You know that a brand has cachet when you start seeing knockoffs. For Whiting & Davis, a maker of metal mesh purses that has been in business in Massachusetts since 1876, knockoffs have been a sincere form of flattery for almost that long. (The current knockoffs come from China.) Originals are highly collectible. You can see a quick history of the company, the nation’s oldest handbag maker, on its website here, and A Schiffer Book for Collectors, Whiting & Davis Purses: The Perfect Mesh, was published in 2002. The book has a price guide, and online, we see that secondhand Whiting & Davis purses currently are selling for up to $600.
Yet originals can regularly be found at thrift and consignment shops. We found the gold one at left one a few weeks ago for $20 at the American Cancer Society’s Discovery Shop in Rancho Mirage, CA. All the purses at right were $30 or less from thrift or antique stores, and all but the black one are authentic Whiting & Davis. (Originals will have the Whiting & Davis tag inside, and some have a distinctive charm on the zipper pull.)
Here, ThriftStyle co-author Reise Moore gives a video explanation of why Whiting & Davis purses are so prized.