Luxury Handbags as Collectible Investments
Most women who buy luxury handbags, like Hermès and Chanel, do so out of genuine love for the bags’ exceptional style and quality craftsmanship. Generally, most have a good idea of their favorite bags' value, which plays a role in their purchasing decision. Knowing that the Birkin bag they wear has become scarce and is highly coveted adds a thrill to the day.
Some collectors, however, prioritize the growing resale value of designer bags, making their choices based not on their favorite color, leather, size, or style but instead as an investment handbag. The last 40 years have seen the best investment handbags increase in value at a better rate than the stock market, and investors are taking note. Let’s look at what makes these luxury handbags worth investing in.
Chanel and Hermès are the Best Investment Handbags
Undoubtedly, those who invest in handbags have a passion for these exquisite creations. They are also making clear-eyed calculations based on each bag’s potential increase in monetary value before they buy.
Credit Suisse and Deloitte conducted joint research on collectibles as investments and published a report with eye-opening statistics. In 2020, they found that on average, luxury watches and fine jewelry realized “moderate single digit returns.” In the same year, Chanel handbags rose 11.8%, while Hermès Birkin bags increased by a staggering 38%. Meanwhile, the Dow gained 7.2%, and the S&P climbed 16.3% over the same year.
2020 was not an outlier for investment handbags’ spectacular gains. Although percentage value gains will fluctuate yearly, and some bags appreciate more quickly than others, the trends are relatively consistent.
For instance, in 2016, a study by Baghunter reported that from 1981 to 2016, Hermès Birkin bag investments outperformed both S&P 500 stocks and gold. Credit Suisse and Deloitte note that luxury handbags can be classified as “store of value assets” characterized by low risk and low volatility. While coveted colors, changing fashions, and new releases may impact on the value of even the best investment handbags, these are not paramount concerns. Instead, per Credit Suisse and Deloitte, “condition and authenticity are the most immediate risks that collectors need to assess.”
Those who invest in handbags represent all ages and come from all over the world. Some are buying their first luxury handbag to celebrate a personal achievement, while others are seasoned collectors with 50 bags or more. Some are hunting the largest payoffs from the rarest and most expensive bags. Still others are choosing small Hermès bags in neutral colors to build their collectible portfolio.
Hermès Bags as Investment
It’s no surprise that Hermès bags top most lists of the best investment handbags. The Hermès strategy of limited production drives up demand and, therefore, the price of their bags.
Customers cannot simply buy the bag they want from an Hermès boutique. Buying an Hermès bag from the design house requires an extensive dance involving multiple, typically non-leather purchases before earning the right to buy a Birkin. This unusual marketing has created an international sensation, sending bag prices soaring.
Which are the Best Hermès bags for Investment?
Hermès Kelly bags and Birkins top the list. According to Art Market Research (AMR), from 2010 to 2020, Birkin bags have increased in value by 5.7%, on average. When you take into account the sharp increase in value since 2018, the compound annual growth rate is nearly 8%.
For years, Kelly bags have been less expensive than Birkins however, their values have risen more sharply. Today, Kellys and Birkins see similar value increases. Hermès exotic skin bags and particularly rare or unique bags consistently fetch the highest resale prices. Hermès special order (HSS) bags are customized by brand VIPs, so they are quite scarce — holding and increasing in value well. Some HSS bags, like the treasured Hermès Birkin Faubourg in black or white, are on every collector’s wish list. Introduced at $30,000, they now sell for over $250,000.
While most Hermès investment handbags maintained in pristine condition grow in value, those most coveted by investors include Himalaya Birkins and Kellys, particularly those with diamond-encrusted hardware. Extremely rare pieces like the Picnic Kelly are always cherished. Limited edition bags like the Dalmatian series, the Jean Paul Gaultier SO BLACK series or the Jean-Louis Dumas-designed Hermès "Quelle Idolle" Kelly Doll are also highly sought-after.
Chanel Bags as Investment
Chanel bags, particularly the Boy bag and the Classic Flap bag, have long been considered must-haves for fashionable women worldwide. Investors agree, clearly viewing Chanel among the best investment handbags. In 2021, Chanel bag investments realized returns of 24.5%. Credit Suisse and Deloitte characterize the soaring Chanel values as “likely boosted by the scarcity of Lagerfeld-designed bags.”
Inspired by the success of Hermès’ scarcity strategy, Chanel has raised prices and cut production on their most popular bag, the Chanel Flap bag. Soaring company revenue indicates this approach is already paying rich dividends. And this is expected to cause Chanel bag investments to grow.
Since his death in 2019, Karl Lagerfeld’s Flap bags have rocketed in value, and this trend is expected to continue. Rare Chanel bags are always of particular interest to investors, particularly the limited-edition “Métiers d’Art” clutches. The charming Métiers d’Art Paris-Shanghai Black Lucite Matryoshka evening bag remains one of the most coveted Chanel bags.
Care for Investment Handbags
Those who invest in handbags know they must maintain them in pristine condition to realize the greatest returns. They carefully choose a piece of wearable art, committed to never wearing it. Instead, they store their investment handbags in climate-controlled conditions to maintain the bag’s pristine condition. Yet they are passionate about the extraordinary craftsmanship of the bags they invest in.
Luxury Handbags for Fashion or Investment
The most essential qualities for investment handbags are authenticity and condition. When you shop with Madison Avenue Couture, both are guaranteed. Explore our curated collection of the finest handbags by Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Goyard. Each is in stock and available for shipment within 24 hours.