Chanel bags are amongst the most popular handbags to sell at auction. Fetching fantastic prices year on year, the Chanel bag is the ultimate fashion investment. One of the most significant, popular and sought-after designers on the market, Chanel has been producing beautiful bags from the 1950s onwards. Producing some of the most desirable handbags on the market, such as the Classic Double Flap, Boy, Tote and 2.55 bags, Chanel sells exceptionally well under the hammer with collectors vying for a designer handbag at a fraction of the retail price.
Image 1: A Chanel In The Mix Shoulder Bag, circa 2012-3, the beige quilted calf leather exterior with smooth black leather detailing, gold tone hardware, interlace chain and black leather strap, serial no. 17422353. With maker's authenticity card and dust bag.
Price realised: £1,586.
Chanel was the result of an unrivalled creativity and business insight of its founder Gabrielle Bonheur 'Coco' Chanel. Opening her first shop at Rue Cambon in 1910, Chanel sold her own designs of clothing to great success, quickly opening two further stores before 1920. At this stage Chanel added to her stock inventory and began to retail the infamour No.5 perfume, as well as make-up and costume jewellery.
Chanel built a hugely successful business retailing fashion, fragrance and jewellery. However after World War Two, the house style of Chanel was reimagined. Chanel had originally designed the 2.55 back in 1929, but finally in February 1955, the 2.55 bag was updated and named after its release date. This handbag has its place in design history, with a long shoulder strap that for the first time allowed a woman's hands to be free whilst worn. The original 2.55 was produced in black leather with a gold-tone chain shoulder strap, a colour combination that remains the most popular to this day. Karl Lagerfeld's appointment as Artistic Director in 1983 only furthered the output of sensational bags, including the Classic, Boy, Grand Shopping Tote, Wallet on Chain, Perfume Bottle, and countless other coveted bags.
Image 2: A Limited Edition Chanel Union Jack Shoulder Bag, circa 2008-9, with gold tone maker's logo, red and white lambskin and blue suede exterior, with chain handle, serial no. 12336431.
Price Realised: £793.
Chanel has been a sought-after luxury brand for decades, however, it has been the in the last ten years or so that demand for Chanel handbags at auction has soared. The result of a combination of retail price hikes, the access of international collectors to auctions through online bidding, the guaranteed authentication that our specialist sales offer as well as the discontinuation of lines and limited edition bags, the popularity of Chanel has never been greater. Both buyers and vendors benefit from this upward curve in demand, with collectors gaining access to more pieces than ever, and buyers receiving record prices for their unworn pieces!
Chanel bags all the way from the mid 20th century to present day sell brilliantly well, with varying collectors circles seeking different attributes! For purist collectors of Chanel bags, the bags produced before 2008 represent a 'golden era,' when the hardware was plated with real 24ct gold plated hardware. From 2008 onwards, gold-tone hardware has been used in the production of all bags. However, the fashion-forward collectors bid fiercely for modern pieces, particularly those limited edition or 'it-bags' that are either unavailable or unaffordable through retail channels.
Chanel announced that they would be stopping the use of exotic skins in their bags in 2018, namely snakes, crocodiles, lizards and more. The reason for this was their difficulty obtaining responsibly sourced skins. As a result, we expect both demand and prices to dramatically increase for exotic skin Chanel bags, especially those from the 2018 seasons, so do get in touch if you are after an up-to-date and confidential auction valuation.
"Tired of holding my bags in my hands and losing them, I added a strap and wore them over my shoulder" Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel
As mentioned, the Chanel 2.55 bag was where it all began, released in February 1955. This instantly recognisable classic featured a quilted leather exterior, allegedly inspired by Coco's love for equestrianism. With a rectangular twisting 'mademoiselle turnlock', and revolutionary shoulder chain strap with signature flat metal links that are both distinctive features of the original 2.55 design.
The 2.55 remained unchanged until the 1980s, with the introduction of the CC logo clasp by Karl Lagerfeld. This design quickly soared to popularity and production of the 2.55 was briefly halted, before its revival in 2005 to celebrate the firm's 50th anniversary, named the Reissue 2.55.
The vintage Chanel 2.55 bags capture a great deal of interest from Chanel collectors and brand enthusiasts alike. An example of a 1960s 2.55 bag is currently on show in the Victoria & Albert's Bags: Inside Out exhibition, showing the historical significance of this revolutionary bag. The 2.55 Reissue bags also sell well at auction, with higher prices awarded to those in pristine condition, with authenticity cards and boxes.
