The art of collecting handbags

Some people collect paintings from great masters such as Monet and Degas, others prefer sculptures from Rodin, for the Bag Snob, it is handbags.


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Top of the bag chain. My Hermes collection.

Since the first Gucci logo handbag and matching wallet given to me in high school, I have been smitten. In jeans or gowns, there is nothing more sophisticated than finishing it off with a chic handbag! Whether you are a seasoned collector or looking for your first special bag, it is important to remember that you should only buy the bag if you really love it. Don’t fall into the trend trap and don’t buy something just because all of your friends have it. The key to having a great collection is to buy the best bag you can afford in your price range. Do not buy a knock off or fake bag if you can not afford the real thing. Instead, look to moderately priced designers such as Coach, Cole Haan, Kooba, or even Isaac Mizrahi for Target! Develop your own unique sense of style by studying bags from different price ranges and designers. Neiman Marcus and Saks both have wide ranges of bags, if you do not live near one, check their websites often. And If possible, go to vintage stores and look for bags from other eras. My current obsession are bags from the ’60’s when an explosion of young European designers took over an industry previously dominated by couturiers such as Chanel.

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The iconic Chanel 2.55 collection

Our taste has varied from the latest “it” bags to classic birkins, hobos to structured carryalls, and exotic skins to distressed leather, all in more colors than the rainbow. The only constant being my love of a well made bag. To date the Bag Snob has collected over 100 bags, all lovingly stored in it’s original dust cover and/or box. Each bag carries with it special memories of its acqusition. The brown ostrich Dior saddle bag purchased in Paris during a summer thunderstorm (each time I carry it I am reminded of how beautiful Paris is even in the rain), the first Chanel bag for my 21st birthday, the bleu nuit Chloe paddington from Paris that a friend picked up and sent to me, and the red lizard Hermes kelly purchased from Hermes over the phone and brought to me at Nobu to be inspected over tuna tartare and champagne. There are way too many other memories to mention so I will just share with you my top 25 favorite bags of the moment.

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Old favorites such as the YSL mombasa, Fendi baguette, Tod’s white Rodeo bag, Prada pink hobo, and Dior saddle will always have a place in the Bag Snob’s heart.

27 Comments

  1. paz
    March 28, 2006 / 10:31 pm

    ooooohhhhhh! heaven! houston hermes store just had a 25 birkin orange lizard on display! i already have the exact size and leather except in red! you should have gotten them!

    we can be very good friends! i luv your collection!

  2. ana
    March 29, 2006 / 9:23 am

    you are rich enough 😛

  3. Maricar
    March 31, 2006 / 1:30 am

    Hi there! I am a bag collector too but oh my your’s are definitely the best collection!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am so impressed!!!!!!

    from

    San Diego, CA

  4. The Bag Snob
    March 31, 2006 / 8:16 am

    Thank you! As you see, we take shopping very seriously 🙂 This is only a fraction of our collection! We will post more bags to share with all our bag lovin’ girls in the future.

    Best, The Bag Snob

  5. Maricar
    May 11, 2006 / 1:40 am

    Hi there! A shallow query from a shallow person. Can I use cyclamen kelly during winter? I’m from the west by the way?

    Great collection!

    Hi Maricar, cyclamen is a fabulous color and may be used all year round! As a very fabulous friend of the Bag Snob’s always says, hot pink is a neutral and should be used often 🙂

    All the best, The Bag Snob

  6. May 11, 2006 / 2:40 am

    Now I know what heaven looks like! It’s a collection of Hermes handbags. I love my little black Birkin and it’s nice to know that there are others who are similarly obsessed 🙂

  7. Maricar
    May 15, 2006 / 1:56 am

    Hi there! I wonder what you think about goyard bags.

    Maricar

  8. Anonymous
    June 1, 2006 / 8:48 am

    Hermes bags are ugly and very old lady looking, the only bags I like from your collection is the Chanel bags. A bag collection should be unique and interesting, yours is a little mundane and not unique. So hopefully you can put up more pictures to show others that you do have unique tastes.

  9. cathy
    June 2, 2006 / 11:19 pm

    Hi Bag Snob,

    I am considering to buy YSL mombasa (I know, it seems too late 🙂 the body of the bag has this intricate leather detailing and with the horn handle I was smitten! I’m just wondering what you think, is this a timeless piece or I would look ridicilous carrying a mombasa now?

