buy (on impulse) and toss moisturizers, etc. on a regular basis because none of them seems to work that well for me. Maybe if they came in a pretty jar like this I’d think twice about investing in all those new products. Or at least I’d have something whimsical to keep!

  4. I collect antique powder compacts. Some of them absolutely lovely and some are touristy. I love them all, but I think my favorite is a green enamel one with green (emerald like) stones on top. It was very impractical, but so pretty!

  5. I treasure a small straw man a d basket that was given me by a Mexican artisan because I have him an idea for a piece of work. It is better and falling apart but I remember the incident.

  6. I love the story and the jar! I have several old powder containers, including the power puffs from my great aunt, great grandmother and my grandmother, along with other special sweet things from them, including jewelry,embroideries, tatting’s.aprons, cookbooks etc. I collect all kinds of old things.

      • I do find most people really do not think of the powder puffs..lol, but gosh I love them!

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