How much is your designer handbag worth?
Handbag investors have become the new art collectors, says leading auction house
A second-hand diamond-encrusted bag has sold for £162,500 in London, becoming the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction in Europe.
The ten-year-old Hermès Birkin bag, “made of Nile crocodile skin and said to be in grade-two condition with no obvious flaws”, according to The Guardian, went under the hammer at Christie’s Auction House yesterday.
Bags of this type “are now some of the most sought-after accessories in the world and have been popularised by high-profile TV shows such as Sex and the City”, says the paper.
The sale is typical of a trend that has seen handbag investors become the new art collectors, according to the auction house.
Rachel Koffsky, handbag and accessories specialist at Christie’s, told The Daily Telegraph that growing demand has meant sales are skyrocketing.
She said: “Last year our handbag sale made £2m and this year it became almost £3m.
“We have two years in a row set the European record for the most valuable bag sold at auction.”
While many may balk at the idea of taking a bag worth over £100,000 out and about on their daily chores, Koffsky insisted the pieces are “wearable works of art” and encourages her investors to use them.
She explained: “Women are now seeing their handbag collections as not only investment opportunities but as an extension of their personalities.”
But how do you know what your designer handbag is worth and which ones are worth investing in?
How do you know how much a handbag is worth?
For prospective sellers or even those who just want to be in the know, Vestiaire Collective uses data from its millions of members to reveal how much designer items might be worth when selling them on.
The online tool works with items by 12 key luxury brands; Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Céline, Balenciaga, Gucci, Prada, Dior, Saint Laurent, Isabel Marant, Valentino and Christian Louboutin.
But if your bag isn’t one of those 12, there’s other ways to tell if you’re sitting on a goldmine.
Rewind Vintage, a company that does valuations in the UK, say that “arguably one of the most important factors in the value of a bag is its make and model”. Each brand has their quality and status level, and specific models, if rarer, “become iconic and therefore all the more covetable, which has a direct correlation on their value”, the company says.
Other than that, the condition and quality of the materials used are also taken into consideration, while “the original box, dust cover, receipt, certificate or other papers that are associated with the authenticity of the handbag will surely add value to it”.
Which bags are worth investing in?
At the moment the handbag market is booming because of the death of the “it-bag” following the recession, says Koffsky.
She explained: “The handbag market as we know it is really a result of the impact trend of the early 2000s which came to an end after the financial recession.
“Instead of buying this month's ‘it’ bag, savvy investors want to purchase a piece that will be iconic in the future, a bag which would be used for decades to come.”
According to Elle Magazine, some of these “iconic” bags worthy of a purchase include the Celine classic box bag, the Chanel flap bag and the Christian Dior Lady Dior bag.
A study in 2016 “found that Birkin bags have performed better than both the American stock market and the price of gold in the last 35 years”. According to the website Baghunter in January 2016, the annual return on a Birkin bag is 14.2%.
In general “bags make the strongest investment by regaining on average of 75% of their original retail value,” Fanny Moizant, co-founder of Vestiaire Collective, told The Telegraph.