This week we celebrate National Handbag Day with a wide-eyed look at some of the top exclusive and expensive designer purses on record. The term “purse” originally referred to a small bag for holding coins. We’ve certainly come a long way from that! The word handbag began appearing in the early 1900s. Now, handbags, purses and totes all fall into that same category of something used to carry your “stuff” around.

You can buy — and sell — vintage brand-name purses at auctions, flea markets and online. Some of the top high end designer brands that we think are the best to collect and that will retain — and even increase — in value are: Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Hermès, Hilde Palladino, Lana Marx, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Mouawad, Prada, Tom Ford, and the ever-sparkling Judith Leiber. Some you will recognize; others, not so much. But if you see them in a thrift store or at a flea market … snap them up! Also, beware of fakes.  If the price is too good to be true, there may be a reason.

If you are looking to buy one or if you have one you want to sell, be sure to check out Popular Apps & Websites to Buy or Sell Collectibles, Household Goods, and More on and the booklet Kovels’ Collectors’ Guide to Handbags for tips.

So — prepare to have your mind blown by some of these purses and prices! Here are 11 of the most exclusive, high priced (and fun!) handbags that have sold at auction, resale or retail.


mouawad 1001 nights diamond purse

Mouawad 1001 Nights diamond purse,  $3.8 million


hermes kelly rose gold handbag

Hermès Kelly Rose Gold handbag,  $2 million


hermes birkin bag by ginza tanaka

Hermès Birkin Bag by Ginza Tanaka,  $1.9 million


hermes chained ancre bag

Hermès Chaine’d Ancre bag,  $1.4 million


lana marks cleopatra clutch

Lana Marks Cleopatra Clutch,  $400,000



chanel diamond forever handbag

Chanel Diamond Forever handbag,  $261,000


fuchsia diamond studded hermes birkin handbag

Hermès Fuchsia Diamond-Studded Birkin Bag,  $222,000



louis vuitton urban satchel bag

Louis Vuitton Urban Satchel, (yes, it’s made of garbage!),  $150,000


hermes quelle idole handbag

Hermès Quelle Idole handbag, $116,549


leiber precious rose handbag

Judith Leiber Precious Rose clutch, $92,000


chanel pearl lego brick clutch

Chanel Pearl Lego Brick clutch,  $15,000




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