This store requires javascript to be enabled for some features to work correctly.

vintage chanel bags guide

Vintage Chanel Bag Buying Guide: Things to Know Before Purchasing

Bag lovers worldwide debate the alternatives of spending almost $10,000 on a Chanel flap at store. Is a handbag, even one from a major designer, really worth it?

Turns out, there's an alternative. Instead of going straight to the boutiques, you can get a secondhand Chanel handbag from a private seller or a trusted vintage dealer.

This article will sum up everything you need to know before buying an authentic vintage Chanel bag from first hands: best styles, pictures of celebrities, reviews on wear and tear, bag prices and authenticity tips.


What is Considered Vintage Chanel? 

A broad term 'vintage' is usually applied to any items over 20 years old. Thus, a Chanel bag has to be at least from 2002-2003 to be considered vintage. Of course, whenever a private seller lists a purse, they almost never check every single detail about its release dates so the term is much broader than that. In addition, the word 'vintage' may apply not only to the bag's age, but also to the style or material of the purse.

Peep into this vintage Maxi Flap and note that the logo is larger than a logo of a modern Chanel handbag. The leather also doesn't look as puffy as it would on a newer item. This purse is at least 20 years old.


Vintage Chanel Bag Prices

victoria beckham with a vintage chanel bag

How much is a vintage Chanel bag worth? Well, that, of course, depends on the purse, as the prices vary considerably, from $500 to $10,000.

Overall, the prices on Ebay start at around $500. Yes, that's right. You can get an authentic handbag for as low as a few hundred. However, be prepared that this item will have to undergo a substantiate restoration as this price level suggests that the item definitely shows wear. In addition, it won't be an iconic purse, such as Classic Flap or something even remotely similar as these ha

If you're interested in a flap purse (not even a classic one but a similar design), a secondhand Chanel purse will cost you at least $2,000. In case it's in more or less decent condition, the price will immediately go up to $4,000 level.


Why Are Vintage Chanel Bags So Expensive?

First of all, not all vintage Chanel handbags are worth a lot. In fact, many of them are priced quite reasonably. A reasonable price for a vintage Chanel purse is around $1,000-$2,000, unfortunately, it may still seem like a lot.

It’s important to note that there are two tiers of Chanel handbags. The first tier is classic Chanel handbags, such as Chanel Flaps (mostly), Reissue 2.55. These are staples, which keep their value extremely well as their prices are indexed every year and sometimes face considerable price increases. Thus, secondhand flap bags’ prices are adjusted to match retail.

The second tier are all other Chanel handbags. Mostly, they are priced lower.

Note that we haven't mentioned newer items, such as Boy or Chanel 19, as there are no vintage equivalents for them.

In fact, why these handbags cost that much? Well, apparently Chanel does a very good job at keeping their value. There are no sales, no outlets and no way to get an item cheaper directly from Chanel. Next, each year the French brand is raising their prices so prices of vintage handbags just pry to keep up with the retail.

Of course, Chanel also uses quality materials and invests a lot in advertising and sales.

Basically, these are the main reasons why vintage Chanel handbags are also expensive.


Is Vintage Chanel Better Quality?

vintage chanel bags why so expensive

A lot of people believe vintage Chanel to be of better quality. Does that hold true today?

In general, we feel that it’s true. As we’ve sold numerous Chanel handbags, we can confirm that vintage leather is more resistant to 

However, it’s important to remember that leather items made of luxurious soft leather that French house has used for their items, are not built to last forever. Over time, the leather may dry, not to mention show signs of wear like dents, scratches and rubs. So whenever you're looking for a vintage purse, make sure it's not too old. Chanel purses from 2000s might be a great choice.


Where to Buy Vintage Chanel Bags?

Vintage Chanel bags are available on a wide array of secondhand marketplaces, however, there's one with the broader choice, Ebay. The marketplace is flooded by authentic Chanel purses from Japan, one of the widest luxury markets in the world.

Make sure you know about your country's customs fees, though. While in the US you are safe whenever you're purchasing anything under $800 from overseas, in Europe, for instance, you'll end up paying fees that are around 30% of the purchase price. In this way, a purse that costs 800 EUR will cost you almost 1200 EUR. That's a very considerable amount so please pay attention to that.


How to Buy a Vintage Chanel Bag: Important things to know

There are two very specific things to consider when purchasing a vintage Chanel handbag. It’s almost impossible to keep focus on these unless you have a wide experience with Chanel purses.

First, ask the seller specifically if there’s any odor from the purse. If you’re purchasing a vintage Chanel bag on Ebay, that’s an important question as most purses there come from Japan. Japan is an island country and humidity is a huge problem. The purses usually have a distinct smell of humidity. It’s not repulsive but if you strongly prefer handbags that smell like new or at least have no specific smell at all, it’s probably better to avoid vintage at all (same thing for other brands, such as vintage Louis Vuitton).

Second, is that is a quilted purse, ask the seller whether the foam under the leather is in good condition. Of course, it’s impossible to see, but sometimes just by pressing the leather a little you can feel that the puffiness is gone, or even worse, that the foam is breaking down.

Be careful about purchasing a vintage Chanel without authenticity card. A card is an accessory most buyers want with their purchase so the lack of card should be reflected in the handbag's price.


Best Vintage Chanel Bags

Chanel bags are like fine wine. They are only better with age and they keep their value far better than most stock market at the moment.

Vintage is mostly not about the brands, but about the style and material. If you love vintage styles, we’re pretty sure you’ll love suede and satin from Chanel. Scroll down to see items that are over 40 years old and still look glorious.

