8 Vintage Purses Worth More Than Many Cars

Things to take out insurance policies on — your car, your house, and these incredibly valuable vintage purses you have to see to believe.

Published May 17, 2024
Close-up of black leather Hermes Birkin handbag

Everyone had that one purse girl in high school who rocked the biggest monogrammed tote from a mid-priced luxury brand. And while her bag definitely seemed like it must have cost a fortune all those years ago, it doesn’t hold a candle to these valuable vintage purses’ price tags.

8 Vintage Purses Worth Their Weight in Gold

There’s a reason that luxury brands send out bodyguards for the goods they let celebrities wear on the red carpet. Pieces from these extensive archives can be valued upwards of six or seven figures. Shockingly, some valuable vintage purses have their place up there alongside practically priceless couture garments. While you won’t be lucky enough to find one of these bags marked down on the TJ Maxx racks, you can join us in admiring them from afar.

Valuable Vintage Purses Record Sales Prices
Hermès So Black Kelly $259,576
Hermès Bleu Jean Birkin $194,686
Hermès Rouge Garance Clemence Fringe Birkin $73,009
Hermès Emerald Mini Kelly $53,340
Hermès Ebene Box, Veau Doblis Shearling Teddy Kelly $51,917
I Magnin & Co. Alligator Handbag $37,500
Chanel Métiers d'art Matryoshka Handbag $32,500
Van Cleef & Arpels 18K Gold & Diamond Purse $29,280

Hermès So Black Kelly: $259,576.01

One of the most sought-after limited edition Hermès handbag collections was 2010 Jean-Paul Gaultier’s So Black collection. Notable for the bag’s fully black exterior and all-black hardware, this specific Kelly bag from 2010 is particularly special for featherwork that embellishes the front. It sold in a Sotheby’s auction for the equivalent of $259,576 USD, making it one of the most expensive vintage purses sold in recent years.

While you’ll definitely see more Hermès bags on this list, some of the most expensive Birkins and Kellys won’t make an appearance because they were so recently made.

Hermès Bleu Jean Birkin: $194,686

Interestingly, vintage Birkins don’t sell for quite as much as more recent limited editions do. But on the occasion, a particularly stunning piece comes to auction and blows the limited edition ones out of the water.

One bleu jean Birkin that was made in 2006 recently sold in a Sotheby’s auction for the equivalent of $194,686 USD. At first glance, this bag doesn’t seem particularly remarkable. But the white gold and diamonds beg to differ. This handbag features 18K white gold hardware that’s set with diamonds. Without the precious gems and metals, it’d still be an expensive purse, but not quite 6 figures level.

Hermès Rouge Garance Clemence Fringe Birkin: $73,009.47

Another Hermès purse gracing our list is a 2009 rouge Garance Clemence Birkin decked out in colorful fringe. It’s rather playful for the more self-serious brand and has a youthful quality that more recent Birkins have lacked.

But maybe it’s this departure from the brand’s standard style that made it sell for substantially less than many record-breaking Birkins. Of course, when you’re dealing with Birkin auction prices, it can feel like you’re playing with monopoly money because of how big the totals still are. After all, this rouge Garance Clemence Birkin sold for $73,009 in a Sotheby’s auction.

Related: 8 Most Expensive Birkin Bags That Put the Luxe in Luxury

Hermès Emerald Mini Kelly: $53,340

The oldest Hermès purse to make its way onto our list is a vibrant jewel-toned emerald mini Kelly from 1998. Had it debuted just a few years later, it would definitely get a showstopping moment in the high fashion-filled series, Sex and the City.

Aside from its color and luxe construction, this mini Kelly isn’t particularly special. And we say that knowing that nothing that sells for $53,340 at auction could be anything but.

Hermès Ebene Box, Veau Doblis Shearling Teddy Kelly: $51,917.84

UGGs have made a comeback and there’s nothing that’ll pair better with them than a matching vintage shearling Hermès bag. The Hermès Ebene Box, Veau Doblis shearling teddy Kelly bag is a limited release from 2005. What makes it so interesting is the materials, considering most Hermès purses are made out of animal skin leather as opposed to fabric.

But quirky things have their place at auction, and one of these shearling Kellys sold for $51,917 in a Sotheby’s auction.

I Magnin & Co. Alligator Handbag: $37,500

The first non-Hermès purse to pop onto our list is from a now-defunct brand you might not recognize. I. Magnin & Co. manufactured this slim brown alligator skin handbag in the 1950s. But what makes it worth more than a few thousand dollars is that it comes from Marilyn Monroe’s personal collection.

As if that wasn’t drool-inducing enough, it also came with a matching leather lighter and lipstick case as well as a comb and powder compact. Of course, because of the Marilyn connection it sold for well over its estimated value price at $37,500.

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

Chanel Métiers d'art Matryoshka Handbag: $32,500

Karl Lagerfeld debuted Chanel’s pre-fall 2010 collection in Shanghai. With an interesting East Asian influence, this collection had a few standout handbags. One of which was designed in the shape and style of a matryoshka doll.

In 2018, this Métiers d'art bag went to auction through Christie’s and sold for $32,500, making it one of the most expensive vintage Chanel bags ever sold.

Van Cleef & Arpels 18K Gold & Diamond Purse: $29,280

Van Cleef & Arpels rocked true Dynasty fashion in the 1980s with this 18K bicolor gold and diamond clutch. Made in 1988, this glitzy bag captures the extravagance that was all the rage in the Reagan era.

Of course, coming from a prestigious jewelry maker meant that this high-end bag wouldn’t sell for less than its weight in gold. Which, if you must know, was $29,280.

Not All Vintage Is Valuable, But These Purses Sure Are

If you’ve spent more than 15 minutes sifting through an antique store, then you know that not everything old is worth a lot of money. But that doesn’t mean that all vintage is worthless. After all, these vintage purses are worth more than some cars AND houses.

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8 Vintage Purses Worth More Than Many Cars