The Best Classic Handbags to Invest In Now

With relentless price increases from luxury brands and a growing resale market, the luxury shopping model is changing. Long gone are the days when financial investments were solely boring and sensible purchases like stocks, gold, silver, real estate and so on.

In recent years, high end handbags garnered the attention of wealth advisors, as well as top auction houses known for art and antiquities.  Handbags (in particular Hermès) now comprise a category in the annual Douglas Elliman | Knight Frank Wealth Report. In other words, our treasured accessories are recognized as investments!  Indeed, for the second year in a row, Hermès bags topped Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII). Moreover, according to the KFLII, Hermès bag prices rose 17% in 2020. This despite or because of the pandemic, as online auction (and other reseller) sites facilitated commerce in these bags. 

Photo courtesy of @clairechanelle

There are several different routes to make your money count when buying a luxury bag. For example, ultra rare pieces and trendy new ‘It’ bags often appreciate in value, especially if they remain unused. However, we wanted to look at the best bags to buy and carry if you are looking for classic designs with lasting quality, appeal and value.

We’ve selected some classic bags from Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès and analyzed how their value has changed since first released. We’ve also taken note of present value on the luxury resale market to give you an indication of how much one of these classic styles would be worth if you ever chose to part with it.

Photo courtesy of @lvlovercc

Louis Vuitton

Known for its classic and timeless LV monogram, Louis Vuitton also manages to continuously make this design new.  The countless iterations include a slew of nearly-seasonal highly coveted artist collaborations plus several ‘It’ bags bearing the brand’s name. However, one of the reasons Louis Vuitton manages to remain so popular for so long lies in the long lasting appeal of its classic designs. This ability to repeatedly reinterpret classics helped turn LV into a billion dollar brand. 

In some cases, the appeal of Vuitton’s iconic designs has spanned decades. We take a look at which styles are still enchanting bag lovers – despite increasingly hefty price tags!

Luxury Handbag ModelPrice When Released (USD)Current Price (USD)Approximate Resale Market Value (USD)
LV Speedy$150 (in the 1970s)$1,160$600 - $1,100
LV Neverfull$655$1,540$1,000 - $1,500
Luxury Handbag ModelPrice When Released (USD)Current Price (USD)Approx. Resale Market Value (USD)
LV Speedy$150 (in the 1970s)$1,160$600 - $1,100
LV Neverfull$655$1,540$1,000 - $1,500

Pricing source – lvbagaholic 

Speedy

Perhaps the most known and loved LV bag is the Speedy. Introduced almost a century ago in 1930, the Speedy was Louis Vuitton’s first handbag. At the time, luggage was Vuitton’s bag with LV clearly the trunk maker to the world’s elite. The Speedy, however, marked a new step for the house. Taking inspiration from another LV classic, the Keepall, the Speedy 30 was a smaller version and the first design made for everyday use. It wasn’t until the ‘60s when the Speedy consolidated its status as an ‘It’ bag. After the smaller sized Speedy 25 debuted in 1959 at the request of none other than Audrey Hepburn, the style garnered widespread popularity.

Photo courtesy of @justaddgold

Since then, the bag has been reimagined in a plethora of different materials, colors and sizes. That includes a highly sought-after selection of limited edition versions. However, the bag in classic Monogram canvas remains popular today. Some might even say that no Louis Vuitton collection is complete without a Speedy.

The Speedy’s price has increased fairly regularly since the turn of the millennium. Despite competition from new styles and brands, the Speedy manages to remain in high demand despite rising prices.  This is testament to  – or perhaps the definition of – its status as a true handbag classic.

Photo courtesy of Lovely Pepa.

Similarly, the Speedy commands interest on the resale market. Depending on the condition, the classic Speedy 30 in Monogram canvas typically garners between $600 and $1,100 on the pre-loved market. The Speedy Bandouliere, which comes with a leather strap and was introduced in 2011, often sells for significantly more. 

Neverfull

What the Neverfull lacks in a fanciful backstory, it makes up for with instant lovability and practicality. Released in 2007, the Neverfull quickly became one of LV’s most coveted bags. Similar to the Speedy, it has been reinterpreted in a multitude of color, material and size options. The style is included in just about every artist collaboration with the house since its launch. However, the classic canvas option of the bag remains an LV favorite. And the House certainly understands this. In the 14 years since its debut, the Neverfull’s price has increased by nearly $1,000.

