Most of the time I’m pretty conservative when it comes to spending money on myself. Typically, I like to save my money for a rainy day rather than spending it on the sunny day right in front of me. This is especially true when it comes to things that I can’t justify as a necessity. However, there are some things I still find myself wanting even though I never buy them. Yard sales can be a great way to find some of these wanted items at cheap prices so I can justify keeping them. For me, ever since I was introduced to the brand, I’ve had an attachment to Hartmann Luggage. It interested me at first because I was able to make a lot of money reselling the stuff. But, as I sold more and more of it, the more I found myself wanting my very own Belting Leather Briefcase Bag to carry to work every day. But every time I think about keeping one, I feel out of place with it because I’m not the kind of guy that carries around a briefcase that costs over $6oo new. Maybe one day I’ll get to the point where I’ll let myself keep it. But until then, I’ll be cashing in as I flip as many as I can find.
The Hartmann Luggage Company has been around since the late 1800s, and their older leather bags are second to none in quality and look. I’ve now bought and sold hundreds of pieces of Hartmann Luggage and have never kept a single piece.
A lot of money can be made buying/selling Hartmann Luggage. People will get rid of this stuff because It’s sometimes over 30 years old. However, a lot of this vintage luggage still has significant value today, and that’s why I decided to write this post. In addition to their older stuff, Hartmann still makes luggage today that has significant resale value.
I want to provide examples of several styles/types of Hartmann Luggage so you can recognize it when you see it and know when you’ve got a good money-making opportunity right in front of you.
I’ll start with the standard black.
Most of the examples below are made of ballistic nylon material. The khaki-colored examples shown later are also made out of this ballistic nylon. This is a more modern material, so the vintage stuff will look a little different. I’ve included some close-ups of the logos for Hartmann so you can quickly recognize it when you see it. The wheeled luggage in the standard black will sell decently well at auction, but most of the black stuff would be better sold buy-it-now. For whatever reason, Hartmann’s black luggage is not as popular as the rest. Before purchasing, know it will probably not fly off the shelves as quickly as some of the other colors/styles. You could expect to sell the black bags below for $20-60, and the rolling bags would sell for a little bit more (up to $100 at the top of the scale). These are for well-used pieces. If you find something in new or like-new condition, you can expect to get more for it.
Hartmann made all different colors of this “Hard Box” luggage. I’ve seen red, blue, green, black, and all shades of brown. Hartmann stopped making this stuff a long time ago, but it has a great vintage look to it. In my experience, it’s not worth it to buy the larger hardbox suitcases unless you’re trying to sell it on Craigslist (it would cost a lot to ship it). Even then, it won’t be a super quick sell. The smaller suitcases seem to be a lot more popular and will sell quicker if priced right.
Nylon w/ Leather Trim:
The nylon with leather trim luggage comes in several different colors with the most common colors being khaki and blue. Hartmann is known for its leather luggage goods, and the leather trim on this line of luggage gives it slightly more appeal than the hardbox pieces. I’ve sold rolling suitcases, rolling garment bags, overnight bags, and shoulder garment bags in this line. The shoulder garment bags and duffle bags will sell for between $20-$60. But the bags with wheels will fetch more money since they are more functional for the average traveler who has to walk through the airport.
Tweed w/ Leather Trim:
This style of luggage is very similar to the nylon luggage, except it’s made with tweed. The leather trim design is identical on a lot of the luggage pieces. The tweed with leather trim luggage sells better than nylon luggage and doesn’t stain as easily. The nylon luggage will show wear and stains a lot more than the tweed will, which probably contributes to why the tweed is more popular. Similar to the nylon luggage, the pieces with wheels will sell very well. It’s not uncommon for a used tweed with leather trim rolling suitcase to fetch over $150 used, even if it’s not in amazing shape. A used piece in great shape like this can sell between $200-$300. The rolling garment bags sell for a little less than the rolling suitcases typically, but not a whole lot less. A used tweed w/ leather trim duffle bag will typically sell for between $50-$120, depending on the condition.
Black Belting Leather:
Hartmann is known for its leather goods. If you’ve seen them you probably recognize their quality. There are two main colors of the leather luggage (black and brown). The black leather luggage is more expensive and will sell better used than the tweed. I’ve sold mostly briefcases and business bags in the black leather. My preference is to sell these pieces buy-it-now because in my experience the black does not usually attract enough bidders to bid the item up. You can sometimes sell this for a much lower price than desired if you try to sell it at auction. However, there are plenty of buyers out there willing to pay good money for these black leather pieces. You just need to wait for them to find your listings online.
Brown Belting Leather:
The brown belting leather style is the most expensive of their main styles and is definitely the best for resale. I’ve sold suitcases, briefcases, business bags, and toiletry bags in this line. All of them sold extremely well, receiving tons of bids and resulting in huge profits for me. If you ever come across any of this luggage at a yard sale or estate sale for a good price, be sure to snatch this up. If you’re not sure what a good deal is, just look up the specific type of luggage on your smartphone and review the recent completed listings for eBay. You’ll know right away if you’ve got significant profit potential.
Hartmann Wings Collection:
Hartmann has a separate line of luggage called “Wings” that is shaped a lot like the rest of the Hartmann pieces . This line has a monogram diamond pattern that is easy to recognize. After seeing these pictures, you’ll recognize it next time you see it. This line of luggage sells extremely well and is probably the best of all the pieces that are not all-leather. Like with the other styles, the wheeled pieces tend to sell quite a bit better.
The next section of pictures represents a collage of what I call “random oddball” Hartmann pieces. What I have shown in the picture so far and what I’ll show after these are by no means an exhaustive database of all the styles Hartmann has sold. However, they will represent the most common and the most popular styles. By showing you a large range of styles, my hope is you’ll be able to recognize a Hartmann piece if you come across one based on the common characteristics you see across most of their luggage lines.
Hartmann has created several lines of luggage that have been co-branded, meaning they partner up with another luggage company. Some of the other companies they co-branded with are Brookfield, Lombardo, and Brooks Brothers. You can usually tell from looking at the luggage (without seeing a brand logo) it’s made by Hartmann. Below are a few examples, which you can probably associate with some of the luggage you’ve seen earlier in this post.
Hartmann has made leather planners and 3-ring binders for ages If you find these in decent used condition, they can fetch anywhere from $20-$100. As with the luggage, the brown leather pieces tend to sell the best.
This last section of pictures has been included to teach you that you can even make money on the luggage accessories, such as shoulder straps, luggage tags, hangers, and garment inserts. By far, the most profitable accessory for me has been the shoulder straps. This luggage is so well made that the bags often outlast the shoulder straps and people are always looking for replacements. I’ve sold a leather Hartmann shoulder strap for as much as $70. For a shoulder strap! On average, they probably fetch me around $30-$40, so I’ll often separate a bag from its shoulder strap and sell them separately, depending on the style of bag. If you find a Hartmann bag in rough shape that still has the shoulder strap included, it’s probably worth buying the bag for strap alone.
Now that we’ve covered most of the Hartmann luggage styles, I’ve got a movie clip below where Hartmann makes an appearance. Leave a comment below if you can name the style of luggage and the name of the movie!
A few weeks ago, I found a large set of Hartmann luggage pieces at a Friday morning yard sale. I stopped there prior to going in to work. I was able to negotiate a bulk discount by buying a large number of pieces. I paid $325 for this entire lot ($50 off the individual sticker prices).
Stay tuned for next week’s post where I’ll dive into the results of the case study and show how I fared!
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