Purchasing a trunk is a real investment. You do not actually spend 200 euros at a flea market but 2K, 5K, 10K, 25K euros… this is a lot of money, it does require a lot of attention.
Such an investment should never be paid in cash.
For you customer, there is no advantage in paying cash the purchasing price.
Some might think they will save the amount of VAT by proceeding that way; it is actually a mistake simply because the standard VAT does not apply on a vintage item.
Remember: A salesman asking you to pay in cash will not report this sale and will not produce any invoice. The invoice replaces the warranty so, no invoice means no warranty.
Now, in most cases, a salesman asking you to pay in cash also buys in cash. In our trade this becomes pretty common knowledge quickly and stolen items as well as those of doubtful origin, with no warranty, will be sold in priority to that salesman as no document allowing any traceability is presented.
Always ask about the origin of the item(s) you wish to purchase, it is important to check. True professionals systematically comply with the legal principals when buying from someone.
i.e. they ask:
- an official ID document to the person selling to them
- an invoice if buying from someone of the same professional field / a certificate of sale when buying from a private individual.
And all those documents are to be recorded in the so-called company’s POLICE BOOKS.
So, in French law, only an invoice is a warranty, no other type of certificate is needed. And on that invoice, require the full and precise description of the trunk you are purchasing e.g. size, colour, type of protective corner, of lock,…. and not just: Mail Trunk Damier Louis Vuitton number X, Y, Z
A detailed description is important.
HOW TO BUY and WHERE?
Absolute best practice is to purchase a trunk you have seen in real, an item you can touch. Do not even hesitate to travel to the boutique or restoration workshop it will cost you always far less than a potential mishap.
FROM A PROFESSIONAL WITH A WELL-ESTABLISHED SHOP WINDOW
The best solution. Could be a renowned vendor, a professional with the chips, an antique dealer, in the fairs, from an auctioneer…
When looking for luxury items, avoid the small and micro-enterprises run by auto-entrepreneurs; also avoid second hand shops selling fake artifacts among authentic ones that have an old trunk on the back.
A trunk of great luxury can cost 10, 15 up to 90K euros, when the maximum turnover an auto-entrepreneur is allowed to report on an annual basis is 80K; this means he cannot have enough choice in stock and he cannot sell more than 8 or 9 pieces every year…. unless he doesn’t produce any invoice!
è We have the biggest stock (300+ pieces) in Europe, the largest choice, and we are reporting an annual turnover of c. 600K euros.
If you cannot come and see us, there are 8 companies in that same field of activity, out of which 4 located in France (3 in Paris).
If you are French it is safer to purchase from a reliable vendor.
è By preference, make an appointment, go and visit the workshops, meet the salesman, check if all restorations are performed on site or outsourced. Ask questions, ask for explanations about the History of that trunk you want to purchase… and if you can’t go on site call the salesman and speak with him over the phone.
è Make sure he has enough choice. This type of purchase should be done after comparing many different models. Never buy the first piece you see or like, but
- bring that item in another room or place of the shop
- check the size and proportions of it
- all 6 faces
AT AN AUCTION HOUSE? Not ideal!
Auctions held at e.g. Drouot, Artcurial,… in Paris or in provinces of France are often trusted by merchants but still, you can make some good deals there. Now, it is crucial you are yourself personally sitting it the room where the auction is held. Do not make any bid via the phone for a piece you did not see in real. In 70 per cent of all cases, pictures are misleading.
e.g. some real life-examples which have happened to us :
- the faces of the flat trunk shown on the picture were fine, but the person who was selling that prestigious luggage had omitted to tell us the grey Trianon cloth was missing on the back side
- the handles were tired, and broke when we unpacked the trunk delivered to our address by the commissioner
- the trunk was locked, there was no key delivered with the trunk, no one had told nor warned us
- our payment has been processed but the auctioneer refused to pack and send the trunk we purchased
Etc… hundreds of true sad stories!
