If there is one trend today in both the auction market and the second-hand sector, it is the buying and selling of luxury items such as jewellery, watches, bags and, more generally, branded leather goods. With the democratization of the luxury sector and the increasingly dense offer of the houses, the number of objects available on this market is growing. For several years now, most of the major auction houses have been organizing regular public events or private sales proposing special selections of accessories sought after by collectors or simply by buyers wishing to acquire a signed piece with all the guarantees of authenticity at a lower cost.
If for many years, this trend was often hidden, sometimes even considered as shameful, this is no longer the case and the internet has greatly contributed to the glamourization of this practice with the birth of many sites such as Vestiaire Collective or Instant Luxe (Galeries Lafayette Group). Collector Square, which was born almost four years ago on the internet, has just taken an important step forward with the recent opening of an impressive and luxurious showroom located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris on the Boulevard Raspail. The company was born from the association between Loic Bocher and Nicolas Orlowski, owner with the Dassault family of Artcurial. I therefore agreed to meet with the team and more particularly with Constance Lauvinerie, gemmologist (ING, HRD) and above all Head of the jewellery department, to discover the place (and its history, which is worth a visit!) as well as the way it works.
Selection of Chanel bags offered on the website and visible in the showroom. Photo: The Gemologist
The Collector Square team offered me the opportunity to discover the “reserve” for the bags. Nothing is stored in the showroom and I loved to discover this impressive place! Photo : Le Gemmologue
36 boulevard Raspail is an imposing mansion on the left bank. The place has a pretty incredible history. Property of the Sangnier family, it was above all the headquarters of the Sillon, a Catholic and republican movement initiated by Marc Sangier at the end of the 19th century. In the courtyard there is a theatre. It became famous by accepting to host Samuel Beckett’s famous play, “Waiting for Godot”, which several dozen theatre directors had refused. A doorbell, a discreet and courteous welcome and you enter a place whose interior decoration has been entirely redesigned and intended to be as pure as it is luxurious. And for good reason, a selection of the most beautiful models currently on sale on the website is on display here. Buyers and sellers alike can come here to drop off an item or buy another: bags and leather goods are freely available, jewellery and watches can only be seen by appointment. The latter are checked by two Parisian workshops before being put up for sale, and stones without information can be certified by the LFG.
Chanel “Cristaux Glacés” ring in white gold, diamonds and quartz with black tourmaline inclusions on a beige Chanel Timeless Jumbo bag. Photo : Le Gemmologue
Pair of yellow gold earrings by Buccellati on a Louis Vuitton Speedy bag. Photo: The Gemmologist
There are several solutions for those who wish to part with an object. The request for an expertise can be made directly on line and the answer will arrive in less than 24 hours, except in the exceptional case of a rare object which will require a little more time, in agreement with the client. In the coming months and in view of the growing demand, the company’s objective is to process a request in less than 4 hours. Almost instantaneous! The first solution is the deposit-sale with a 25% commission and payment as soon as the object is sold or the immediate purchase by Collector Square with a 35% commission and immediate payment. The price is set by various experts and to define the price of a piece, the site has launched the Luxeprice Index based on the system that art lovers know well with the Artprice index. By compiling the results of worldwide auctions, it is then possible to define an average price according to a brand and a model, with the important difference that this tool is free. This is all the more interesting as luxury and second-hand items are not always cheaper than new ones. This is particularly true for leather goods, but also for jewellery when the models are out of print or have evolved. The famous Birkin from Hermès is a prime example of this!
Yellow gold 375‰ necklace set with garnets from the late 19th century on a Chanel 2.55 white leather bag. Photo: The Gemologist
Building customer loyalty is also part of the stated objectives. And that’s what the Collector Switch is for. It allows the exchange of a product purchased from the site. Depending on its condition, the product is taken back at a maximum of 85% of its purchase value and thus allows you to treat yourself differently.
Alhambra Van Cleef & Arpels necklace in yellow gold and mother-of-pearl on a Dunhill bag. Photo: The Gemologist
Buccellati yellow gold bracelet on a Chanel Timeless Jumbo bag. Photo: The Gemmologist
Using this type of platform often makes it possible to go faster in the act of sale but also of purchase and the system of the auction is not always adapted for the pieces of middle-of-the-range which are sometimes found in generalist sales sometimes not very qualitative. Here, the site takes care of everything: from the professional 360° shooting to the publication on the site and offers a product enhancement that not all offer. The site is extremely selective and that’s great news.
See you soon!