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Determining the Value of Vintage Alligator & Crocodile Bags

June 16, 2014

FOUR Cs TO REMEMBER. Do you know why some vintage alligator handbags are more expensive than others and cost thousands, and not hundreds? It is because of their Circa (1), Condition (2), Craftsmanship (3), and Color (4). Remember these Four Cs and you will never fail to find the best vintage handbag for the best price.  

 

Circa (1) . The First C to consider is the age of the handbag - or its circa - which plays an especially important role for serious collectors. For example, older pieces from a desirable era, such as 19th century luggage or ornate Art Deco envelopes from the 1920s, are very valuable as collectibles. If you're looking for a strong, casual vintage alligator bag, get a trendy purse from the 1960s, as they are ultimate for everyday use. Funky, colorful skins from the 1940s are the best conversation pieces, while dramatic novelties from the 1950s are simply the best for special occasions. Confirmed circa, as well as its documented provenance, greatly adds to the appeal of a collectible. 

 

Imagine you came across a good-looking vintage alligator bag. How do you know that it is truly a great find? First, confirm its authenticity using our simple test (see the Authenticity Test guide), to be absolutely sure that it is genuine, and not a fake. Then, inspect its condition following our Condition Guide. 

 

Condition (2). As we know, in real estate it is all about "location, location, location," yet in vintage - it is all about "condition, condition, condition." If the handbag is in a miserable state and literally falling apart, you definitely do not want it. Thus, the Second C - condition - is the most important factor influencing the price. Pristine pieces in immaculate, un-restored, original condition are always more expensive - several times more, to be exact. Damage, flaws, repairs, alteration and additions decrease their value dramatically. 

 

Craftsmanship (3). How well the bag is made - its craftsmanship - is the Third C to always keep in mind. The quality of the workmanship is very important and directly depends on the artisan's skill that took a lifetime to master. The quality of the skins also matters. They come in various grades rated based on their flexibility and elasticity, symmetry and pattern. Some species are much more valuable than others, thus their prices will be much higher. You wouldn't pay as much for a rhinestone bracelet as for a genuine diamond bracelet, correct? Then why pay more for an inexpensive lizard bag if you can get a precious American Alligator bag for the same price?

 

Color (4). The Fourth C to think of is the color. Note that designer colors are always in high demand, hence more expensive. In casual handbags, classic black is usually more desirable than brown. However, unusual custom-tanned hues are especially popular, thus expensive.

 

Finally, the size of the bag made of whole skins is also very important in setting the price. Generally speaking, larger handbags made of whole skins are more expensive than smaller ones made from the same type of skins. 

 

To put it short, remember the Four Cs, in order to correctly assess the value of your find and set the proper market price.   

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