Quality and Value 

The important factor influencing your collectible vintage bag's price depends on its value based on specific features outlined below. 

Note that a collectible vintage handbag with a provenance (documented history of its origin and ownership) is more valuable than an ordinary, mass-produced handbag without history or story. Such documented provenance may include an original marketing ad, or a purchase receipt with the name of the store, the date of purchase and the original price. The provenance usually increases the selling price of a collectible. Unlike a work of fine art, however, a vintage handbag stamped by the name of a previous owner is actually less valuable than an unmarked piece, unless it belonged to a celebrity or a dignitary.

MORE VALUABLE FEATURES

 

​Genuine skin

Authentic vintage

Original vintage

Fine collectible

Rare, unusual piece (design and features)

Signed by a recognized designer, or maker

Documented provenance

No name of a previous owner

Excellent original condition

Rare color

Black

Oversized or miniature

Crocodile/alligator skin

Crocodile/alligator/caiman skin

Crocodile/alligator skin

Underbelly skin

Belly cut

Symmetrical central cut (pattern cut)

Whole, single skins

Suede or leather-lined (day handbags)

Satin or moire-lined (evening bags)

Original handle

Structural, padded handle

Skin-covered frame

Skin gussets

Skin bottom

Protective rivets on the bottom

Metal zippers

Original condition

Acquired from a specialist

LESS VALUABLE FEATURES

​​Embossed leather or vinyl

Recent (after '80s), mass-produced

Altered vintage

Casual handbag for everyday use

Common, mass-produced vintage

Unsigned

No provenance

Stamped with the name of an owner

Lesser condition

More common black or brown color

Brown

Common medium-or small-sized

Caiman 

Lizard skin

Turtle skin

Hornback skin

Tail or flank cuts

Outside-the-pattern cut

Patched skins

Leatherette or fabric-lined (day handbags)

Faille or fabric-lined (evening bags)

Replaced handle

Soft, unstructured handle

Metal frame

Embossed leather gussets

Embossed leather bottom

Bottom with no protective feet

Plastic zippers

Refurbished or repaired condition

Acquired from a general dealer

 

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