What is my Dooney & Bourke satchel worth if the zipper is busted?

Hi, Paula!
I have purchased a vintage mini satchel similar to what you have in a post from july 16, 2013 in the taupe and brown from another site.  I, unfortunately, did not read the description closely as this bag’s zipper doesn’t work.   Can you tell me the bag’s worth since the zipper is busted?  I have tried some tricks to fix it myself, but to no avail.



D&B 1 D&B 3 D&B2Hi Alyson,

You don’t mention if the broken zipper is the main zipper which closes the bag or an interior zipper. Since most of the bags like this have one or two interior zipper pouches, I wasn’t sure which was broken on yours.

If it is the main zipper, I’m afraid it devalues the bag by quite a bit. If two similar satchels were in about an 8 out of 10 condition and the one with the functional zipper was worth $150 retail the one with the broken zipper would be worth $25 or less. That’s because few people want to take the time and effort and invest the money to send the bag back to Dooney & Bourke for repair.  If you tried to sell that bag on eBay, for example, you’d likely not even get a bid.

If, however, it is one of the interior zippers, it might not devalue the bag quite as much as some people might not mind using the zipper pouch as just a slip pouch, leaving the zipper permanently open.

The main value of a  vintage Dooney & Bourke bag is the condition: cleanliness, no damage to stitching, no broken or missing parts, no odors.

From a quick view of the bag you sent, I see that there is also a missing shoulder strap, missing leather thongs on at least one end of the bag, and quite a bit of wear to the exterior of the bag.  That coupled with a broken zipper really puts the value of this bag quite low.

You can always buy authentic Dooney & Bourke bags on our website.


Dooney & Bourke All Weather Leather Care Questions

Hi Paula
I had asked you about a Dooney and Bourke Norfolk but ended up bying a vintage Dooney and Bourke X-large hobo instead. My first Donney and Bourke bag! They are unknown in Denmark as far as I l know so I got it from the USA at a high cost. It is all black. On the same day I got it in the mail I treated it with leather conditioner/grease which I always do with lather bags when I get them before I begin to use them. I just rubbed it all over the bag and went to bed. The next say when I got home in the evening I noticed that the bag had not absorbed the grease like lather bags usually do. I rubbed the grease off the bag and got online only to find out that putting grease on Dooney and Bourke all weather leather was a bad idea. I took in the bath room and washed it with cold water to make sure that I got all of the grease off the bag. The bag did not absorbe water at all, but seemed to be water resistant just fine. My question is, could I have damaged the bag? It was in exellent condition before and still seems to be, it looks the same, but maybe the grease did damage the it? Should I kick myself or just be happy I got the grease off within 24 hours (and be and make sure never to use leather grease or conditioner again?)
Best regards,
Neurotic handbag lady, Rina, in Denmark

Hello again Paula
Just want to add a picture to my question and tell you that the bag seems completely dry to the touch, after being greased/greased off and wet, as I described in my question the other day, but I’m still worried if the grease has invisibly damaged the all weather leather. Please take your time.
Thank you again for a great blog and your great respons.
Cheers, Rina, Denmark

mydooneyHI Rina,

Read below for some information, especially the part about how conditioners relax the pores of the leather, thereby defeating the AWL properties.  – Paula

Hi Paula,

I just ordered the black/tan Essex Carrier from the grab bag section, and I’m so excited! It’s my very first Dooney & Bourke, and I’ve wanted one for ages.

860-grab-R99-ex-carrier-med-blbt-1 860-grab-R99-ex-carrier-med-blbt-7I love reading your blogs online, and I wanted to ask you–how do I clean it? Is it best not to use leather oils or cleaners? I’ve read that they can strip the properties of the AWL. And is there a way to remove the spot or lighten it? If not, I don’t mind; it doesn’t look that obvious, and I’m not picky, because I love vintage!

It looks like this lovely bag still has years of use left in it, and I can’t wait for it to get here!

Thanks again,


Hi Keeley,
Yes our Grab Bag Section is where we put the bag that have some cosmetic blemishes but are structurally sound and can be used as-is or might benefit from some TLC.
I’ve already posted some info on this blog about care.
To expand on that………Yes, minimal products to clean and condition.  The AWL (All Weather Leather) portion (that’s the thick pebbly leather than makes up the main body of the bag) needs no conditioning. The British Tan trim is the leather that can show darkening and stains (or beloved patina !) so you can clean it per the instructions from the Dooney website pasted below. Note that if you use harsh cleaners or oil or conditioner on the British Tan, it will change it. Harsh cleaners can remove color and oils and conditioners can darken the tan.
At one point in time Dooney & Bourke sold a product to use on the British Tan trim but they no longer do. It was this item.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince that product is no longer available, for the British Tan trim on my own bags, when I want to give them a light cleaning, I use a good quality mild glycerin saddle soap in a bar form, rather than the cream in a can. He’s an idea of what the glycerin bar looks like.
For more information on care and cleaning, you could click the link below and browse the official Dooney & Bourke website – below the link I’ve posted most of the information from the D&B site related to All Weather Leather care.

“The leathers used in most Dooney & Bourke merchandise are both water repellent and generally scratch resistant. However, some leathers may become discolored when wet, returning to their original colors once completely dry.

Anything containing dyes (ball point pens, lipsticks, etc.) cannot be removed as they will re-dye the surface.

All-Weather Leather® Collection (Classic)
Classic All-Weather Leather® is 100% cowhide and should be gently wiped with a damp cloth when necessary.This leather can usually be cleaned with the use of a soft cotton cloth slightly dampened with distilled water (sodium-free seltzer water may be substituted) and a mild bar soap, applied in a circular motion. Repeat with distilled water only to ensure no residual soap remains. The leather should then be allowed to dry completely.This collection should not be treated with cleaning agents or leather creams. The oils in such products loosen the pores of the leather, defeating the shrinkage process that makes All-Weather Leather® impervious.”

