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Smart Buying

How Birkin Bags Stack Up as Investments

Are they really worth their hefty price tag?

Birkin bags—those high-end totes from designer Hermès—have proved to be a stellar investment as well as a status symbol. From 1980 through 2015, the bags increased in value by an average of 14% annually, according to Baghunter.com, an online platform for buying and selling luxury handbags. You'll have to ante up to speculate in this market. Recently, an Electric Bleu crocodile Birkin bag carried a $94,500 price tag on Baghunter.

Here's how Birkins stack up against other investments:

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--Standard & Poor's 500-stock index. The broad market barometer returned 11% a year on average over the same period.

--Gold (price per ounce). The volatile metal returned an average 2%.

--Rare collectible cars. The Top Index, compiled by the Historic Automobile Group International, includes the 1950s-era Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupe and the mid 2000s Porsche Carrera GT. The index kept pace with Birkins, increasing by an average of 14% annually.

Annual inflation over the period was just over 3%.

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