The secondhand market for designer handbags has sky-rocketed in recent years. The market is driven by buyer’s demand, as more and more people are getting clued up on the benefits of buying second-hand designer goods. There are a number of reasons that pre-loved is more popular than ever, not least with the rise in demand for ‘sustainable fashion’ rather than fast fashion.
The best bags for resale and investment purposes are Chanel and Hermès who rely heavily on brand heritage. The most popular bags from these houses, (the Chanel 2.55 flap bag, the Hermès Birkin, Kelly and Constance bags) have been in constant production for decades. These bags are usually the safest bet for those looking to invest in handbags and, kept properly and in good condition, should yield the highest returns.
One of the main reasons that these bags increase in price on the second-hand market is that the houses themselves continually increase their retail prices. The Hermès Birkin, for example, has increased 500% in price over the last 35 years. In fact, the Birkin is set to double in price over the next decade with the market been particularly buoyant, making it a safer opportunity than many standard investments. Much of that is down to the difficulty many people face in getting their hands on a brand new one. The famous ‘waiting list’ for the Birkin or Kelly no longer exists and has been replaced by a far trickier system, that is best described as ‘you’ll only get one, if Hermès wants you to have one’. If you aren’t well-known to, or well-liked by your Hermès boutique manager, it is unlikely you will ever be allowed to buy one new. It’s the same with Ferrari, where you are “chosen” to purchase their very best vehicles.
Buying second-hand levels the playing field; that is if you are lucky enough to be able to afford the five (and sometimes six) figure price tag. Many of these bags are brand new, or at least never used, and will have been purchased by canny Hermès shoppers who know that they will often make a profit on their bags by putting them on the open market.
We offered an Hermès Gris Tourterelle Clemence Kelly Retourne 32, in 2018 which was bought in 2007 from Hermès, Paris for €4,200. We sold the bag 11 years later for £7,300 despite there being some small signs of wear – the client nearly doubled there money!
An Hermès Black Togo Birkin 35, sold in May this year for £4,500 including premium. Birkins in 2003 cost around £3,500 and this one has been well used
And for Chanel, we had a Chanel Jumbo Flap Bag sell for £3,000 including premium last year. In 2010, Birkins retailed for £1,900
Stick to Chanel and Hermès
Buy classic styles, rather than limited editions
Look after them. Keep the original dustbag and box. Try not to spill anything on it!