Are luxury handbags a good investment?
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When you think of investments, what springs to mind? Stocks, shares, the S&P, and…Chanel?
If you think that last bit belongs more to High Street than Wall Street, think again, because the two are merging more than ever. We understand gold, silver, watches, and jewelry can all be fixed assets with steady or even accruing values, but we rarely think of fashion items such as handbags that way.
Yet maybe we should, with some claiming that a few handbags outstripping stocks in value. Too often we view the world of investing as cold, rational, “masculine,” but that dated view is so mid-50s, while the Chanel 1955 handbag values are soaring , so much so it has out-earned certain S&P stocks over the past years.
Still, while there’s no denying handbags are interesting stuff investment-wise right now, is there substance to match that style, or is it all, like so many fashions, a mere fad?
Let’s be honest, handbags are hardly the first novelty item to gain such prominence. Classic cars, baseball cards, vintage wine and whisky, first-edition books and comics, artist-signed works of art – they can all fetch enormous sums at auctions and be “better investments” than your average penny stock. What’s new about handbags is, in a sense, less economic than gender-based – after decades of men bidding on the coolest collector’s items, we finally have a women’s accessory that has ascended to the pantheon of being “valuable” on par with stocks and big-time wealth.
Make no mistake, they’re every bit as valuable as those other items, and maybe even more so. As noted in Forbes, handbags from big-time brands such as Chanel, Hermès, and Louis Vuitton have seen an enormous spike in valuation (83%) over the past decade, contrasted with the rate of increase for things such as coins (21%) and watches (72%). More than 3,500 designer handbag auctions in 2019 fetched a grand total of a spectacular $32.9 million.
That’s better than plenty of stocks – and more stylish to boot.
The biggest winner? A white Birkin Himalaya Crocodile Diamond handbag, which was auctioned a few years earlier for more than $379,000.
Finally, while stocks are notoriously volatile (especially in times of turmoil) handbags are fixed assets. As long as it remains in good condition, your ultra-chic handbag will likely retain its value tomorrow. In fact, if trends continue, its valuation may grow.
Of course, not every handbag is a Chanel 1955. Besides an elite handful of handbags and makers , it’s highly unlikely most handbags will ever become such a vaunted valuable asset, let alone wealthy enough to outperform major stocks.
Handbags’ fixed asset status can also backfire – all it takes is one fire, burglar, or even an unfortunate spill or cut to severely damage the value of your precious bag.
What’s more, as any fashion lover knows, fashions change, and while handbags and makers such as those mentioned will likely be valued, it could still fluctuate.
Finally, beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but value is in that of the authenticator. There are plenty of real-looking fake marquee handbags out there, so unless you can get it authenticated , you’re taking an enormous risk.
As we do not pretend to hold the answer, we will leave the summery to you.
What do you think, are handbags a viable option or a risky endeavor?
Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.