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How to store, protect, and enjoy your luxury handbag collection

designer handbag collection

Like many collectibles these days, the pre-loved market for luxury handbags is growing faster than primary retail sales. With online and auction sites now touting preowned and vintage luxury handbags, collectors are seeking out secondhand bags for their value and sustainability–both for personal enjoyment and as an investment.

According to Bonham’s, “Until about 10 years ago nobody really thought about collecting handbags seriously. But what you see nowadays is that if you look after your handbag collection, it can appreciate in value far quicker than more traditional categories.” In fact, Hermès Birkin bags have increased in value by 500% in the last 35 years – that’s 14% per year.*

Three of the most collectible bags include the Hermès Birkin, Hermès Kelly, and Chanel Classic Flap bag.


How to store your luxury handbag

Like any investment, a luxury handbag is only as good as the condition it’s in. That’s why it’s so important to store your bag the right way. To keep it in top condition, store your handbag:

  • Empty of everyday items but stuffed with archival fillers, such as acid-free paper or a purse pillow (not bubble wrap), to help keep its shape.
  • Inside a soft, breathable dust bag or cotton pillowcase of a neutral color (to prevent color transfer). Wrap any exposed hardware (including buckles and zipper pulls) in lint-free cloth to prevent imprints on your bag over time. If there is a detachable shoulder strap, remove and store it inside the bag or in a separate dust bag.
  • Inside the original box with the lid open to allow air to circulate. You can also store the bag inside a dust bag, upright on an open shelf. It should be out of direct sunlight, in the dark and away from heat sources such as radiators and hair dryers.
  • In a climate-controlled room with a stable relative humidity (RH) between 45-55%.
  • If the RH is too low, tanned leather will become brittle over time. If it is too high, the leather may develop mold. A fluctuating RH can also cause leather to become darker and brittle. Do not use moisture-absorbing sachets to try to control humidity, as they can dry out leather.


How to keep your bag in good condition while you’re using it

Like any organic material, leather needs time to rest, breathe, and recover from daily use. After every use, consider emptying your handbag and removing any loose dirt and dust from the leather and hardware with a dry lint-free microfiber cloth. If your handbag is made of suede, use a suede brush to remove dirt and restore the natural texture after each use.

Also consider these tips to protect your handbag from wear and tear:

  • Avoid oily, alcohol or perfume-based products.
  • Avoid rubbing against dark, textured, or embellished clothing.
  • Keep any sharp objects like keys, nail files, and pens in pouches to avoid leaving scratches on the leather inside of your bag. Make sure water bottles, make-up, or other spillable items are tightly sealed to avoid leaving stains.
  • Use a portable handbag hanger to hang the bag instead of placing it on the floor when not in use. This will help ensure it is not exposed to dirt, glass shards, liquids, or people stumbling over or stepping on it.
  • Avoid packing heavy or bulky objects inside the bag to help it stay in proper shape.
  • Keep it away from water. Always cover your bag to protect it from rain, as water can leave leather stained and blistered.
  • Have your bag professionally cleaned and restored it if it suffers severe water stains or other marks. Consider reaching out to your seller’s after-sales service team and consulting with a professional specialist.


How to protect your luxury handbag so you can enjoy it for years to come

As with any other valuable you take with you, make sure to keep your bag on your person or within sight and reach at all times, never leaving it unattended or in a vehicle where it could be stolen or damaged.

To protect your collection at home, consider installing a central home alarm system that includes a monitored motion sensor in the room where your handbags are stored. Be sure to arm any accessible doors or window openings, even if they are above the ground level.

And, as always, talk to your insurance agent or broker about a Valuable Articles policy that can help protect your luxury handbag collection so they can last a lifetime and beyond.


This document is advisory in nature and is offered as a resource to be used together with your professional insurance advisors in maintaining a loss prevention program. It is an overview only and is not intended as a substitute for consultation with your insurance broker, or for legal, engineering or other professional advice.

Chubb is the marketing name used to refer to subsidiaries of Chubb Limited providing insurance and related services. For a list of these subsidiaries, please visit our website at Insurance provided by ACE American Insurance Company and its U.S. based Chubb underwriting company affiliates. All products may not be available in all states. This communication contains product summaries only. Coverage is subject to the language of the policies as actually issued. Surplus lines insurance sold only through licensed surplus lines producers. Chubb, 202 Hall's Mill Road, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889-1600.

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