Hi Paula,You may remember me–I purchased the gorgeous Essex carrier (my very first Dooney bag!) a few days ago. I just now purchased the nifty small white carpet bag as well, so I think you have a new customer!  Just wanted to ask–one website recommended “whitening” stains on white leather bags with Kiwi shoe polish. Is this a good idea, or would it ruin the finish?Thanks again for your help.  Keely
906-misc-carpet-whitebt-1 906-misc-carpet-whitebt-8 906-misc-carpet-whitebt-9
Hi Keely,
I wouldn’t use Kiwi shoe polish, no.  Once you get the bag, you can decide how you want to refurbish it, but I’d steer clear of the white shoe polish.
If it were my bag, I’d receive it, look at it, maybe even start using it and see if you think the wabi-sabi of a vintage bag is actually more endearing than trying to make it look new.
I think that is how I would feel.
But if I just couldn’t stand it and wanted to have it perfect, I’d take it to a shoe repair place where they have leather dye and have the white part dyed. Depending on the skill of the repairman, you run the risk of ending up with a new issue – it is hard to do a really neat job around the British Tan trim so……….
another alternative is that you could buy the dye and do it yourself.
Dye is permanent. Leather dye is thin and has the consistency of a solvent. It sinks into the leather immediately.
Conditioners are oily or greasy and sit on top of leather and gradually sink in. making leather softer, more pliable and as D&B says, opens the pores of the leather which in this case is not a good idea.
Leather polish is a creamy or waxy top dressing. Especially with white polish, that layer or coat you would put on would flake and crack and come off.  It would also alter the the leather in a negative way.
So with all that said, I have never dyed a Dooney bag but I have had great success using leather dye on other items such as English riding boots where the color wears off the inside surface of the boot where it rubs against the saddle and the horse. The brand of leather dye I have used is Fiebings  and they do make a white dye.
Note that if you choose to try to dye a bag to eliminate some of the spots, you will likely have to dye the entire bag because no two whites are the same as no two blacks are browns are. So it is not a project to undertake lightly.

Can the brass latch on my vintage Dooney & Bourke Carrier bag be repaired or replaced?

Paula,   The brass latch on my Carrier shoulder bag doesn’t click.  It spins around and comes unfastened.  Can it be repaired or replaced?  Thank you.

898-R701-carrier-bt-1Dooney & Bourke does repairs and refurbishing of bags and also sells parts such as straps and fobs, but it might cost you more for shipping both ways and the repair cost than it would to purchase another vintage bag.

You can contact them through their website. Here is their contact page and information

Dooney & Bourke

dooney contact infoHere is their guarantee including information about repair and replacement.

The Dooney & Bourke Guarantee
When you purchase a Dooney & Bourke handbag or accessory, you are making an investment that will pay dividends for many years to come. Our firm commitment to customer satisfaction is evident in all of our products, which are guaranteed against any defect in craftsmanship for one full year. If your Dooney & Bourke purchase does not withstand the rigors of normal use within one year, we will gladly repair or replace the item free of charge. Please keep in mind that some Dooney & Bourke products take on certain characteristics over a period of normal wear that are not considered defects. For instance, the leather trim and handles on many of our handbags will gradually darken to a richer shade with time and exposure to sunlight. This sort of natural aging, along with certain amounts of stretching and softening, creates a distinctive, matured appearance that will continue to enhance over time.

In order to be covered by our product guarantee, simply fill out and return the guarantee card that comes with each Dooney & Bourke product.

We will gladly exchange or refund your order, provided the merchandise is unused and you respond within thirty days after receiving your order. Shipping and handling fees are not refundable. To return an item, please ship it UPS or insured mail, and be sure to fill out and enclose the bottom portion of your invoice.

Any exchanged or refunded item will be credited for the price at which the item was purchased. If you choose to exchange your item, any replacement item will be charged at the current price at the time of your exchange.

The Dooney & Bourke Repair/Replacement Program
Repairs: After the initial year covered by our guarantee, we will gladly repair any Dooney & Bourke bag or accessory that has become damaged or worn. Repair costs vary, depending on the condition of the item, but will not exceed half of the current retail price for that particular style. Once we receive an item for repair, we will inspect the item, advise you of repair costs (via mail, allow 1-2 weeks) and request your approval before any repair work takes place. If your bag or accessory is beyond repair or if repair costs exceed half of the current retail price you will be eligible for a replacement.

Replacements: If an item is beyond repair, or if the repair costs exceed half of the current retail price, you have the option of having it replaced. You will be offered credit for half the current retail price of that item to apply toward a replacement item of equal or greater value. We will try to accommodate all replacement requests to your full satisfaction, however, it is not our policy to replace an item from a specific collection with another item from one of the following collections/styles: watches, coats, sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves and shoes, Internet specials and the new IT collection. Please note: The original item will not be returned to you. Once you have authorized a replacement, this item will be destroyed.

Processing: To repair or replace an item please return it to our factory with your name, address, and phone number (day and evening) via insured mail or UPS. Be sure to include a description of the repair / replacement needed. Allow 1-2 weeks for a written response and 4-6 weeks time for your requested repair and / or replacement.

Dooney & Bourke, Inc.
Att: Return Department
1 Regent Street
E. Norwalk, CT 06855

If you have any questions please contact our Customer Service Department:
(800) 347-5000

Please let us know what you find out so we can post the estimate and other information here.

Thanks ! Paula