Every handbag has a story. If you look through your collection, you can probably recount how you came to love each bag, where you purchased it, and probably even what was going on in your life at the time. That’s why there are so many ardent vintage aficionados in fashion circles; not only does buying a pre-owned piece represent an opportunity to get a great value for your money, it gives you access to endless pieces of unique personal history from fellow fashion fiends. When you purchase one of the incredible designer bags from Bonhams’ upcoming Handbags and Jewelry Auction, you may very well get a look into one of those histories.
Bonhams’ pieces include everything from exotic Hermes bags to a vintage Louis Vuitton trunk from the 1920s, to Gucci bags in their original boxes. Most come from the private collections of women who would rather not be named, as is often the case with auctions. Others, though, come with a name and story attached. For example, the auction includes numerous Judith Leiber crystal-studded minaudières in shapes ranging from polar bears to asparagus, all of which come from the estate of Dr. Nancy Walls-Williams, a groundbreaking scientist and one of the first female faculty members at Georgia Tech, way back in the 1950s. If Leiber isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps you’ll find something in the 25-piece Hermes and Louis Vuitton collection of Erna de Paz Ortiz Basualdo, a member of a prominent Argentinean family that entertained the Prince of Wales and other royals on their visits to Buenos Aires in the early 1900s.
Once someone has owned it, a bag isn’t just a bag anymore – it becomes a piece of a woman’s story. Check out our favorite pieces below or peruse the entire catalog, which also includes jewelry, via Bonhams. The handbag auction will take place on November 18th, as part of a 2-day Period Art & Design auction at the Bonhams showroom in Los Angeles and is now online at Bonhams.com.