Discovering Chanel


By Barbara Conn

The luxury accessories category is among the hottest in the auction market, as smart buyers redefine the meaning of value. That’s why Heritage Auctions schedules five Signature® Auctions per year, featuring rare and limited edition handbags from Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and other designers.


Here are tips to help you realize the highest price at auction for your Chanel handbags. 

What are the most popular Chanel handbag styles at auction?
Unquestionably, rare Runway handbags and limited-edition styles command the greatest attention among collectors. Exceptional pieces will always achieve exceptional results. However, Chanel’s demand reaches beyond their legendary Flap Bags. 

Does Heritage sell any other Chanel products?
Heritage auctions have included limited edition quilted bicycles, surfboards, an acoustic guitar with a lambskin quilted case, snow skis and, of course, their renowned jewelry. 


Chanel Flap Bag
A Chanel Matte Jaune Yellow Crocodile Jumbo Single Flap Bag with Silver Hardware sold for $20,000 at a December 2012 auction.


June 27, 2017
Live: Chicago
Barbara Conn

What is the most expensive Chanel bag Heritage has sold?
Just last year, the most expensive Chanel bag we’ve sold at auction was a matte brown crocodile medium double Flap Bag that realized $23,750. 

What color Chanel handbags are the most popular right now?
Beautiful colors and exotic skins are consistently popular, which speaks to the desire to find rare and exceptional pieces. While black remains traditional and a staple piece, color often brings a premium.

Some of the handbags in auctions start their bidding at $500. Is it really possible to buy a Chanel bag for that price?
While it’s unlikely to acquire a rare or pristine-condition Chanel handbag for $500, there is something for everyone in our auctions, which adds to the anticipation and excitement.

What are popular Chanel handbag styles at auction?
Boy Bags are particularly inspiring. The combination possibilities of size, color and skin continue attracting collectors of all ages. One of my favorite Boy Bags featured lambskin leather and stingray. It sold for $5,625. Whether it’s a Boy Bag or a classic 2.55 Flap Bag, what really drives bidders to auctions is rarity. Once a limited edition or Runway style sells out, there is an immediate jump to the auction market to locate these pieces.


Chanel Brooch
This Chanel Black Enamel Flower Brooch realized $1,250 at a February 2017 Heritage auction.

Which Chanel handbags get the best return at auction?
If you can get your hands on a Runway bag, and then keep it in its original packaging, you’re going to make a splash at auction. If you’re buying with the intention to carry for a season and then offer at auction, again, maintaining its condition will allow you to recoup the greatest portion of your investment. 

Keep the dust bag and box that the handbag originally came in.
Handbag collectors buying at auction, just like handbag collectors buying at retail, want their items complete – so dust bags and boxes are always appreciated. While not having these rarely exclude a bidder’s interest for a specific item, I recommend to those considering selling in the future to store their handbag in its original dust bag to maintain its condition.


BARBARA CONN is consignment director for luxury accessories at Heritage Auctions in Chicago.