Also do not forget that, so absorbed in the excitement of the auction process you can be lead to pay a too high price and forget all the fees coming on top of that purchase price such as the 25% fee billed by the auctioneer VAT included (the VAT is charged on the auctioneer’s fee and not on the full value of the item sold)
Twice a year we sell via an auction house: in 100 per cent of the cases, the trunks have been bought at a much higher price than the set and net selling price we sell those trunks at our boutique.
ON THE INTERNET? Not ideal!
Either you buy from a professional and the only risk you have is to pay the fee to return the trunk you bought but eventually do not like (by law in France, in distance selling, you benefit from a set fixed time-limit of 14 days to return goods which do not fulfill your expectations).
Or, you are tempted to buy privately but accept the risks
- the piece you want doesn’t exist
- all different kinds of fraud
- visible defects,
- piece delivered is a substitute and do not comply with what you had purchased
BOUGHT DIRECTY FROM AN INDIVIDUAL? Yes, but…
It might be worth to buy a trunk from someone you meet. Now, do not hesitate to take some pictures and send them to a skilled professional BEFORE you buy.
That professional can give you some good advices and also give you a quotation for a restoration or for a restoration + customization, if this would be something you would consider at a later stage.
It will eventually give you an idea of a global cost price
Lots of our customers proceed that way; they have found in an old attic or bought a very old Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Moynat, Aux Etats-Unis,… trunk, they then contact us. Only the craftsmen working at our workshop know how to restore trunks in the respect and compliance of the original brand. You will always be happily surprise!
I remember well an American customer. This gentleman had bought at a flea market for 500 € a trunk completely covered with a verdigris crust. After the restoration it turned out to be a rare Vuitton trunk in brass. If the cost of the restoration was much higher than the purchase price, in the end it was only 10 per cent of the total value of this splendid trunk. This gentleman had checked with us the price for a restoration before buying that piece.
In London, in Hong-Kong, you find the most beautiful luggage boutiques in the world and we are the suppliers of those vendors. This counts for almost 50 per cent of our annual turnover.
It also means two things:
- The most renowned brands are French this is what their clients want to buy.
- Their selling price is automatically higher because of the exorbitant costs of the rent (40K € monthly) and to operate in the chic neighbourhood of those cities
Being located in a province of France, we pay 2,000 € monthly with 400sqm of space.
WHICH MODEL TO BUY?
There are 2 major groups of trunks.
- The decorative type: from 200 to 3,000 euros
In that category, it is mainly an impulse purchase.
In the end, isn’t it better to spend 500 euros for a beautiful and unique trunk to make a nice decoration, than spend 100 euros in some “Swedish product”? ;-)
- The luxury type : from 10K euros up to 100K euros
In the luxury category, (investment), the whole market falls under 4 or 5 brands e.g. Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Moynat followed by Aux Etats-Unis, les Selleries Réunies, Hartmann, Oshkosh, Au Départ…
More common is the model, easier it is to resell it.
Rarer is the model, higher gets its sales potential and stable is its value.
Lesser the trunk has been restored optimal is its authenticity but not necessarily its value. All is all about balance and the right blend.
In fine, people do not often opt in the restoration of a current model but almost systematically when a substantial restoration is needed on a very unique and desirable item.
What is crucial is to know what you are buying. The salesman must give you all explanation, all information on where this trunk is coming from and if any first restoration has already been done on it.
TRANSPORTATION AND DELIVERY?
Make sure the man who is about to deliver to you the trunk you have purchased
- has an insurance to do so
- has all the needed packaging equipment
i.e. protective cushions, chocks, protective corners and angles, bubble wrap, cardboards,…. You need 20sqm at least to store all this equipment!
TO SUM UP:
- Make sure to check whom you are buying from (find the information, check if any TV / magazine report is available, call a professional, he knows who is reliable and who is not)
- Think about the future…. Request an invoice with all the key details about the trunk, listed
- Take the time to go and visit the place (at least the first time!)
- Read books (many books with pictures and explanation on Vuitton, Goyard, Moynat,… products are available and great tools to familiarize yourself)
Now you are well prepared and all set, you can buy!
Atelier : 5 rue Saint exupery 67500 Haguenau
Siege : 11 rue de berstheim 67500 Haguenau
0388932823 de 9 h a 19 h
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