Now a cousin has come over from Italy to join the family!

katev

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Dec 18, 2009
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As some of you know I've recently had the luck to find some “Made in Italy” Coach bags at thrift stores at low prices. The bags have cleaned up very well and I have become a big fan of Italian Coach leather bags.

The 3 bags I previously acquired were all part of the Madison Line (Royalton, Carlyle, and Gracie) and I think of them fondly as “Three Little Madison Sisters from Italy”.

Awhile ago I came across a different style Italian Coach bag at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. It had a different textured pattern on the surface; it was lined with a soft suede material instead of cloth. It also had an unusual brass hangtag.

I was attracted to the bag but I didn’t buy it because I was not familiar with the style (although it looked real) and it had condition issues – the suede lining was dirty and I didn't know if I could clean it. And it was a fairly high price ($45) and I prefer to stay under $20 for my rehab projects.

I made a note of the style number (7001) and went home to try and research the bag but came up with nothing until Hyacinth took pity on me. She told me that 7001 was part of the Gramercy line. It is called the “Gramercy Zip” and came out in late 1998. She gave me the catalog picture below and I was so entranced that I went back to the store the next morning and bought it! (After all, I didn't have any Gramercy items so I really NEEDED to buy it!)

Also below are group photos of my “My 4 Italian Ladies!” The 3 Madison sisters and their Gramercy cousin. Also a comparison pic showing the unusual hangtag on the Gramercy Zip and the leather creed patch that is also a slip pocket. I will post before and after pics of the Gramercy Zip in subsequent messages.

Catalog photo of the Gramercy zip from 1998 (thanks, Hyacinth!):


Here are My 4 Italian Ladies! Left to right: Black Carlyle 4401 ($8), Beechnut Gracie 4413 ($2), Black Gramercy Zip 7001 ($45), and Beechnut Royalton 4403 ($10). My entire Italian collection has cost a total of $65, that's not too bad!



Back view of the Italian Ladies:


Comparison Pic of the Gramercy Zip brass hangtag (right). It is smaller and thicker than a typical brass Coach hangtag (left):


Here is the creed patch of the Gramercy Zip, it functions as an interior slip pocket:
 

katev

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Dec 18, 2009
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Here are before cleaning photos of the Gramercy Zip. The bag was dirty and scuffed and the suede-cloth interior was dusty, soiled, and stained:









 

katev

"The Bag Whisperer!"
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Dec 18, 2009
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Here are photos of the suede-cloth lining after my first cleaning attempts. (One of the photos wasn't showing up so I added it as an attachment.) I tried a spray suede cleaner from a can but it didn’t do much good. Then I tried gently sponging the suede with clean water. It didn’t hurt the lining and it helped a little but I still wasn’t very happy with the results.

I put the bag away for awhile in frustration and only came back to it again recently. I will post “after after cleaning” pics of the lining with the next message.







 

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katev

"The Bag Whisperer!"
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Dec 18, 2009
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I know that Italian Coach bags are supposed to be delicate and you are only supposed to use gentle cleaning methods, but I decided that it would be necessary to give the bag a bath and scrub the lining with soap and water if I was ever going to get it clean.

I think that those Italian girls are much tougher than you may believe! Here are pics of the lining after the bath and I am much happier with the results! I will post final “after cleaning and conditioning” photos of the bag’s exterior with the next message. Again I had to post some of the pics as attachments. How frustrating!



 

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katev

"The Bag Whisperer!"
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Dec 18, 2009
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Here she is, all cleaned up and looking gorgeous! After giving her a bath and some drying time, I brushed the lining with a soft, clean brush. Then I polished up the hardware a bit and gave her exterior surface a gentle application of Leather Therapy Oil. She’s a beauty!