Photo courtesy of @isa.bel_fashion

Despite this stark increase, the Neverfull remains one of the most affordable luxury bags on the market. Its functional tote design along with the continuously sought-after LV Monogram pattern helped it become a big seller on the luxury resale market. Depending on the condition of the bag, prices for the MM (medium) size in Monogram canvas range roughly from $1,000 – $1,500 on resale platforms. With Louis Vuitton’s regular price increases, the Neverfull consistently resells in the thousands. With steady demand, the Neverfull tote-ally deserves to be called a good handbag investment. 

Check out Fashionphile’s selection of pre-loved Neverfulls

Chanel

Chanel caused quite a stir over the last year as it steadily and repeatedly increased prices during the pandemic. Indeed, over the last two decades, Chanel bag price tags skyrocketed. Just by way of example, one PurseBop editor got her first classic flap in 2004 for under $1500. Can you imagine? Yet, high demand for these bags persists.

Chanel flap bags have reached an almost cult-like status since first introduced in the mid 20th century. Coco’s signature flap style inspired countless copies and many quilted bags with chains are deemed Chanel dupes. The design is now considered a staple in any fashionista’s closet. Moreover, Chanel introduced new models that became hot classics, seemingly able to stand the test of time.  For now, we look at the original flap – the 2.55 – and the newer Boy.

Luxury Handbag ModelPrice When Released (USD)Current Price (USD)Approximate Resale Market Value (USD)
Chanel 2.55$220$6,800$4,500 - $6,500
Chanel Medium Boy Bag$3,200$5,300$4,500 - $6,000
Luxury Handbag ModelPrice When Released (USD)Current Price (USD)Approx. Resale Market Value (USD)
Chanel 2.55$220$6,800$4,500 - $6,500
Chanel Medium Boy Bag$3,200$5,300$4,500 - $6,000

Pricing source – Baghunter

Chanel 2.55

Since its launch in 1955, the Chanel 2.55 flap bag has become one of the most beloved bags on the planet. Not surprisingly, this popularity comes with a huge price increase. Designed by Coco Chanel herself, the 2.55 is the original women’s shoulder bag. At the time, ladies handbags were typically structured and hand-carried with a top handle. Chanel’s 2.55 design introduced women to the power of hands-free carry! The laidback and functional style is in keeping with Chanel’s revolutionary design ethos of allowing women to dress comfortably and freely and not be confined by fashion. This remains at the very heart of the house today. For this reason, the Chanel 2.55 is one of the most significant bags in fashion history.

First priced at just $220 when it debuted, the 2.55 bag rose to $1,150 by the ‘90s, according to Baghunter. However, since then the price has risen even more and will now set shoppers back almost $7,000. Over the years, Chanel issued several subtly updated versions of this bag. 

Photo courtesy of @sevenaugust

The bag is one of the most sought-after pieces on the resale market and this is reflected in its resale value. Depending on the size and condition of the bag, prices for a black leather version of the design range between $4,500 and $6,500. With the demand for this iconic Chanel design as promising as ever, the 2.55 appears to be one of the safest handbag investments. 

Check out Fashionphile’s selection of pre-loved Chanel 2.55s

Chanel Boy

The Chanel Boy bag is a relatively recent flap bag release. While its ancestor, the 2.55, paved the way for its popularity and appeal, the Boy bag created its own waves in the fashion world. Designed by Karl Lagerfeld for the house’s fall/winter 2011 collection, the Chanel Boy bag has since become one of the brand’s most popular designs. It returns each season in new and exciting materials and colorways. Lagerfeld named the bag after the polo player Boy Capel, with whom Chanel shared a passionate love affair.

Photo courtesy of Valerii Eidlin.