  10. abi
    December 19, 2006 / 12:17 pm

    Dear Bag Snob,

    What is the best way to clean the leather of my bags? I have a white Chanel 2.55 which is not quite white anymore.

  11. Sandy Caughlin
    February 5, 2007 / 11:44 am

    Hello,

    I have a kelly bag that appears to be at least 20 years old. Do you have a list of the blind stamps and what the letters and numbers mean? Is there a correlation between the letter and the year it was made? Mine is stamped T 5.

    Thanks

  12. Albert
    April 4, 2007 / 12:25 pm

    Hello. I have a chocolate brown handbag charol 1950. I want to sell. My email: ingeniero@hotmail.co.uk

  13. Love Purse
    July 16, 2007 / 4:24 am

    Um… Personally… i do think tat some of the bags… but kk… wateve3r…. but the birkin bag looks absolutely gorgeous… i have one 35cm. Shocking Pink alligator skin… hehe…

  14. ninett
    August 22, 2007 / 5:52 pm

    Hi Bag Snob, you are the perfect person to help me! My mom gave me what I believe to be an authentic Tod’s purse, she got it from an old coworker (she got a painting too but that’s another story. I couldn’t believe it was real as I examined it and not 100% sure it is just yet. It is cream leather and the lining is tan suede. There is only one zipper inside that has a tulip looking design imprinted on one side and leidlisa on the other. The weird thing is that when I pull the stitching apart I find light pencil marks. Maybe because they are hand made? Where do you think I could authenticate it? THANKS!!

  15. Brittany Dollarhide
    August 30, 2007 / 4:41 pm

    Hi, I’m also a lover of handbags and the handbags that I seen in your collection was Great!!!! I am just starting my collection I like yard sales & swapmeets I found a authentic ysl mombasa handbag for 25.00 and a Tod’s suede handbag for 15.00 dollars I like to find holy tresures all the time. P.V California GIRLS…

    Well I just wanted to tell my story cause when I tell my boyfriend he just don’t care, so I needed another girl that will understand my feelings. Have fun shopping!!!!Brittany

  16. iva
    September 16, 2007 / 5:51 am

    Am I to assume you collection is all or mostly replica bags? Seems like those advertising on your site are pushing replicas and people posting are also buying replicas.

  17. fatefullotus
    October 3, 2007 / 1:39 pm

    Dear lord! That jumbo gray reissue is threatening to swallow up even the Birkins! I have been awaiting my first Birkin for 6 months now. *sigh* She’ll be the crowning jewel to my collection.

  18. Miffy
    January 20, 2008 / 2:05 am

    Dear Bag Snob, you have a great collection. Thanks for sharing it with us. I love Hermes. My current Hermes collection stands at two kelly bags, one lizard kelly pochette, one HAC and one birkin…this is my first time at posting on this site, I don’t think it allows me to post pics of my own bags so unfortunately I won’t be able to share my bag collection with you all!

  19. Michael Jospeh Magabo,MD
    June 18, 2008 / 11:59 pm

    Deareast Snobs,

    Your collection is FANTASTIC! I have some of the bags youve mentioned that you have in your collection, however, mine is ALL BlACK (my mombasa, my sadlle, my jana, my paddington,Ü) or a predominantly black bag if it doesn’t come in black (my YSL St Tropez comes in leopard print with a black leather handle while my baguette has a black leather trim and hardware with synthetic raffia-like material body. Once however ,Gucci manila was able to convince Gucci milan to have a huge black chain hobo made for me coz it only came in dark blue or red). Then again there are “exceptions” in cases where i really couldnt acquire a black edition ( a dark grey almost faded LV patchwork BOWLEY or my indigo almost black patent guccissima Treasure bag Ü). Often my galpals give me the flak for my boring collection, i tell em i go for structure, texture, or a combination thereof not to mention functionality and overall funkiness. Tell me, is there something “WRONG” with me, I was telling em too since Im gay probably the guy side of me is not into the “color thing” Ü.

