Beginner's guide to buying vintage designer handbags

July 22, 2014

Beginner's guide to buying vintage designer handbags

Vintage designer handbags are coveted in the fashion world because they are a timeless piece of history and a valuable piece of fashion. It’s like wearing a part of history that lived to tell a story. All vintage lovers know that owning a valuable gem feels like pure luxury. And if you are a vintage newbie, you’ve just landed at the right place. Follow these tips on how to shop for your vintage designer bag.


1. Do your Research

Before setting out for your first purchase, doing some research would give you some guidance on what to expect, what’s a fair price to pay and how to tell if a bag is authentic. More often than not, vintage designer bags are less expensive than new ones. Handbags aged 10 years or more are usually considered vintage. Always be sure to buy from trusted and reliable sources, making sure the seller will stand behind their guarantee of authenticity. 

2. Authenticity

Although it is important to incorporate price into your purchase, cheaper does not necessarily be better. Always do your research in making sure what you are buying is authentic. Look out for the serial number, authenticity card, dust bag and original packaging. There is a lot to say on this, so stay tuned – we’ll be doing a piece on Vintage Chanel very soon.

3. Price

Do not always assume that vintage has to be outrageously priced. The cost of the vintage bag can vary widely depending on other factors such as design, material, condition, and age.

4. Condition

Minor wear and tear on vintage bags are unavoidable; after all, you are buying a pre-owned item. In some ways, this adds character to that one-of-a-kind piece, but you still want a bag that holds their shape well and is a good representation of its original quality. If you do end up finding a vintage bag that you just can't live without but looks fairly tired, be sure the price reflects that. You can always bring it to a leather specialist or the boutique for a full restoration. However, this could result in a change in texture of the leather and is especially true for lambskin. Here at Vintage District, we personally think that you will be better off paying a little extra for a bag in good condition.

5. Age and Rarity

Apart from the condition, age and rarity also determine the price. Vintage items produced during times of scarcity tend to be more expensive than during times when materials were readily available to designers. Limited edition pieces tend to fetch higher prices, as you won’t see these around very often. The quality, workmanship and materials of vintage designer bags are excellent. You would never be able to tell the age of a well looked after vintage designer bag.

6. Materials

Not only are you paying for an iconic design; you are paying for the quality of the materials. The quality and materials used gives aged designer bags its vintage status. Exotic leather such as alligator, lizard, ostrich and snakeskin bags tend to fetch a higher price tag because they are indeed rare and more expensive than other materials used in handbag production.

A piece of advice? Don't hesitate when it comes to that one-of-a-kind piece because you may never see that same bag again and you'll be left pining for that must have bag in your sleep. From Hermes to Chanel each one is unique, and if once you get vintage, you may never go back to buying new again! 

How to shop for designer vintage bags

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