Saturday, 3 June 2017


From time to time my husband makes rather rude comments about my shoes, usually along the line of my middle name being Imelda. Yes, I have quite a few pairs of shoes - not as many, however, as some people I know - but mostly it's because I look after them. It seems silly to throw something out when you might make use of it again. Which I do. I like to ring the changes. And when I have decided that there is no likelihood of my ever wearing certain shoes again, I take them along to one of those shoe-banks so that someone else can make use of them.

At least I don't have umpteen pairs of almost identical brown boots lining the hall!

Then there are the handbags, once again amassed over years. Some people buy a new bag and use it ALL the time, until it is thoroughly worn out or until they have grown so heartily sick of it that they never ever want to see it again. Me, I prefer to have different bags for different outfits, different colours and styles, large bags for the days when I need to carry a load of stuff around and small, neat bags for days when I need little more than my keys, my purse and my mobile phone.

However, perhaps I should have a new philosophy towards handbags. It would seem that handbags should be regarded as an investment. Christie's auction house has been holding a handbag sale. None of your bargain-basement stuff here. We are talking about bags expected to sell for £100,000 to £150,000. And that's for secondhand bags!

There is an auction catalogue where each bag is described in detail and graded. A grade 1 bag shows "no signs of use or wear" and comes in its original packaging. (My handbags' original packaging would usually be a plastic carrier bag, which I don't think would add much to the value!) A grade 6 bag is damaged and requires repair but is still "considered in fair condition". Of course these are bags with trimmings such as white gold and diamond clasps. (I wonder if my Kipling bags would retain their value because they still come along with the original Kipling monkey.)

Apparently the most expensive and most sought after is the Hermès Birkin, named for singer, actress, all round famous Jane Birkin. They cost £5000 new but there is a waiting list for them and they are picky about who goes in their waiting list. Presumably they increase in value over time, for most of the rich women buying such bags on the auction circuit do so for the investment value. As with works of art, they end up spending most of their time locked away somewhere. How sad!

The whole things becomes rather weird and silly. Christie's auction house has a "head of handbags". Who knew that such a profession could exist? I wonder if the gentleman concerned ever thought when he was a child growing up that he might one day have such a job. I also wonder how much he is paid to sell secondhand bags.

How the other half lives!

The people who buy such bags live in a level of society that doesn't need to be concerned about education cuts, NHS spending, food banks or the rights and wrongs of spending money on nuclear defence systems. They clearly have more money than anyone can possibly need and should be paying more taxes!

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