Luxury High-Value Handbags | News | Brit

Does your bag have the right level of protection?

When it comes to making a fashion statement, the world of luxury designer handbags has something for everyone. In the last decade, the market for collectable designer handbags as investment pieces has grown steadily, and owners might not have considered how the value of the bags in their collection has changed over time.


What are the key brands collectors consider?

The average enthusiast might have dozens of bags from a variety of different design and fashion houses around the world as part of their collection. Different people will have a personal preference, but a few classic names always attract interest and make for a good investment.


Country of origin: France
Year established: 1837
Most desirable bags: The Kelly bag, the Birkin Bag

Bagparalax Hermes

Did you know?

The famous Birkin bag was named after the English actress Jane Birkin, after a chance meeting on a plane with Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas. During the flight, she complained that she found it difficult to find a well-sized, stylish leather bag that would carry everything that she would need for a weekend away. Dumas took her feedback and the subsequent Birkin bag remains one of the brand’s most enduring pieces since its launch in the mid-80s.


Country of origin: France
Year established: 1910
Most desirable bags: Chanel 2.55, Chanel Classic

Gettyimages 917888624

Did you know?

The famous Chanel 2.55 was designed by Gabrielle Chanel and named for its month and year of creation; February 1955. At the time, the incorporation of a shoulder strap onto a luxury bag was revolutionary, if not controversial, as it wasn't deemed acceptable for ladies of high social status to carry a bag on their shoulders.

Louis Vuitton

Country of origin: France
Year established: 1854
Most desirable bags: The Speedy, The Alma, The Neverfull

Bagparalax Vuitton

Did you know?

The art-deco inspired Alma was originally released in 1934. The design was based on a one-off custom piece made for Coco Chanel almost a decade earlier. Since it became available to the public, the Alma has undergone many iterations, being the bag of choice for style icons ranging from Jackie Kennedy to Kim Kardashian.


Country of origin: Italy
Year established: 1913
Most desirable bags: The Cleo Bag, The Classic Prada Handbag, the Prada Galleria

Bagparalax Prada

Did you know?

One of Prada’s most iconic bag designs is the Galleria. It was originally released in 2007 and takes its name from Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – the location of founder Mario Prada’s first Milan store which opened in 1913. Each bag is formed of 83 different pieces, assembled by hand. On average it takes an experienced artisan half a day to assemble the body of a Galleria.


Country of origin: France
Year established: 1946
Most desirable bags: Lady Dior Bag, Dior Saddle Bag, Dior Diorissimo Bag

Bagparalax Dior

Did you know?

In 1995, Princess Diana was gifted a black Dior handbag originally known as the “Chouchou” by the French First Lady during the Cézanne Art Exhibition in Paris. Diana was so taken with the elegant design of the bag; she ordered one in every colour. The association between the bag and Princess Diana led to it becoming renamed as the Lady Dior Bag and is still one of the most iconic pieces from the much-loved fashion house.

The appeal of luxury handbags

One of the most appealing aspects of investing in a luxury, designer bag is that you can put your money into something that is both enjoyable and functional. A luxury handbag is a tangible object you have the option to use day to day or just for very special occasions.

The exclusivity of handbags made by highly regarded fashion houses from high-end materials, means they can become highly desirable objects. With lots of designers to choose from, picking an investment piece can be an extension of your style and personality.

Like our previous piece on high-end watches, the right handbag can be used as a statement of status where you can align with specific brands and designers.


Market value

Collectors eyeing a new purchase will start by building their understanding of what the going rate is for their desired piece. Like many different types of investment, prices can fluctuate up and down. Some of the specialist online platforms like Rebag, Fashionphile, and Cudoni are good places to see the prices people are paying for specific bags and designers in real-time. If a deal seems too good to be true, then you’re best to steer clear


Determining the value of a handbag

Like any investment item, collectors are likely to have undertaken a valuation to ensure they’re in possession of a well-kept bag.

If you were to bring a luxury handbag for a proper assessment, the areas that would be examined would include the following:
• The condition of the internal fabric
• The condition of the leather
• Hardware/buckles and metalwork condition
• Stitching, seams, and any relevant thread work
• Brand
• Age
• Scarcity of the style/demand for the bag
• Level of craftmanship
• If the bag has relevant receipts and authenticators

A professional will evaluate all these elements together, using them as a guide when working on assigning a value for a specific bag.

Values can change over time

When it comes to putting a price on a complete bag collection, it’s crucial to understand how the prices of some individual pieces can change over time. Headlines from the Luxury Bags Index, as compiled by the Collector Square platform, reveal some interesting facts about the values of some of the most desired handbags in the market:

- Hermès Birkin: The average price has multiplied by 3 in the last 11 years.
- Hermès Constance: The average price has multiplied by 10 in the last 10 years.
- Chanel 2.55: The average price has increased by 70% in the last 6 years.


The secondary market for luxury handbags

As some exclusive brands are so highly sought after, many people find themselves on waiting lists when attempting to buy a specific bag. This has helped to drive interest in the secondary market, where collectors can track down special pieces they’ve been searching for. If they buy a bag that’s hot on the market, they’ll have the additional benefit of putting their money against an asset that will grow in value over time.

Knowledge is power in the secondary handbag market. The buyer needs to be well informed to ensure they're buying genuine items. Any buyers who are in the consideration phase will have researched the type of bag they're planning to purchase and will have likely consulted online forums and blogs to ensure they know how to spot a fake, or know how to look for tell-tale signs of spotting one.

A reputable seller like Sotheby’s auction house in London indicates the scale of the market and reassures buyers that all the appropriate checks and authentications have been carried out before anything goes on sale.

In an industry where authentication is key, embracing technological advances is only natural. A number of fashion brands have started to produce NFTs to verify the provenance of their products. This is particularly useful when purchasing from the secondary market.


Speak to Brit about protection

There is an expansive audience for investing in luxury handbags, both across those who buy brand new and the secondary market.

Those who have invested in specific brands and pieces might find that the value of their luxury bags can fluctuate over time: this has implications from an insurance perspective.

Tara Parchment, Head of Private Clients gives her perspective on the importance of discussing this with your clients:

We have seen the value of designer handbags increase significantly over the last decade, often elevating them from an item of general contents to a valuable collectable, which may benefit from being specified on your client’s schedule. As well as avoiding a situation of under insurance, this would also provide wider cover in the event of a loss or damage. At Brit, we understand the value of a beautiful, luxury handbag is greater than just the monetary value, and provide coverage and risk management advice that truly gives you and your clients peace of mind.

Tara Parchment Head of Private Clients

To find out how Brit can help you with protection for your client's luxury bag collections, get in touch with our Private Client team today.