05/19/2012 02:23 pm ET

Vintage Handbags: Owning A Little Piece Of Fashion History

It was a black metallic cut-bead flip-top barrel handbag from the ’40s that hooked me. Tucked among dusty bric-a-brac in the late, great Antique Alley at the ‘Dell in Los Angeles, it called to me, and I had to have it, whatever the price. Back then, I didn’t even know the collectors' credo: “If you want it, buy it. Don’t let the one you love get away.”

Read more on Next Avenue