Chanel flap appreciation... but still not an investment.
by Maura Carlin, PurseBop Editor
You always remember your first. In this instance, it’s far from a memory. It’s in my closet. And for no discernable reason, it rarely gets out. Yet, as I recently learned, it’s now more valuable. The item: my medium Chanel black quilted lambskin Classic Flap with gold hardware.
Purchased in late 2004 (it’s actually a 2005 model) for a special event, it was a major splurge (for me). My local Saks had just opened a Chanel boutique and the bag likely was one of the first Chanel sales for them. At the time, Chanel had slightly different names for the sizes (as well as some numbers) and I had to wait for the medium equivalent which I think was then called small/medium. Fortunately, it arrived in time. Beautiful as expected . . . a handbag I had long coveted.
You’re probably wondering just how much this cost at the time. After all, given Chanel’s huge price increases this decade, anything I paid had to be a bargain compared to the current cost. And, certainly, it is. So sit down. It was either $1295 or $1395 before tax.
Now that you’ve caught your breath, chastised yourself for not buying long ago, etc . . . Here’s the real story. For as much as we write about the value of our handbag collections, I personally do not see it as an investment. Of course, I do not have, nor am I referring to, a coterie of coveted hard-to-get Hermès bags. But even for the few Chanel bags I have owned, never have I netted more than I paid upon rehoming. Rather, it’s typically been a losing proposition, particularly when the reseller takes a substantial cut. Nevertheless, these bags did hold value better than most other items leaving my wardrobe.
Until now. While redoing (and thus emptying) my closet, I took a moment to visit my Classic Flap. Only used once or twice, it remains in triple-mint condition and really is stunning. Recall that Chanel used 24 carat gold plating in its hardware until around 2008, so the quality of this bag is amazing. And then curiosity got the better of me.
Wondering what I could garner if I sold the bag, I approached a reputable luxury reseller for a buy-out estimate. If ever there was any time to strike while the iron is hot, it’s now. The retail price for the Medium Classic Flap just spiked to $8800.
Drum roll please… I was offered $6000 cash. Paid immediately. For a prospective buyer, a Chanel flap for that amount probably sounds like a steal. At the boutique, that bag now costs $2800 more. However, it also is $4600 more than I paid.
On the other hand, is it really a worthy financial investment? It certainly won’t fund any retirement! Or even another Chanel handbag. Nor does it compare to what would have happened if invested in the financial markets. In fact, had I put that $1400 in the S&P 500 on December 1, 2004, it would now be worth around $8000. Moreover, had I purchased $1400 of Apple stock on December 1, 2004, that stock would now be valued at around $255,000.
So, I now can say I was offered more for a bag than I paid. That’s something. My flap clearly has retained value unlike most old, used items. But, It’s still difficult to see it qualify as an “investment” or at least not a good one. Just think of what that Apple stock would now afford!
I am certain, however, that I still love this bag – even if it sits in the back of my closet. And it most definitely is not for sale.
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