Condition Criteria ​

The value of your vintage bag depends on its condition: the better it is, more expensive the bag is. The true mint condition is very rare, and hard to come by. It took me about a decade to sift through over 5,000 pieces to put together a collection of about 500 excellent handbags. Very few can be qualified as mint: flawless, preferably in original packaging, with virtually no traces of use, repair, or restoration. Most handbags have survived to these days with some flaws: major or minor. That is why it is so important to know how to assess their condition properly in order to establish the correct market price.

Not long ago, the supply of fine vintage was limited to live auctions, estate sales, antique stores, and vintage boutiques run by experts. Today, buying opportunities are endless, including online purchases. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to rely on the opinion of online sellers when it comes to value and condition, because very few specialize in upscale vintage exotics.  Online purchases are usually non-refundable and it is almost impossible to correct a judgment mistake after the fact. 

To avoid disappointment, use these simple safety tips: 


  • Preferably buy brand-name bags to avoid imitations. For reference, see our Designers section.

  • Inspect the bag for authenticity to make sure it is genuine skin, and not embossing.

  • Inspect it for flaws to assure best possible condition, which determines the price.  


Popular collectibles are often over forty years old; therefore, it is unrealistic to expect the bags that are advertised as ‘mint’ or ‘excellent’ to look “like new.” Thus, it is very important to know the condition criteria and inspection tips.  We do not recommend buying vintage in less than excellent condition as collectible investment.


MINT: very rare; no signs of use or age, no repair; no odor; original packaging or tags


NEAR MINT: quite rare; flawless; no repair; minor clean-up; pristine, intact; odor-free 


EXCELLENT: no noticeable wear or flaws; if any, very minor; refurbished; clean, no odor



Victoria Stowe