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Hermes Birkin Bag Shatters Estimate At Auction

Mark Falco
Mark Falco

Hermès handbags have proven time and time again to be a solid investment. The value and annual return on the handbags have outpaced both the S&P 500 and the price of gold in the last 35 years.

The latest line of sales made at a Christie's auction in London, on Tuesday, has again shown their investment potential.

A 2015 Hermès Himalaya Birkin sold for £162,500, blowing early estimates of £70,000 - £90,000 out of the water.

Created from Nile crocodile hide, the Himalaya name does not come from the origin of the bag but in fact from the delicate gradation of the colour. With smoky greys fading into a pearly white, it is said to resemble the mystical Asian mountain range.

All Hermès' bags are made in limited numbers and are not advertised. Waiting lists for new bags now sit at around 6 years and their scarcity is causing the huge increases in prices.

The Hermès Himalaya Birkin is considered the Holy Grail of handbag collecting due to its rarity but the Himalaya Kelly bag is thought of as the rarest handbag in the world.

Regarded as both an heirloom and a work of art, these remarkable Kelly bags were only produced in the most limited of numbers for Hermès top clients.

A 2007 example of the Birkin also smashed its £50,000 - £70,000 estimates at Christie's when the gavel came down at £118,750.

Despite the prices attained on Tuesday, they are still some way behind the world record for a handbag. That honour is bestowed upon another Himalaya Birkin and a Christie's auction, £236,750 at an auction in December 2018.

The Birkin bag is named after the prolific actor and singer Jane Birkin. She attained international fame and notability for her decade-long musical and romantic partnership with Serge Gainsbourg.

Birkin was seated next to the Hermès chief executive, Jean-Louis Dumas, on a flight from Paris to London in 1983. She is said to have complained about not being able to find a good leather weekend bag and as such the Hermès Birkin was born.

William George & Co frequently have dedicated handbag auctions as well as a wide selection in our monthly saleroom collective auctions.