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What Designer Bag Has the Best Resale Value?

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Photo: Melodie Jeng/Racked

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This January, a Racked news item about a study claiming that Hermès Birkin bags were a better investment than gold got over 100,000 shares on Facebook. When it comes to designer handbags being a worthwhile place to plunk hundreds or thousands of dollars, we obviously want to believe.

That's why Racked turned to clothing and accessory resale site Tradesy to try to find out what brands' bags hold their value best. Tradesy CEO Tracy DiNunzio shared a year's worth of resale data from 2015, and yes, it turns out that three very pricey bags are worth the hype.

"The safest thing is to buy the classic styles and shapes that are already proven, because they stand the test of time, like the Chanel 2.55 bag or the Louis Vuitton Neverfull or the Hermès Birkin," DiNunzio tells Racked. "You know those will always be in demand and you'll always get a predictable, stable, good return on your investment."

These aren't the only styles of bags that can pay off in terms of resale, of course.

"If you're a gambling woman and you don't mind a little risk, and you trust your own taste in bag style, then you can take a risk on limited edition, or rare, or unique releases from these brands," DiNunzio says, "knowing that in the future, they won't be making more of them, and then some of them do become more valuable than they originally retailed for, but not all of them."

For example, Louis Vuitton's Stephen Sprouse collection is one Tradesy has found doesn't sell particularly well for some reason, perhaps related to the fact that isn't very scarce.

In general, however, Tradesy reports that for top designer bag brands in great condition (with no noticeable damage), sellers earn back an average of 63% of retail value. The typical retail price of a designer handbag sold on Tradesy is $1,100, with a Tradesy resale price of $700.

Read on for more intriguing handbag resale facts, but don't let this stop you from buying a bag you really love. Think of it more as being an educated consumer.

"If you love those brands, and you know that you're going to actually get a lot of wear out of the things you buy, than the resale value just is what it is. You know what it is going into your purchase and you calculate for that in your shopping,"  DiNunzio says.

Photo: Melodie Jeng

Which handbag brands hold their value the best? Tradesy found that Hermès, Chanel, and Goyard were among the brands that held up to retail value. It's a supply and demand situation for these brands: the demand is so high that sellers can actually earn more than the retail price they paid for these brands for new, classic, limited edition, and even vintage styles.

For Hermès, the average bag holds a resale retention value of 72%. For rare leathers and limited color combinations, Hermès sellers can earn an average of 1.3x the retail price. "Hermès bags are remarkably consistent in retaining value, even during a down market," DiNunzio told Racked.

For Goyard, sellers earn on average 1.3x the retail price and for Chanel, sellers earn an average of 86% of retail value on each bag.

Chanel’s classic 2.55 retains at least 85% of its retail value, and if the bag in great condition or has a special skin, it can sell for more than retail.

For more mainstream brands like Louis Vuitton, sellers can earn over 70% of the average retail value. Note: the LV monogram might be coming back, if Rihanna and Selena Gomez have anything to do with it. Tradesy is betting on the Speedy and even created a boutique for it on the site.

Photo: Melodie Jeng

What is one of the highest-priced bags ever sold on Tradesy? A one-of-a-kind Hermès Crocodile Birkin went for over $68,000.

How fast do designer handbag brands sell? The overall speed to sell a designer handbag on the resale is 21 days, but of course, it varies by brand. Tradesy reports that brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, or Givenchy usually sell in less than two weeks. Brands like Marc Jacobs, that are more often discounted at retail, take more than six weeks to sell on average, though a lower price will speed that up.

What's the fastest-selling designer bag? Goyard bags typically sell in less than five days. This brand sells faster than any other designer bag brand on Tradesy, and that might be related to the fact that it’s the least-frequently listed designer bag brand. There are only on average 10 Goyard bags listed on Tradesy each month.

Photo: Melodie Jeng

Most frequently listed designer bag brand? Louis Vuitton is the most frequently-listed designer bag brand on Tradesy, with over 7,000 guaranteed-authentic LV bags listed for sale every month.

Tradesy has possible bad news for Proenza Schouler. Tradesy reports that "the listing frequency for Proenza Schouler has increased four times over 2014, while purchases have increased only increased by two and a half times, suggesting lower demand and less value retention for this brand than the others on the list."

What's an under-the-radar handbag brand with a cult following? That’s MCM bags, of which 80% of all bags listed have sold out in less than a month. MCM bags are listed most frequently in New York, and purchased almost exclusively by buyers on the west coast.

Check out these charts for even more Tradesy reselling data.