How vintage handbags like Rosmah Mansor’s seized goods can be a wise investment

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Photo: YouTube screengrab

Rosmah Mansor’s 284 boxes of luxury handbags are worth a small fortune. The market for pre-owned designer and vintage handbags is doing well, even in the time of economic uncertainty. This is because independent online resellers are making it happen.

The public found out that the wife of Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had a surprising stash of designer handbags, most of them being Hermès Birkin bags, now taken from their residence in Kuala Lumpur.

Had she been able to sell them, they could have fetched millions of dollars, based on how old the bags are, and the state they’re in.

The price of Hermès Birkin bags has gone up each year at an average rate of 14.2 percent in the last three and a half decades, and are all in the five figure range.

The crown jewel of all Birkin bags was sold at an auction at Christie’s in London for £125,000. Adorned with 18-carat diamonds and white gold, the bag is made of blue crocodile skin.

Even the most basic of Birkin bags appreciate in value as time goes on. Sarah Davis from Fashionphile Outlet, one of the first participants in the luxury vintage and second hand market, bought a Birkin bag for US $4500 in 2002. Today, the bag is now worth at least US $12,000.

The scarcity of bags from Hermès are also the reason for their high resale value. Only the very wealthy or famous can buy a high end Hermès bag by walking into one of their boutiques. The brand has a very long waiting list, and some aficionados can wait for up to six years to own one.

While vintage bags are usually those that are twenty years or older, nowadays bags that are at least ten years old are beginning to be considered as vintage. Usually, the older a bag is, the greater the guarantee is that it’s authentic. Experts say that bags from the ‘40s to the ‘60s tend more to be the real thing, as there were hardly any counterfeits during that time.

Buyers should also make sure that the online shops they purchase from are authenticated by experts such as Carol Diva, and are recognized by known sites such as PayPal or Ebay.

Experts says that Japanese resellers are known to deal in authentic luxury bags which are in good condition. Since the Japanese were big consumers of luxury items in the ‘80s and ‘90s, it’s no surprise that a great many are bought online from Japanese stores. Too bad, though, that many of them do not have websites that operate in English.

Aside from Hermès bags, vintage Chanel bags are also in demand, and fetch a good price, usually thousands of dollars. Dior, Murakami, Givenchy and of course, Louis Vuitton, are also brands that are desired by collectors, since these brands tend to appreciate in price.