Part of being a Louis Vuitton collector is that you want to get as much information as possible on the hobby that you have. With Louis Vuitton there are numerous sources of literature.
You firstly have the Louis Vuitton store itself. When a new item or new line is released the store releases a catalogue or booklet. For example when the Damier Graphite line came out a special Damier Graphite booklet was released. The booklet showed you some of the pieces available in that new shade of Damier.
These special booklets and catalogues are only available for a limited time. Once that product line has been released and all the catalogues have been given out that is the end of them. Some of these mini booklets do appear on eBay from time to time.
eBay is a great source for superceded catalogues and booklets.
Another way to get Louis Vuitton literature is to hunt for the Louis Vuitton advertisements in magazines. Some of these older advertisements are even sold on eBay. Obviously it is much cheaper to find them yourself. eBay can be an easy way of getting this piece of print media history. Some of the advertisements I remember when I just started an interest in the subject are available via eBay this way. It is a trip down memory lane – to see items you lusted for when you were a teenager! Sort of like the boy with the Ferrari poster on his wall.
Louis Vuitton advertisements are generally works of art. They are well designed, beautifully photographed and have beautiful layout. They are put together by some of the leading advertising people in the world.
I have bought these old advertisements from eBay for about $10 each plus shipping. It certainly is not cheap but a lot quicker than going through a pile of old magazines. Another alternative is to buy a collection of old magazines from a jumble sale for a low price.
The advertisements I have bought have often been for products/items that I collect and which encompass the topic so well therefore I don’t mind outlaying $10 for them.
An excellent source of information is the Louis Vuitton yearly catalogue. Louis Vuitton has had a catalogue out for about 100 years! Some of the really old catalogues are very collectable and quite valuable. Catalogues from the 1970s and 1980s are getting very collectable and expensive. I have seen some early 1980s catalogues go for over $100 on eBay. Others I have seen for $100-$150. That price reflects the fact that they are getting very scarce.
Older Louis Vuitton catalogues are a great source of information. I have bought a few older catalogues myself.
The terrible thing is that in my early collecting days I gave away my older catalogues once I obtained a later version! Now those same catalogues sell for over $100! It is one of those things that you do not appreciate how valuable the catalogues are at the time.
Officially Louis Vuitton seems to be phasing out the printed catalogue. This is something that I believe is sad. I have often asked at a Louis Vuitton store for the latest catalogue only to be told they do not have any in stock. I have been told to check the web site. I do love the internet but I feel it is a great shame to do away with the printed catalogue. The beautiful thing about the printed catalogue is that it serves as a historical document and reference source. On-line profiles change with the seasons and fashion cycle. The printed catalogues are fantastic to look through and see how fashion/styles have changed.
Interestingly I have rung up the Louis Vuitton toll free number and requested the catalogue and received it in the mail a few days later. It seems the Louis Vuitton phone hotline may have a reserve of catalogues for phone order customers.
I suppose the problem is that the store has so many people constantly asking for a catalogue. That could be very annoying if that customer had no intention of buying from the store.
Personally I would be more than happy to pay for a catalogue.
Another source of information is books (like this one) written on the topic itself. Louis Vuitton has even acted as an agent for Louis Vuitton commissioned works. Louis Vuitton prices for these books are generally fair. I have even seen these books put onto eBay at much higher prices. Amazon and Barnes and Noble have an excellent search facility. The internet is making this so much easier.
An excellent book I obtained recently is Vintage Luggage by Helenka Gulshan. This book has been out of print for some time and I have seen copies of this book sell for over $300. Although not a Louis Vuitton book solely it does have a major bias to Louis Vuitton.
The final source that I will mention is the Japanese specialty magazine. As Louis Vuitton is so popular in Japan they have specialty magazines about the topic! Unfortunately these magazines are not in English however the picture and details are very helpful.
These magazines reflect the fact that Louis Vuitton is so popular in Japan. These magazines often cover the latest version as well as older versions and limited editions. They also cover the many different variants, different limited edition products as well as providing a timeline of release details.
These Japanese magazines are not generally available in the Western world however they do come up on eBay from time to time. I am lucky enough to have a friend who goes to Japan regularly for business. Some of these magazines cover luxury goods – so they are not exclusively Louis Vuitton. Others are exclusively Louis Vuitton based.