Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Vintage Handbag

Los Angeles is a mecca for all things vintage, so it’s common to find yourself stopping on the palm tree-lined streets to shamelessly admire an aah-mah-zing Chanel bag as it passes by. A head-turning vintage purse is a worthy investment for so many reasons, but primarily because the most coveted designs often hold their value. Since the world-renowned vintage emporium Resurrection is just down the road from TZR headquarters on Melrose Avenue, we enlisted one of the boutique’s experts to give us the 411 on buying a vintage bag. Marissa Speer has been with the boutique for more than 7 years, so she’s literally seen everything! Here, what you should know before investing.

Everything To Know Before Buying A Vintage Bag

Photo: Adam Katz Sinding

Red Flags To Look For

"Luxury brands will always use quality leather, so expect an even and consistent skin. Red flags include crooked stitching or lettering and gold flaking off the hardware. Dust bags, boxes, and authenticity cards aren't always included, but this doesn't mean the bag is a fake. A few examples of other authenticity markers are Chanel always has a hologram sticker listing the serial number, and for Hermès Birkin bags there is a special stamp embossed into the leather strap."

Coveted Styles Will Get Top Dollar

"The rarest and most coveted bags are the Hermès Kelly and Birkin. For Birkin bags, styles made of exotic skins are the most sought after, while Kelly bags from the 1970s are also constantly in demand."

Only Consider Bags In Good, Excellent or Mint Condition

"Most reputable vintage dealers are highly selective. For example, at Resurrection we only carry bags that are in excellent-to-mint condition. When shopping, we recommend following our standard checklist: Make sure the bag has no stains, tears or rips; that the lining is unstained and intact; and that the hardware has no scratches or tarnishing. The corners can sometimes have slight wear, but that can always be easily fixed."

Beware Of Deals That Are TOO Good

"Always buy from a reputable source and do your research to make sure the seller has an authenticity guarantee. A common mistake is someone buying a bag online for a price that is too good to be true. Usually, it turns out the deal was too good to be true. Most vintage bags will go for around the same price across the board. If you see a Chanel bag for $200, and it is in perfect condition, be wary."