At just a decade old, the Chanel Boy is the youngest bag on our list but that doesn’t mean it can’t compete as a handbag investment. In the 10 years since its release, the bag’s price rose over $2,000. Demand for the design is so high that Chanel Boys on the resale market often sell for higher than the retail price. Depending on the condition, you can find a medium Boy bag in a black leather for between $4,500 to $6,000. The Chanel Boy is a very good investment as far as handbags go however it’s important to note that the design hasn’t been around that long. Whether the Boy bag will retain its high demand and resale value after its been on the fashion scene for decades, only time will tell. 

Check out Fashionphile’s selection of pre-loved Chanel Boys

Hermès

Perhaps the most prestigious luxury brand of all time, it’s no surprise that Hermès bags are covetable classics. Owning a Hermès bag has a certain cachet, partly because it reflects the ability to get one! With the prices of signature H styles more than doubling in recent decades, it makes a pretty worthwhile investment too! 

Classic materials and colors are typically regarded as the best bet for ensuring the highest price at resale. However, due to the immense popularity of Hermès bags and the notoriously difficult process to bet one, many Hermès designs sell quickly on the resale market with ease. Very often these bags resell for considerably more than their retail price. 

Luxury Handbag ModelPrice When Released (USD)Current Price (USD)Approximate Resale Market Value (USD)
Hermès Birkin$2,000$10,900 (B30)$13,000 - $20,000 (B30)
Hermès Kelly$900 (in the 1950s)$10,700 (K28)$12,000 - $18,000 (K28)
Luxury Handbag ModelPrice When Released (USD)Current Price (USD)Approx. Resale Market Value (USD)
Hermès Birkin$2,000$10,900 (B30)$13,000 - $20,000 (B30)
Hermès Kelly$900 (in the 1950s)$10,700 (K28)$12,000 - $18,000 (K28)

Pricing source – Baghunter

Birkin

There’s no such thing as a sure investment but buying a Birkin bag is just about as close as you can get! A 2016 study by Baghunter revealed that buying a Birkin was a better investment than stocks or gold. It found that over a 35 year period, the price of the famous bag rose by 14.2%, never dropping – those are some good odds! Even more impressively, in 2001 the price increased by an astonishing 25%.

Read: Which Hermès Birkin Size is Best for You?

Photo courtesy of @clairechanelle

The Birkin bag debuted in 1984 and is somewhat of a happy (and very lucrative) accident. British actress Jane Birkin and then Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas met on a flight from Paris to London. Birkin complained that she could never find a bag big enough to fit her possessions. A conversation between the two resulted in Dumas doodling the very first prototype of the Birkin on an airplane sick bag (how chic)! It didn’t take long for the bag to become a cultural phenomenon. Demand was so high, Hermès introduced a waitlist for the bag. The Birkin holds the title of fashion’s ultimate status symbol.

Birkin bags almost have a whole resale market of their own, owing to the style’s clout, exclusivity and subsequent enormous demand. Birkins very often trade for well over their retail value. Depending on the material, color and condition of the bag, a Birkin 30 in a non-exotic leather typically sells on the resale market for anywhere between $13,000 and $20,000.

Check out Fashionphile’s selection of pre-loved Birkins 

Kelly

The Kelly is another jewel in the Hermès crown. The prototype of the Kelly bag dates back to 1892 however the bag was redesigned as the Sac à dépêches in the ‘30s by Monsieur Hermès’ son-in-law, Robert Dumas. The structured and boxy design was strikingly innovative for a handbag at that time. The Kelly became an ‘It’ bag in the ‘50s after Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco used it to shield her pregnancy belly from the paparazzi. In 1977, the bag was named the Kelly in her honor.

Priced at $900 in the ‘50s, the bag has always been expensive, even by luxury industry standards. However, its value has continued to increase for decades, more than allowing for inflation. It has been on the fashion scene for almost a century and enjoyed steady price increases throughout that time. At one point, it was considerably more expensive than the Birkin. For example, in 2000 the Kelly was already $7,400 while the Birkin was (only) $4,000.

Photo courtesy of @colourandbrilliance

Akin to the Birkin, the Kelly face consistently high demand on the resale market. Depending on the material, color and condition of the bag, a Kelly 28 in a non-exotic leather will typically set you back between $12,000 and $18,000 on resale platforms. 

Check out Fashionphile’s selection of pre-loved Kellys

What do you consider the best investment bag? Let us know.

Love, PurseBop
XO

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.