By  on April 30, 2007

Auction web site Portero, which recently split from eBay, is launching an accessories segment in June.

Founded by former private equity executive Michael Sheldon, Portero is aimed at affluent, educated consumers and already offers pre-owned fine jewelry, watches, art and collectables.

The accessories will include handbags from luxury houses such as Hermès and Chloé and writing instruments from Montblanc and Cartier.

"We love the idea of trading and owning different things," said Sheldon, who added that consumers weren't hesitant to spend tens of thousands of dollars online without trying on or even seeing the objects in person. "I'm surprised that [people] aren't doing it more. We're at an interesting time in history. People actually do buy a lot. The key to the transaction is trusting the other side."

The Atelier Fund, an investment fund backed by Compagnie Financière Richemont, has a stake in Portero.

Like the other product types the firm offers, each accessory for sale is certified and rated from fair to pristine (the best) by experts employed by Portero. The team includes a former Sotheby's art appraiser and a gemologist trained at the Gemological Institute of America. Tourneau appraises watches. Items on the Web site range in price from slightly less than $1,000 to as much as $20,000. Handbags will range from $500 to $10,000.

Portero's move comes at a time when the "It" bag has faded and in its place women are buying wardrobes of designer bags, for a few thousand dollars up to $10,000 or more. The site enables the consumer who knows her Hermès Birkin from her Evelyne bag to have a competitive edge.

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