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The ultimate guide to buying vintage and preloved Chanel bags | Where and what Chanel bags to buy secondhand

Here’s everything you need to know about buying vintage and preloved Chanel bags: Why you should buy Chanel secondhand, where to buy vintage Chanel bags in London and which Chanel leathers and styles fit your needs best. From designer handbags that can only be sourced secondhand to the handbag with the highest resale value in 2023, find out the best Chanel bags to purchase second hand today. 

Why should you buy Chanel bags second hand?


The resale value of Chanel handbags have hiked up big time with its primary market price increases. Aside from doubling in value over the past 3 years, Chanel handbags saw a staggering 21% price increase in 2022 alone. Now exhibiting an average value retention of 87% on the secondary market, it’s looking like it won’t be much longer until certain Chanel handbags will be reselling for more than their primary market value. What does smart and savvy spending look like? Preloved. Sourcing second hand Chanel bags from luxury reseller’s offers buyers the opportunity to beat the Chanel price increases and access the designer brand’s most coveted handbags for a more accessible price point. 

In addition to their new pricing strategy, Chanel has started to place limits on the number of flap bags their customers can purchase a year to two. With the intention of making it increasingly difficult to access Chanel bags retail-first, it’s starting to look like the brand is trying to compete with its ultra-luxury counterpart: Hermès. Following inaccessibility comes higher resale value – We’ve seen it happen with the Hermès Birkin and Kelly. Put simply, the time is now to invest in a Chanel bag before they’re both hard to get your hands on and more expensive to buy secondhand… Not to mention the favourable return on investment guaranteed in 2-3 years time.


We’ve been hearing a lot of buyers ask whether it’s actually worth purchasing a new Chanel bag in 2022, given the decreased quality of materials used in the bags manufacturing. All Chanel bags manufactured post 2008 only use 18ct gold hardware, whilst models made prior to 2008 used 24ct gold. With the abundance of vintage Chanel bags sold on the secondhand market, you’re able to access models made with 24ct gold. This is always a smart investment because these models tend to have a higher average value retention on the secondhand market, thus, you could resell your preloved vintage Chanel bag for more than current season models. Sell your preloved Chanel bag online and in the UK here. 

That being said, there are far more choices on the secondhand market. It’s always such a treat accessing Chanel’s discontinued, or, current season models that are sold out nearly everywhere, like the fan-favourite Chanel heart bag that everyone has been obsessing over since its release for Spring-Summer 22.  


The most obvious benefit of buying secondhand is that we create less waste, which prevents adding to the 85% of textiles that are landfilled each year. Given the emergency of the climate-crisis, the circulation of luxury goods is crucial as we move towards a more sustainable future for the fashion industry. Did you know that if every person wore a preloved outfit to Christmas alone, the CO2 emissions saved would be equivalent to taking 56 million cars off the road for that day? Join the sustainable fashion movement and start shopping for second hand designer clothes, bags, accessories and shoes today.

Where to buy second hand Chanel bags?

It’s a given when sourcing vintage designer bags: only go to trusted luxury resellers with credible authentication measures in place. Since the 1980s, all authentic Chanel bags come with authenticity cards embossed with a serial number that should match the number appearing on a label inside the bag's interior lining. However, not all owners have their authenticity cards handy, and since relying on the naked eye to verify authenticity is far from sensible, we always recommend going to trusted resellers who use innovative technologies to authenticate luxury goods. At Sign of the Times we use Entrupy: Machine learning AI algorithms used on microscopic images of counterfeit goods to distinguish between counterfeit and genuine second hand designer handbags. The innovative technology was introduced in 2012 and has a 99.1% accuracy rate, ensuring your secondhand shopping experience is counterfeit-free.

Chanel has always been a top selling brand at Sign of the TimesVintage classic flap bags, coming in all sizes and leathers, being amongst the most coveted by our #SignCircle clientele. If you’re looking for vintage Chanel bags in the UK, you can visit our second hand designer store in Chelsea, London, where you can meet our incredible collection of Chanel shoulder bags, tote bags, cross-body bags and more in person. Or, click here to browse our selection of preloved Chanel bags online. 

If you can’t find our dream handbag, do check out our personal sourcing service. With over 45 years experience in sourcing and selling preloved designer handbags, our team know their way around the secondhand luxury market and can personally assist in finding your dream Chanel bag here.

Which Chanel leather should you pick: Lambskin or Caviar?

