The Boom in Vintage Safety Razor Sales
We struggle to keep up with the demand for vintage safety razors, in many cases as soon as we load a newly arrived razor onto our website it’s sold within hours. Why is this? The fact is Gillette made tremendously good razors from 1903 until as recently as 1998, the build quality was excellent, these razors delivered close, comfortable shaves and they had models for everyone.
Some were very expensive others were very cheap. By contrast, the razors Gillette now makes are cheap, plastic, multi blade monstrosities that exist only for Gillette to milk the cash cow that is the multi-blade cartridge razor blade.
Old school Gillette razors came in a multitude of styles, sizes and finishes.
There were razors with butterfly doors, three piece, two piece, long handle, short handle, travel razors, rhodium, gold, nickel and chrome plated and even all aluminium razors. How times change. In my opinion there’s a few reasons men want to shave with a genuine vintage razor, the main ones being superior build quality, better, closer, more comfortable shaves and men often want a birth year razor (one of the reasons I have a 1957 Flare Tip Rocket which is stamped C2 dating it to the second quarter of 1957).
The most popular vintage safety razors are without a doubt the Fatboy and the Slim, both are adjustable allowing the user to vary the blade gap which in turn dictates the closeness of the shave. Both were only made for a short time which limits their availability and pushes prices up. The Fatboy was only made from 1958-1961 while its successor the Slim was made from 1961 until 1968.
It was a Gillette Slim that Sean Connery used in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger, as a consequence, Slims with a 1964 J date stamp sell for more than any other year. Some Gillette razors are extremely rare such as the ones Gillette made for the armed forces in WW2, the Senator, Aristocrat and a few others that fetch high prices on eBay and from vendors such as Executive Shaving. A Gillette Old Type Luxe Combination Set went for $10,000 US five years ago while a Gillette Cavalier can easily fetch £1,000 or more.
The ones we sell are shave ready, they are either in excellent used, non-restored condition or they have been restored and replated in chrome, gold, rhodium or nickel. All are compatible with new double edge safety razor blades.
It’s not always easy to identify a vintage razor and many razors sold on eBay are wrongly labelled. My advice is to have a look at www.mr-razor.com where you can look at the vast majority of razors Gillette made. There are a few other brands that are just as collectible and good as Gillette, the British made Wilkinson Sword Sticky for example is an absolute joy to use and an all-time design classic and the Hoffritz range too deserves plaudits if you can find one.
If you’re keen to buy a vintage safety razor browse our range here.
Written by Brian Mulreany
Sales Director at The Executive Shaving Company
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