Vintage Collectible Handbags | The Perfect Gift

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Vintage 20's beaded handbag

Vintage beaded and tapestry handbags are all the rage these days and they are gaining in value as a collectible item.

I began collecting vintage handbags several years ago when I discovered the value (and fun) of collecting retro accessories. While I still can appreciate the new designer handbags, I also like being different and creative. A vintage handbag can make a bold statement about a woman's ensemble and about her style, sense of creativity, and eco-consciousness. They still can be room (for an evening bag) able to hold your credit card, keys, lipstick and even an e-cigarette.

If you give a vintage, antique or retro handbag as a gift, it can delight the recipient and even inspire a new hobby that’s fun and profitable. According to collectibles experts like Paul Fraser, the vintage collectibles market will double in the next twenty years and today’s treasures will continue to grow in value.

As Seen on TV

Popular PBS and BBC TV mini-series such as “Downton Abbey”, and “Mr. Selfridge” and so many others are reviving the glamour and style of the late 19th and early 20th century, in fact, many cool retro items are showing up on the runways and at celebrity attended functions.

Going Green Never Goes Out of Fashion.

Antique, Retro and Vintage handbags are not only eco-friendly because they are re-cycled, many of them are in stunning, near-mint and unused condition.

There are many styles of authentic vintage, retro and antique handbags on the market right now in boutiques, at on-line specialty stores and on eBay. The prices will vary according to the item’s condition, age and manufacturer but the true collector’s items start at about $120.

What Styles of Collectible Vintage Handbags Are Hot?

mandalian mesh purse

Mandalian Mfg.mesh purse

The flashy and colorful mesh flapper purses from the roaring twenties are really making a comeback. There are many highly collectible purses in excellent condition just waiting to be flaunted at a 21st century party.

Antique velvet evening-bags from the 20’s and 30‘s make a perfect give for a pre-teen or young lady. They come in bright or muted colors and are often embellished with decorative beading and jeweled or filigree clasps.

Many of those seen on eBay are really vintage “style” bags so if you’re looking to place a bid, make sure they are truly antiques!

If you’re not ready to pay a premium price, check out these beautiful vintage-style purses on Amazon. 

Tapestry Designs


Antique tapestry handbag

Antique tapestry handbag

Hand-woven petit point and tapestry designed handbags became an integral fashion accessory by the 1800s. Those hand-made in France are the most desirable (and the most costly), but if you are a savvy shopper, you can find bargains from those made in the 30's and 40's.

 Silk, and More


Antique Reticule Purse

Antique Reticule Purse

Tiny Reticule purses with expandable accordian-style metal openings were popular in the 18th and 19th century for carrying coins, smelling salts and small handkerchiefs.


Antique silk pastoral purse

Antique silk pastoral purse

The proverbial silk purse is a classic accessory. Some, like the handbag featured in my photo above, are decorated with pastoral scenes. This one came with a matching silk eyeglass case (which is rare); however, many vintage bags include silk change purses.

You may be surprised to find that the many beautiful vintage handbags, purses and clutches for sale on-line rival those new designer handbags in the shops and department stores. Why buy new, when you can have a serious collectible item that's so much more eco-friendly?

Antique handbags and purses are works of art that deserve to be well-cared for and enjoyed. So if you are thinking of going green this Mother's Day (or any day), consider giving a retro, or antique handbag, evening bag or purse to the ladies in your life. Once you own one, you’ll want a few more for your collection. Just remember, like shoes, one can never have too many handbags.

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