Caviar Leather 

Chanel Classic flap bag with black caviar leather and gold hardware

Caviar is Chanel’s best-selling leather and tends to sell out fast. Due to its pebbled finish, it’s extremely durable. It does a fantastic job at holding its shape over time and remaining pretty scratch-free, so you don’t have to worry about bumping the bag around or the corners wearing down easily with time. If you’re looking to resell your handbag in the future, you’re guaranteed a higher return on investment as bags kept in good condition resell for more. However, due to its textured finish, Caviar leather doesn’t absorb colour as well, which can appear quite dulled in the sunlight and has a more casual look. 

Caviar leather is the one for you if you’re looking for an extremely durable every-day bag, with a casual look. We recommend opting for cross-bodies such as the Chanel classic flap bag in maxi sizes or Chanel accessories like wallets and card holders. As these handbags with caviar leather tend to have a higher resale value, we recommend opting for timeless neutral colours like Black or beige – they tend to resell best. 

Lambskin Leather 

Chanel Lambskin leather has a smooth, soft finish and gives off a very luxurious feel, whilst the leather quilt appears puffier than Caviar. Lambskin bags exude utter elegance and class, making it the perfect evening bag. As the leather absorbs colour best, it’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for a Chanel bag coming in a vibrant colour or true black. You’ll find that most current season Chanel bags come in lambskin leather. The downside is, however, that this leather is very delicate. They are prone to scratches and can wear down easily over time, so you should be prepared to ensure the leather is well looked after and to use it in rotation amongst other handbags

What are the best Chanel bags to buy second hand?

Highest resale value in 2022: Coco Top Handle  

The mini Chanel with Top Handle currently has an average value retention of 157% on the secondhand market, making it the Chanel best handbag to invest in for a profitable return on investment. Word on the street is that these models will only be released in lambskin leather from now on, so we recommend going for a preloved Caviar model. Mini sizes are very in at the moment, and the addition of a top-handle to the coveted rectangular silhouette has everyone OBSESSED. 

Durable and timeless: The Classic Flap Bag

We’ve analyzed a year’s worth of data to illustrate what’s trending on the luxury resale market, and we’re seeing consumers gravitate back to both the Y2K comebacks and vintage classics. classics and 2000s comebacks. Amongst the Hermès Birkin, Lady Dior, Fendi Baguette and Prada Re-edition revival, stands the coveted Chanel Classic flap bag. The Chanel classic flap bag is utterly timeless, and has been a fan-favourite since Coco Chanel first introduced the 2.55. Karl Lagerfeld’s reinterpretation of the 2.55 is known for it's double flap opening, diamond quilting pattern and rich burgundy interior, with the addition of a leather woven strap. Every designer handbag collection needs a classic flap – you simply can’t go wrong here. Shop Preloved Chanel Flap Bags now. 

Budget-friendly: Chanel Wallet-on-Chain (WOC) 

Probably the best entry level bag at preloved prices, the Chanel WOC starts around £3000 at retail and can be accessed well under £2000 secondhand. Albeit technically not a bag, it’s still one of the most popular Chanel bags of all time and makes the perfect bag for a night out. You can wear it as a crossbody bag, a shoulder bag or even carry it as a clutch. The Chanel WOC makes a great first Chanel bag, especially if you’re looking for a Chanel piece that isn’t as pricey as its larger counterparts. 

What’s hot right now: Chanel 19

We absolutely love the Parisian extravagance of the Chanel 19. Released in 2019 and coming in tritone metals (gold, silver and ruthenium), this iconic Chanel handbag is an absolute show-stopper. Looks aside, the piece is very functional and can be worn as a cross-body, shoulder-bag or even around the wrist with its chain top handle. Thanks to Cardi B and Katie Holmes, the Chanel 19 became a modern fashion sensation overnight – It’s definitely the Chanel bag for you if you’re looking for something coveted, but different.

Chanel bag that you can only buy second hand: The Filigree Vanity Case

The Chanel Filigree Vanity Case was originally released for Chanel’s Spring Summer 2016 collection and went on to be successful for years to follow. Even though this exact model has been discontinued from the Chanel lineup, the chic and timeless bag continues to be a fan favourite today. 

The beauty of vintage is sourcing bags that you’re not seeing all over the high street, so you can’t go wrong with discontinued Chanel bags. The Filigree Vanity Case bag is great choice, and can be used as a day or night bag. We especially love it in it's mini or small sizes. 

Final Note

Don’t hesitate to contact us at 07801535153 if you have any queries about sourcing preloved Chanel handbags near you, online or in the UK. As always, our team would be delighted to answer any of your questions and help you source your dream designer bag