5 Valuable Vintage Donney & Bourke Purses Collectors Covet

These valuable vintage Dooney & Bourke bags prove that leather never goes out of style.

Published March 18, 2024
Vintage Dooney & Bourke doctor's bag

If you were around in the late 2000s, you probably remember every middle-class girl from your university’s obsession with Fossil purses and watches. But Dooney & Bourke was nailing leather accessory goods a decade before. While they’re not quite the mainstay they were in the 1990s, these vintage Dooney & Bourke purses are a testament to how subdued fashion never goes out of style.

5 Vintage Dooney & Bourke Purses

Dooney & Bourke captures the easy, understated luxury of the 1980s and 1990s that doesn’t get as much attention as it should. Their leather bags and wallets were all the rage for young adult Gen Xers, selling for $200-$300 at the time. Now, 30-40 years later, these vintage Dooney & Bourke bags are doing just as well on the resell market as when they were first shipped to the flagship storefronts.

Valuable Vintage Dooney & Bourke Purses Recent Sales Prices
Doris Day's Crossbody & Wallet $1,280
1990s Surrey  $324.99
1990s Gladstone $287
1990s Teton Bucket $249.99
1990s Essex $174

Doris Day’s Crossbody & Wallet 

Dooney & Bourke is an affordable luxury handbag maker. They’ve always kept in the lower to middle price range of luxury brands, with their acclaim coming from the high-quality leather they make most of their goods out of.

Very few vintage Dooney & Bourke pieces sell for more than $500. But some special quality, like belonging to a famous person, always works to kick those average prices way up. Take this 1980s white Dooney & Bourke crossbody bag with a navy wallet that belonged to the famed singer and actress Doris Day. It sold in a Julien’s auction for $1,280.

1990s Surrey Portfolio Bag 

Many Dooney & Bourke originals were focused on subdued style and function. These weren’t the micro, beaded bags that you barely fit a credit card into. Instead, they were well-constructed, durable, and sedately stylish. Such is the case with the Surrey.

Released in 1992, the Surrey bag features the in-house standard all-weather leather in a variety of staple colors like blue and white. It’s trimmed in English tan leather, has an adjustable strap, and is one of the largest purses they made throughout the decade. They frequently sell for $100-$300, like this vintage navy Surrey that sold for $324.99 on eBay.

1990s Gladstone Bag 

Dooney & Bourke’s Gladstone bags are a distinct departure from their saddlebag, crossbody, and rectangular forms. Created during the 1990s, Gladstones were made out of pebbled all-weather leather and trimmed in classic English tan leather. What makes them visually unique is that they look like old medical equipment bags.

Dooney & Bourke Gladstone Bone

Today, they’re not as trendy as they once were, but they do okay on the secondhand market. In the best condition they can sell for upwards of $500, but they usually settle between $150-$300. For example, this vintage Gladstone recently sold for $287 on eBay.

Fast Fact

The Victorian Gladstone bag that Dooney & Bourke drew inspiration from was named for the four-time Prime Minister of England, William Gladstone.

Related: 7 Vintage Coach Purses Worth Digging Out of Your Mom's Closet

1990s Teton Bucket Bag 

In 1994, Dooney & Bourke launched the Teton collection. One of the most versatile bags to come out of this collection is the drawstring leather Teton bucket. Its shapeless sack-like form is perfect for maxing out its storage capabilities. As a slouchy bag, the Teton is another departure from the company’s more rigid shapes and remains quite popular because of it.

Made out of pebbled leather in a variety of standard colors, vintage Tetons regularly sell for $200-$300, if not more. One green Teton bucket from the 90s with all the bells and whistles recently sold for $249.99 on eBay.

1990s Essex Shoulder Bag

You can’t get more quintessentially Dooney & Bourke than the Essex purse. Essex bags have been around for decades in various iterations and styles. This shoulder bag comes in several colors, including green, navy, tan, and antique lace. Most often trimmed in English tan leather, the bag’s focal point is the large duck logo stitched onto the top flap’s center.

Because they’re such a staple, they’re less valuable than some on the market. They usually don’t sell for over $200 online. For example, this bright red and well-worn Essex recently sold for $174.

How to Spot a Genuine Dooney & Bourke Bag

Whether you’re shopping at a Dooney & Bourke outlet or with reputable online resellers, it makes sense to get the best deal. But beware! Dooney & Bourke was heavily counterfeited during the 1980s and 1990s. Follow these tips to ensure that you spend your hard-earned money on the real deal.

  • Early DB logos are embossed or appear on fobs. The classic leather-sewn “Dooney duck” logo doesn’t appear until ~1983.
  • Duck seals are sewn on. Many counterfeit bags will cut corners by gluing the leather duck tags on, but real Dooney & Bourke ones are always sewn on.
  • Tags should have serial numbers on the back. Stitched registration tags should have the company name stitched in blue with a red box around them and an eight-character serial number, such as A5 124968, printed on the back. 
  • Look for British tan leather trim. Vintage Dooney & Bourke bags may sport different main colors, but the trim and handles are always decked out in a warm cognac-colored leather called British tan.
  • Fobs and closures are made out of genuine brass. Brass has a certain heft and tone to it that cheaper counterfeit metals don’t. 
  • All stitching should be uniform and done with yellow thread. Overlapping, gaps, and varying stitch lengths are all signs that the bag may be a fake.

Luxury Bags Don’t Have to Break the Bank

Unfortunately, there’s a misconception that for something to be luxurious, it’s got to be incredibly expensive. Dooney & Bourke has been proving people wrong for decades. If these leather purses have piqued your interest, keep an eye out for a great deal on your own vintage Dooney & Bourke bag.

5 Valuable Vintage Donney & Bourke Purses Collectors Covet