    I was hoping to send you bag experts a picture of my collection that accdg to a friend of mine only I can love hahahaha. Your opinion reagrding this case will be highly appreciated.

    Thank you very much for sharing your insights and expertise regarding this hobby and here’s more power to you wonderful ladies.

    PS. Since my collection is all black another collector told me its better to have the “family photo” professionally taken since its “monotonously boring” and to bring out each bags architectural beauty, darn it, HELP!

  20. August 27, 2008 / 11:31 pm

    hello, we are handbags wholesaler, we can offer u a good price , so that u get a more competitive goods, our website:http://www.100yeartrade.com

  21. SANDRA
    October 15, 2008 / 2:35 pm

    IM ABOUT TO BUY A BLACK GUCCI BOSTON HAND BAG IT’S GUCCI MONOGRAM FABRIC GREEN RED GREEN , IN A RE- SALE SHOP. I was told that it was from the treasure collection 2007 but iam having a hard time finding it i need help!!! THANKS SANDRA I NEED TO KNOW IF IT’S AUTHENTIC NOT EVEN THE GUCCI STORE HAS GIVEN ME AN ANSWER….

  22. sanaa
    January 22, 2009 / 4:20 pm

    i have a handbag of gucci, collection 60’s. crocodile bordeaux. in very good condition. there’s someone interested to buy it?????

  23. elvin
    December 2, 2009 / 4:00 am

    Dear Bagsnob,

    I just truly love your collections, don’t know when will i have those beauties. Anyway, you’re always my favourite. C u.

  24. Danie
    December 20, 2009 / 8:05 pm

    Thanks so much for making this your home page. It gave me great insight to what other collect. I am def one to collect timeless pieces and I think your collection reflects that.

    Thanks!!

  25. Sandhini
    June 15, 2010 / 6:52 am

    Dear Bag Snob,

    I am 21 years old and my parents want to buy me a Birkin. While I have extensively done my research I am unable to decide which one would suit me the best!

    Do not worry, I plan on buying one that i can timelessly use. I am 5’2″ and quite petite, which means that I have to take the size of the birkin into account. I am also looking for a color that is different (please no black, or orange!) and not white (it may get dirty in India!!) pls pls suggest a color and skin ( i would prefer something sleek like the regular skin or the lizard).

    Also, thanks to you i have extensively started developing my collection so thankkkkk you!!!!

    Regards,

    21 and confused!

  26. Sandhini
    June 15, 2010 / 6:54 am

    Dear Bag Snob,

    I am 21 years old and my parents want to buy me a Birkin. While I have extensively done my research I am unable to decide which one would suit me the best!

    Do not worry, I plan on buying one that i can timelessly use. I am 5’2″ and quite petite, which means that I have to take the size of the birkin into account. I am also looking for a color that is different (please no black, or orange!) and not white (it may get dirty in India!!) pls pls suggest a color and skin ( i would prefer something sleek like the regular skin or the lizard).

    Also, thanks to you i have extensively started developing my collection so thankkkkk you!!!!

    Regards,

    21 and confused!

  27. August 5, 2012 / 9:22 am

    Dear Bag Snobs,

    I was just scanning the internet because during the summertime, I eBay. I know my handbags very well, since I have been doing this for a couple of years now. I got to thrift stores, resale shops, etc. about 3-5 times a week. My best find was an authentic Prada in excellent condition for $4.99! Yesterday, I found a Coach and a Cole Haan handbag, in excellent condition, authentic, they were around $12.00 each. I think handbags are beautiful, and some are really works of art.

    However, I am just a high school English teacher. I find good bags, and I sell them. The profit supplements my income because I work in a very low socioeconomic community. So, I use the money for my students. My long-term goal is to have my own website (“Purses for Pupils” or “Bags for Books.” Any suggestions would be great! I find it a little sad and disturbing that one bag could possibly be triple of the yearly income of any one of my student’s families…probably mine too, and I went to college for seven years.

    I am not saying you are a bad peop at all. I am sure you all work hard, are great people, and you deserve what you buy. I love handbags just as much as you do, and I am a guy! I am just trying to put things into perspective for all of you posting about your expensive bags. The next time you are perusing the bags at Chanel or Hermes, remember the less unfortunate.

    Sincerely,

    J. Robson Koenig

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