Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The price of "vintage"

Am I a cheapskate or what?  On one of the blogs I follow, a lady has won a give away of a lovely bag/tote, the retail price being $365.00.  Now I guess I'm going to sound jealous here but let me assure you I am not.  What I would like to say is that I can't see the value in the item.  The bag in question is made from an old German grain sack and made into quite a large tote like bag.  Is the value in the old grain sack, the labour hours it took to make (it's looks like a fairly simple design) or the fact that it can be bought from a business that sells "vintage/antique"?

I am not about criticising people who are earning a living, crafting, designing and spending a lot of time building a business.  I'm questioning whether the pricing of such items is over the top because it has the label "vintage or antique" attached to it?  I have similar issues with branded clothes.  They are made in the same sweat shops in China or India as the clothes you can buy in Target or K-mart, are usually the same quality but cost three and four times the amount, sometimes more.

This really does sound like I'm full of sour grapes but I don't understand when it appears someone is taking advantage of an image or idea and then uses that to tack on a huge price.

I may well be misguided and uneducated on this subject and would be interested in the opinion and viewpoints of other people.  Be brave, let me know what you think if you have the time to comment.


P.S.  I am in no way criticising the concept of give aways on blogs, vintage, antiques, or the lovely lady who won the bag.  It is lovely and she has used it beautifully in her home as a decorative piece.  It's all about the concept.  Just wanted to make that clear.


  1. I'm guessing some people only get satisfaction from spending a whole lot of money for something very simple, partly because they already have everthing else they could possibly ever wish for. I'm fairly sure that the person who buys such a bag has a very different perception of the life in general compared to the other 99% of the worlds population. Remarkable marketing by the company who created the bag!

  2. I can't claim to understand this...and I will admit to being a total cheapskate. I'm an avid thrift shopped, and am so much happier getting 8 pairs pants, a few shirts and a duvet cover for $45 (which we did the other day, yay!), than one pair of jeans. I would pay that much either, despite the fact that I love and appreciate vintage items.

  3. I can understand if an item is old and cannot be reproduced as the maker/technique has gone. An item may take considerable time to make. If it is desirable and lots of people want it then the price will rise. Demand outstrips supply. I can also understand that some items take a lot of designing and the designer has spent years acquiring the skill, so why should they not benefit from their personal investment, if the item is desirable. The same way an accountant or architect has spent years to acquire their skills.

    I have problems understanding the mark up shop make. I know they have overheads and profits to be made, but I can't help thinking that they take the mick. They benefit by buying in bulk. One summer, I worked in a clothes shop. The mark up was astronomical. Too many years ago, so it may have changed now.

    At the end of the day, we all have to make our own choices.

  4. Any reader of my blog will know that I wouldnt pay so much money for a bag - infact I am currently doing my kitchen for hopefully less than £200. I suppose something is worth what someone else is prepared to pay - and lets face it, there are plenty that throw cash away. xxxx

  5. Hi Anne
    This is a really good point you're making. I'm totally with you in the cheapskate camp, as there's no way I'd pay more than £100 for anything, pretty much!
    The word "vintage" is now being used to justify ridiculous prices in the same way that the word "wedding" is used to add at least one zero on the end of a price...
    But, as the saying goes, "it was ever thus..." There will always be products which are stupidly overpriced simply because of the label which is tagged onto the item. Take Burberry or indeed any other celebrity endorsed label for that matter.
    Price has never equated to quality or longevity especially in relation to items which are considered "a la mode" of the moment.
    Denise x

  6. im with Dianne! im a cheapskate.. ebay is my friend.. also if i can do anything myself i will do it myself... I like things - like ive asked for a bracelet for xmas thats sold in shops for £132.. but i found it online for £37.. i told my dad if he didnt get the £37 one i didnt want it because if he spent £132 on it.. i wouldnt wear it because it would be too fancy. make sense? or am i mental? lol

    I think the value might be the labour that went into it? possibly?
    I agree with denise about the word vintage just adding zeros to items!


Thank you for leaving a comment.