How do you know when bags are becoming as valuable as art? When Christie’s sets up a department that specialises in the buying and selling of rare pieces, and held its first Asian live auction in Hong Kong last year. Matthew Rubinger (below), the company’s international director of handbags and accessories, shares what makes a bag collectable.

3 Expert Tips On What Makes A Bag Collectable

He estimated that this Bottega Veneta croco handbag (middle) would fetch up to US$3,900 (S$5,060)
while this Hermes Constance Elan, up to US$10,000 (S$13,000).


1. The Brand Matters Most

“Number one is always the designer. Collectors have a great appreciation for top names who show a deep understanding for detailing and craftsmanship. For now, Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton are the most sought after.”

2. The Products Age Well

“The original quality of a bag… [is directly linked to] how well it keeps over time. Hermes is a leader because of its strenuous control, but there are also unusual suspects creating some of the best pieces on the market. For example, not many people know that Marchesa’s accessories are as well made as its gowns, or that the bags made by Ralph Lauren post-’90s like the Ricky are very high quality and will retain their value.”

3. Factor in Trends

“What are women buying and wearing today, and what are the street style icons and influences – the people you see at fashionweek – wearing? These impact what sells at an auction. For example, crossbody bags and backpacks are insanely popular now, but not five years ago.”

4. Buy From an Auction House

“Visiting an auction is the smartest way to buy bags because you’ll pay what the market would. At Christie’s, you won’t see the same styles anywhere else – the pieces at our Hong Kong auction were limited edition or had been discontinued. We take authenticity seriously. We’re also in touch with a whole team to walk you through the auction process – our specialists can tell you how a piece has sold, its future value and even style advice.”

An adapted version of this article was published in Female January 2015, now on news stands.