Vintage Collectible Handbags: Metal Mesh Purses and Handbags

Vintage Whiting and Davis metal mesh bag

There are two great advantages of collecting vintage handbags, designer bags and purses. One is that vintage handbags are hot items and are increasing in value. Another is that they are very trendy accessory items that you can actually use!

You may already have started a valuable vintage handbag collection without knowing it. Have you inherited one or two vintage purses from your mother or grandmother? Perhaps they are waiting to be discovered in the attic or at the back of the closet.

If you have found an old handbag, you can check its value at online auction sites such as eBay or Etsy.

Antique German silver mesh evening bag

If you don't like auctions (and not everyone does!), wonderful vintage handbags and antique purses can be found on Amazon. (see my easy links at the end of this post).

 The Growing Vintage Handbag Market

Popular television programs like the British ITV series, “Downton Abbey”, Public Television's  “Mr. Selfridge”, and more recently, Netflix's “1899”, are boosting the popularity of vintage handbags, (and vintage clothing styles). Many of those styles are showing up on the runways and at celebrity attended functions.

We’ve researched some of the trendiest vintage and retro handbags and purses and have listed them here. This article focuses on vintage metal mesh bags. Practically all of them work great with today’s fashionable evening wear.

The Art of Chain Metal Mesh Handbags

The fine art of metal chain mesh has been around for centuries. Originally woven by silversmiths as a durable cloth fit for a knight in armor, the art progressed beyond clothing when metal mesh ladies purses became highly popular in the 19th century.

Today, the most collectible mesh bags are made of solid German silver, but more affordable machine-age metal mesh bags (often enamel-coated) are still considered a treasure and are highly collectible. The most popular manufacturers of metal mesh bags are the Mandalian MFG Co., which closed in the early 1940’s and the American manufacturer, Whiting & Davis which still produces stunning designer mesh bags.

Paris Hilton with a 2011 Whiting & Davis metal mesh evening bag

During the 1920’s no respectable flapper would be caught without a cute art deco mesh purse. Today’s fashionistas feel the same way. Although tiny, you can still carry the essentials like keys, mobile phone, credit card and even an e-cigarette.

Prices of Vintage Metal Mesh Handbags

The price of a vintage metal mesh handbag depends on the condition of the item, the age of the item and whether it is made of silver mesh or not.

The vintage enameled Whiting & Davis mesh purse shown in the first photo of this post, had a starting bid on eBay of $9.99 and a “buy it” price of $24.99. (updated 4/14/13)


Vintage Metal Mesh Handbag

Vintage 1920s metal mesh bag

– The 1920s vintage Whiting & Davis Deco Dresden mesh bag to the left, is in near-mint condition and is being sold at on-line retail for $325.

– A Vintage German Art Nouveau silver mesh purse c.1900 sells for about $225.

– An Art Deco 1920s Whiting & Davis mesh purse sells for about $295.

– The  vintage antique German silver evening bag featured in the photo above was featured on eBay with a starting bid of $179.

 Some of the most beautiful Whiting & Davis metal mesh handbags can be found on Amazon.

Here Are Some Examples:


Rhinestone Clutch Purse by Yikoee

Rhinestone Clutch Purse by Yikoee

Click the below link to Buy or Check Price. Choose from 5 colors.

Yikoee Rhinestone Clutch Purse


Women's Metal Mesh Party Purse Bag

Click the below link to Buy or Check Price. You can also choose from several colors.

Women's Evening Clutches Metal Mesh Party Purse Bag


Sturdier than a Metal Mesh, Here is a Lovely 1920s Flapper Rhinestone Evening Clutch

920s Flapper Handbag Clutch 20s Gatsby Crystal Evening Clutch

1920s Flapper Purse

Click the below link to Buy or Check Price.  You can choose from 8 colors.

Women's 1920s Rhinestone Clutch

Do you own a vintage handbag or purse? Tell us your story in the comments below!

You May Also Like:

Sexy Vintage Lingerie for Women of All Shapes and Sizes.



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    • Janice on May 6, 2023 at 4:13 pm
    • Reply

    I am trying to establish value for a Whiting and Davis mesh evening bag, probably 1920’s. Ornate silver (I think) clasp and pretty design. can you tell me the best site for appraisals?
    Thank you. this is from my sister who died and I want to sell it for her son.

    1. Hi Janice,
      I am not qualified to recommend a specific appraiser, but if you search for handbag appraisals, or purse appraisal near me, you’re sure to find something. Best of luck, and thanks for commenting.

    • fonda on August 1, 2016 at 12:21 pm
    • Reply

    I have a purse don’t know how old if I send pic can u tell me about it

    1. Hi fonda,

      Since I’m not a licensed appraiser or a dealer, it’s best to visit an antiques dealer who specializes in vintage handbags or send your photo to on line vendors who sell antiques purses. They’re easy to find 🙂 Good luck!

    • Duckwells on November 7, 2014 at 6:05 pm
    • Reply

    Hi: I actually have several Whiting and Davis mesh bags listed on Etsy. I did want to clarify that Etsy is not an auction site. It is a shopping site that focuses on handmade and vintage. There is no bidding.

    Great bags, a wonderful collectible.

  1. anniejean – Sounds like you have some cool treasures. I’m not an appraiser, (just a journalist 🙂 but I do recommend looking for similar items on ebay. If you do find something for auction, put it on your watch list. When and if it sells you’ll have a pretty good idea of what it’s worth. Good luck !

    • anniejean on November 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm
    • Reply

    I have 3 metal purses and a match book cover. Can you tell me the value of these? I can send you pictures.

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