How to Sell: Vintage Purses

Ah, vintage purses. I love them! There are so many styles and colors and shapes and personalities in these little guys. You can find any kind to match your outfit. Or you can find an outfit to match your purse! (There’s nothing wrong with that…)

The only problem is that there might be too many options. There are a lot of makers and styles and sometimes it can be hard to keep them all straight.

Not to worry! That’s why I’m here.

First up, let’s talk about some makers that we come across a lot:

Hmm…well, it turns out that most of our bags don’t actually have tags in them. This isn’t surprising given the time period these were made in. The one manufacturer that we come across a lot is Whiting & Davis.

This is a genuine Whiting & Davis purse! It’s one of their new designs (still mid-century, though!) and so it’s not quite worth as much as those antique mesh bags.

Whiting & Davis was founded in 1876 and was well known for their beautiful metal mesh handbags. They tend to have a Victorian feel about them, and were once (and still may be) well known amongst celebrities – which probably helped the popularity of their purses. They make more than just handbags now, but this was once their main staple and is what is usually associated with their name.

Next, let’s talk about the different types of handbags.

There are a lot of kinds of bags in this category, but here are some of the more popular ones for vintage purses:

1. Baguette – These are usually rectangular in shape and have a short handle. They fit nicely under your arm.

This is a hard-case baguette. Very 1950s!

2. Change Purse/Wristlet – Generally placed inside an actual purse, sometimes change purses are used if you just want to carry a small amount of money on you instead. They come in a whole range of varieties and styles, and are nice if you don’t want to worry about hauling around a clunky bag. A wristlet is a very tiny purse that just has a strap that slips over your wrist. Its purpose can be just like the change purse and is usually only used for the bare necessities.

This is small like a change purse, but the strap is too long for either option. It’s a metal mesh purse, but isn’t made by Whiting & Davis.

3. Clutch – These purses don’t have any straps on them, which can be a little inconvenient. However, they’re often the most simplistic and elegant looking purses and I usually associate them with evening gowns and the red carpet.

A perfectly plum clutch!

4. Evening Bag – This is less about the shape of the purse and more about the style. Clutches and baguettes are generally used as evening purses. What’s more important here is the glitz and glamour that the bag imbues.

Shiny and gold, perfect for making your evening gown complete!

Lastly, let’s look at how we should buy and sell them.

This part is pretty easy. I’ve found that just about any type of purse sells. Condition is the most important factor here. After that, look for something that just screams “retro.” Those distinctive styles will sell better than others.

Typical rules apply to selling vintage purses – list the condition, the colors, the makers, etc. Be sure to mention what decade you think the purse is from, as buyers will probably be looking for a certain style from a certain era. If you’re not sure, just guess – but state that you aren’t 100% positive.

In the end, the purse will choose the buyer. As long as you have lots of clear pictures and an in-depth description, you should do just fine!

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2 thoughts on “How to Sell: Vintage Purses

  1. Jo Cluck says:

    I have two vintage W&D mesh bags that I would like to sell but need pricing guide. Thank you. Mine is similar to the mesh change purse shown above, but much prettier! 🙂 Thank you.

  2. Bonnie says:

    Where can I sell my vintage purse
    I’m looking for a collector. Have tryed eBay and Etsy. No sucess

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