The Chanel Classic Bag, or 11.2 Bag, was Karl Lagerfeld's 1980s interpretation of Chanel's 2.55 bag. The Classic bag featured some distinctive new features, most notoriously the famed CC turnlock clasp, acting as a Chanel 'seal' on the design. The Classic bag also boasted an iconic chain, interlaced with leather, adding a softer appeal to the flat link chain of the 2.55. Despite these changes, much of the original design remained, with the diamond quilted exterior, burgundy red lining inspired by Chanel's childhood in a convent, zip to inside flap and back outer pocket all borrowed from Chanel's original creation.
Most of the Classic bags feature the popular Double Flap Feature, with the CC stitching to the interior. These prove to be the most popular at auction, although Single Flap Classic Bags also retain an appeal thanks to their streamlined profile when worn (see image 6).
The Classic Double Flap is the bag that is widely seen at auction, in a variety of designs, and finishes in sizes small, medium or jumbo. The classic black and gold colour combination always reaches healthy prices that are continuing to rise, whilst unusual and rare combinations fetch a premium of their own.
Image 3: A Chanel Classic Double Flap Bag, circa 1989-91, the black quilted leather exterior with gold-tone hardware and chain handles, serial no. 1601799, with maker's authenticity card.
Price Realised: £3,538.
Image 4: A rare Chanel Classic Medium Double Flap handbag, circa 1991-4, the beige quilted lambskin leather exterior with gold and silver-tone locking clasp, gold-tone double chain shoulder strap, serial number 2827451. Dimensions 26 x 16 x 7cm. With maker's authenticity card.
Price Realised: £2,196.
Image 5: A Chanel Classic Double Flap Handbag, circa 1994 - 1996, the black quilted lambskin leather exterior with gold-tone locking clasp, gold-tone double chain shoulder strap, serial number 3067126. With maker's authenticity card and dust bag.
Price Realised: £2,928.
Image 6: A Chanel Mademoiselle Timeless Full Flap Shoulder Bag, circa 1997-9, the black quilted calf leather exterior with interlaced chain straps and gold tone hardware, serial no. 5145297. With maker's dustbag, card, and box.
Price Realised: £1,952.
Chanel Tote Bags come up to auction in a range of designs, colours and features. With either leather, rolled, chain, or combination handles and a plethora of finishes, these bags are often discontinued and so only available to collectors on the secondary market, as such commanding a premium for their rarity and versatility.
Both collectable and functional, the Chanel Tote Bags, whether in the Turnlock, Cerf, Shopper or Medallion designs, continue to sell well at auction.
Image 7: A Chanel Front Pocket Turnlock Tote Bag, circa 1996-7, the orange quilted caviar calf leather exterior with orange leather strap and gold tone hardware, serial no. 4112158. With maker's authenticity card.
Price Realised: £1,049.
Image 8: A Chanel Cerf Tote Bag, circa 2008-9, the white grained calf leather exterior with white leather straps and silver-tone hardware, serial no. 12381545. With shoulder strap, maker's authenticty card and pouch.
Price Realised: £1,269.
Image 9: A Chanel CC Turnlock Shopping Tote Bag, circa 1991-4, the black caviar leather, with front pocket and gold-tone double 'C' monogram, double woven leather and gold-tone straps with leather shoulder panels, lambskin leather lining, zip compartment, serial number 2896749, with care card and booklet.
Price Realised: £1,220.
Image 10: A Chanel Medallion Tote Bag, circa 1997-9, the black velvet quilted canvas exterior with black canvas strap and gold tone hardware, serial no. 5411744.
Price Realised: £1,159.
The Chanel Boy Bag was introduced by Karl Lagerfeld in Spring/Summer 2012. Named after Chanel's first love, Boy Capel, the Boy bag indeed has a masculine edge with its rectangular shape, large shoulder gourmette chain strap and graphic turnlock clasp.
Chanel Boy Bags have only appeared in auctions in the last couple of years, and sold extraordinarily well. Most Boy Bags of a standard size are reaching a base rate of £2,000 on the hammer, with increasing prices for sought-after colourways and materials.
For a free, confidential, and up-to-date auction valuation of your Chanel bags by appointment or house visit, and for possible entry into our specialist Designer Auctions, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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