1. Chanel CC Satin Canvas Red Vintage Matelasse Chain Mini Shoulder Bag CHANEL CC Satin Canvas Red Vintage Matelasse Chain Mini Shoulder Bag

If you're into smaller handbags, such as Chanel mini flap, here's a vintage version of this purse from the late 1980's in magnificent red satin.


2. Chanel CC Black Vintage Patent Leather Logos Vanity Handbag

CHANEL CC Black Vintage Patent Leather Logos Vanity Handbag

A 80's handbag that with a strong trend towards top handle small purses looks very relevant today. Its patent leather is a cool giveaway of its age though. Black patent leather is a great option since the leather texture doesn't change with age.


3. Chanel Vintage Suede Crossbody Shoulder Bag

Chanel Vintage Suede Crossbody Shoulder Bag

While it doesn't look like modern Chanel, this suede crossbody is a very vintage-styled purse. It's also a great way to get a Chanel purse at a bargain price around $400 only.


4. Chanel Brown Bias Stitch Fringe CC Chain Crossbody Bag 

CHANEL Vintage Bias Stitch Fringe CC Chain Cross Body Shoulder Bag Brown

Tassels and fringes were all the rage in 1980s, so vintage Chanel introduced in these years were very often adorned with similar accessories. This suede purse could have easily been from one of the latest Chanel collections.


5. Chanel CC Mademoiselle 30 Patent Leather Chain Shoulder Bag

CHANEL CC Mademoiselle 30 Patent Leather Chain Shoulder Bag

Another peculiar vintage Chanel in patent leather, this purse can be inherited by future generations.


6. Chanel Vintage Leather CC Double Flap Matelasse 25 Chain Shoulder Bag

CHANEL CC Double Flap Matelasse 25 Chain Shoulder Bag Leather Vintage

This purse is basically a vintage Chanel Classic Flap bag. In the 80's the quilting wasn't as puffy as it is today. That's mostly a good thing since the foam inside would have aged accordingly.


8. CHANEL Black Vintage Caviar Leather CC Logo Chain Backpack Bag 

CHANEL CC Logo Chain Backpack Bag Caviar Skin Leather Black Vintage

Are there vintage backpacks? Of course. Moreover, this backpack is made of caviar, one of the most durable materials from Chanel.


Celebrities In Love With Vintage Chanel Purses

Do celebrities love vintage bags? Of course they do! When you can afford purchasing literally any new handbag, it's the vintage ones that make your style unique.

1. Eva Longoria

eva longoria and chanel vintage tassel bag

Do you remember the tassel vintage bag trend? Here's Eva Longoria in all-black, effortlessly dressing it up with a few accessories from Hermes and Chanel.

2. Victoria Beckham

victoria beckham vintage chanel flap bag  big

Whenever you see Vicky Beckham, there's only one word that comes to mind: classy. Gorgeous she is in this faux fur coat, skinny jeans with bottom zippers and Christian Louboutin pumps!

vicky beckham with a vintage chanel purse

This is one of her favorite bags, she can't seem to get her hands off her whenever she's travelling or spending time with the kids. 

3. Sharon Osbourne

sharon osborne chanel vintage maxi flap bag

Another roomy and classy vintage Chanel maxi, this time from Sharon Osbourne. Is it a coincidence that Chanel is mostly worn with a matching black outfit?

4. Lady Gaga

lady gaga and vintage chanel mini belt bag

An all-black outfit with vintage vibes from Lady Gaga.

Celebrities who have it all still prefer vintage Chanel handbags and are proudly taking them out to red carpets, galas and family gatherings.


Is Vintage Chanel Bag Worth It?

With vintage being a major trend for a few years now, you can always jump in the bandwagon with a stylish staple accessory, such as a designer bag from Chanel.

Provided a vintage handbag is in good condition, it offers a better price to quality ratio than a brand-new item from the boutique. Isn't it more exciting to have an item that has a story behind it?


How to Tell If a Vintage Chanel Bag is Real

To differentiate real vintage Chanel items from fake ones, you need to thoroughly review the item and look whether the details of the purse in question match the details of authentic purses.

Some important details to check are listed below:

1. Check the leather

Look for red flags. Unless you came across a rare pristine item that was stored in the closet for 30 years, vintage leather must have some signs of use. 

2. Examine the hardware

hardware how to tell if a vintage chanel is real or fake and authenticate chanel

Vintage purses have other hardware. Front gold-plated hardware always has a stamp in the corner.

3. Examine the heat stamp

how to tell if a vintage chanel is real or fake and authenticate chanel

4. Check the serial number

Note that vintage serials and cards might not look like modern serials, let alone chip codes. You need to know what they look like. Use our Chanel serial number checker to establish the release year of your purse.


Do Vintage Chanel Bags Have Serial Numbers?

Chanel introduced serial numbers as a required measure to fight counterfeiting in late 1980s. Thus, if an item was released before that, it won’t have a serial number. To confirm authenticity of such item, other details of the purse need to be analyzed. 

If you want to learn more regarding Chanel authentication, here is our authentication guide and another article with Chanel real vs fake pictures.

Hope this are also some of the burning questions regarding vintage Chanel authentication answered.


How to Authenticate Vintage Chanel?

If you need to authenticate a vintage Chanel bag, we at Bagaholic can help you to verify all the aspects of the purse to be 100% positive that it's a legit Chanel item.

Order the services below and let us help you gain some peace of mind with your purchase


Leave a comment