 

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Mariquel

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Jun 23, 2008
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Every one of your Italian family members is a beauty, katev! In the group shots they look new, honestly! Glad you're finding all of these deals, my thrift stores rarely even have any brand of leather purses. Great job!
 

proffashionista

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Mar 5, 2010
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I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS love a Katev reveal of the biggesrt bargains and beauties of the century and suffice it to say, this one does NOT disappoint. OMG, they are all beautiful but that Gramercy!?!?!?! :drool::faint::faint::drool: I absolutely love the texture on the leather, and of course the beauty of the leather and finish now that you rehabbed her to as good as new.

You are so talented not only at hunting and finding bargains but at rehabbing. My hat goes off to you--you are quite a COH-LECTOR . (For those tired of Wall Street's whipsawing as of late, pardon the ticker symbol pun there.)
 
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MedtechCarol

Mental Rubik's Cube
Aug 1, 2011
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My favorite reveals! I love seeing how your hard work pays off with a beautiful and classic bag! She is stunning, congrats on a really fabulous job!! :biggrin:
 
Nov 16, 2007
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Amazing, simply amazing. Your Italian girls are beautiful. I wish we had a thrift store near that would have some good finds. I would be picking your brain for a rehab. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work, granny

PS the fun thing about these bags is you sure won't see one around every corner!
 

Hyacinth

Authenticator
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Aug 19, 2006
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Fantastic rehab, as usual! The Gramercy looks amazing, and the inside looks a hundred times better.

Enjoy it! :smile:
 

katev

"The Bag Whisperer!"
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Dec 18, 2009
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Amazing, simply amazing. Your Italian girls are beautiful. I wish we had a thrift store near that would have some good finds. I would be picking your brain for a rehab. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work, granny

PS the fun thing about these bags is you sure won't see one around every corner!
Thank you! Keep looking because you might come across a beauty just waiting for rehab at any time!

I agree, you don't see these Italian Coach bags very often - and I like that too. I didn't know that they even existed less than a year ago.

I started working "in the big city" several months ago and I am constantly surprised at how often I see vintage, glove-tanned leather coach bags being carried around town.

There's a woman on my train that carries an olive station bag with brass hardware and it's gorgeous! The classic bags hold up well and still look sharp!
 
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katev

"The Bag Whisperer!"
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Dec 18, 2009
15,385
10,060
Fantastic rehab, as usual! The Gramercy looks amazing, and the inside looks a hundred times better.

Enjoy it! :smile:
I wouldn't have bought her if you hadn't given me the information and that the fabulous picture showing her potential! Thank you!
 

katev

"The Bag Whisperer!"
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Dec 18, 2009
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Ooooh, she's lovely! I'm hoping to add something Gramercy to my collection one day :smile: Love it!
My favorite reveals! I love seeing how your hard work pays off with a beautiful and classic bag! She is stunning, congrats on a really fabulous job!! :biggrin:
Every one of your Italian family members is a beauty, katev! In the group shots they look new, honestly! Glad you're finding all of these deals, my thrift stores rarely even have any brand of leather purses. Great job!
Thanks so much, I really enjoy finding and rehabbing these lovely older bags!
 

katev

"The Bag Whisperer!"
O.G.
Dec 18, 2009
15,385
10,060
I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS love a Katev reveal of the biggesrt bargains and beauties of the century and suffice it to say, this one does NOT disappoint. OMG, they are all beautiful but that Gramercy!?!?!?! :drool::faint::faint::drool: I absolutely love the texture on the leather, and of course the beauty of the leather and finish now that you rehabbed her to as good as new.

You are so talented not only at hunting and finding bargains but at rehabbing. My hat goes off to you--you are quite a COH-LECTOR . (For those tired of Wall Street's whipsawing as of late, pardon the ticker symbol pun there.)

You are so kind, thank you! The Gramercy Zip is a beautiful bag but the real appeal comes from the many textures and tactile sensations you feel when carrying her!

The textured, shiny pattern on the exterior surface is just so rich, and when you slip your hand into the bag and feel the luxurious, soft suede it's so nice! The hangtag is quite heavy and feels very substantial in your hand. Coach really made this one right!

Thank you again, but YOU have the collection that I envy!