Fancy and figural perfume bottles that once stood in marvelous array atop dressers and skirted vanity tables in the boudoir are very collectible, and certain desirable examples are worth plenty of dollars and "scents."
Among the most fascinating are those displaying the figure of a boy and embossed with the name Charley Ross, produced in the 1880s of clear glass in various sizes. Thus far, four types are known. They were a memento of what is believed to have been the first kidnapping for ransom in America, on July 1, 1874, when four-year-old Charles Brewster Ross was snatched while playing with his brother in their yard in Germantown, Pennsylvania.
Two strangers drove up in a horse-drawn buggy and offered the boys candy and a ride. During the ride, the men sent the older boy into a store to buy fireworks, then took off with Charley. Later, Charley's father, who owned a grocery store, received a ransom note, but he refused to pay.
The news of the kidnapping caused a nationwide upheaval, and although Charley's father offered a $5,000 reward, the case remained unsolved. The bottles with Charley's picture were to remind the public to keep searching for the poor little tyke, who never was found. Needless to say, bottle collectors would offer a reward for such bottles today.