As people have realized that Hermès Birkins are a potentially more fruitful investment that the stock market or gold, an entire economy has sprung up around them and the few other designer bags that can demand decent resale prices. So many people want to buy bags at the Hermès flagship boutique in Paris that the store had to institute an appointment system; naturally, that resulted in enterprising locals sleeping on the sidewalk to sell places in line to wealthy shoppers. Now, pawn shops that traditionally have dealt in art and fine jewelry are cashing in.
These aren’t the type of pawn shops that the phrase probably brings to mind; in the original New York Times piece on the topic, the story centers around a family that runs two such locations, the first of which is in Beverly Hills, the second in a Manhattan office building. (The third location is slated for Chicago.) The Beverly Loan Company and New York Loan Company are run by Jordan Tabach-Bank, and although the former has been a family business since 1938, it took until this generation to add handbags to the repertoire, as well as things like fine wine and flatware.
Beyond their posh locations and discreet setups, the pawn shops work similarly to their lower-rent counterparts: people bring in their valuables and receive an amount of money in return, dependent upon value. If the owner returns in an agreed-upon amount of time and repays the loan, he or she can get her bag back. If not, Tabach-Bank is free to recoup his money (and then some) by reselling the bag. Tabach-Bank told the NYT that while many of his clients use the service for high-falutin reasons like accessing quick liquidity for investment purposes, others use it for the same reason anyone fences their belongings: they need some quick cash.
As for which bags work the best for him in which locations, Tabach-Bank, minces no words: neutrals in New York, bright colors in Beverly Hills and Birkins everywhere.
If you needed the cash but wanted to ultimately keep your bag, would you ever consider pawning a Birkin, if you have one?