Get your chequebook ready, Victoria Beckham! Bonhams to auction off dozens of Herms bags from private collection



15:41 GMT, 17 April 2012

A selection of stunning Herms handbags from a private collection is to go under the hammer at Bonhams next month.

Sold as part of the Knightsbridge auction house's Jewellery sale on 16 May, the collection of 64 iconic bags will feature exotic pieces in crocodile, ostrich and lizard.

Included in the sale are versions of the renowned Kelly and Birkin bags, among a selection of other styles dating from the 1950s to 2008.


Victoria Beckham shopping with a Birkin handbag

Victoria Beckham shopping with a Birkin handbag


Victoria Beckham with red Birkin handbag

It's all about Hermes! Victoria Beckham is rarely seen without one of her extensive collections of Hermes bags

The prestigious luggage and accessories firm, who can count many of the world's wealthiest women as fans, is known for its meticulous craftsmanship.

Renowned for its immaculate finish and top quality materials, Herms has never used assembly lines and a craftsperson makes a single handbag at a time, hand-stitching individual pieces to create the finished product.

The brand is rich in history, and some of its bestselling bags have intriguing stories behind them. The iconic Kelly bag, one of Hermes most popular styles, was originally known as the Sac dpches when it was developed by Hermes in 1935.

In 1956, a photo of Grace Kelly, who had become the new Princess of Monaco, was pictured carrying the Sac dpches to hide her pregnancy.

Mid-green ostrich Kelly, 1995, 4,000 to 6,000

Orange togo leather Kelly, 2005

Mid-green ostrich Kelly, 1995, 4,000 to 6,000, left, and right, orange togo leather Kelly, 2005, 2,000 to 3,000

Ostrich Kelly from 2006 in fuchsia, 4,000 to 6,000 estimate

Light blue ostrich Kelly from 1997, 4,000 to 6,000 estimate

Fuchsia KElly from 2006, left, and right, a light blue ostrich Kelly from 1997, both with 4,000 to 6,000 estimate

Photographs were sent all over the world and put on the cover of Life magazine. As a result, the bag became known as the Kelly and has been hugely popular ever since.

The Birkin has similarly romantic roots, conceived as it was in honour of French star Jane Birkin.

The Birkin was allegedly created after
the company's CEO Jean Louis Dumas sat next to the actress on a Paris
to London flight.

Birkin had been discussing her difficulty in finding
a leather weekend bag, explaining her ideal.

Shortly after, in 1984, the bag she
described arrived at her flat with a note from Dumas. Although nowadays the bag can be made to order, the design
is still one of the most recognised in the fashion industry.

The bags provoke deep desire in many
women, with Victoria Beckham accumulating a collection worth a reported
1m, and British-born author Barbara Taylor Bradford owning an
impressive 24.

Everyone from Katie Holmes
and Julia Roberts carry their own Hermes too, as well as Hilary Duff and Kelly
Brook. And of course, the bag's namesake herself, Jane Birkin – who says she covers her 'bloody heavy' Birkin with stickers to disguise the fact she's carrying a 'snobbish' bag.

Two patent Constance bags, 1,500 to 2,000

Two patent Constance bags, 1,500 to 2,000

Grey lizard Kelly, 1996, 2,000 to 3,000 estimate

Brown crocodile Birkin

Grey lizard Kelly, 1996, 2,000 to 3,000 estimate; right, brown matt crocodile Birkin, 8,000 to 12,000

Black patent crocodile Hermes Birkin

Patent crocodile Kelly

Left, patent crocodile Birkin, estimated value 8,000 to 12,000; right, patent crocodile Kelly, estimated value from 1999 value 4,000 to 6,000

Victoria Beckham regularly
carries luxurious versions of the Herms in pink ostrich skin and glossy black
crocodile, worth up to 42,000 each, as well as the rare 'Silver
Himalayan' style, which, at 80,000, comes complete with three-carat

Over at Bonhams, the collection to go under the hammer appears to be more classic collection.

will be a fuchsia ostrich Kelly bag, 2006 (estimate of 4,000 to
6,000), a light blue ostrich Kelly bag, 1997 (estimate 4,000 to
6,000), and a light brown ostrich Kelly bag, 1995 (estimate 3,000 to

An Herms
black patent crocodile Birkin bag, 2003, an Herms dark brown matt
crocodile Birkin bag, 2008 and an Herms dark brown matt crocodile
Birkin bag, 2003 are all estimated to sell for 8,000 to 12,000.

Birkin bags in the sale include, a pale blue togo leather Birkin bag
with white stitching, 2006 (est. 4,000 to 6,000), a red togo leather
Birkin bag, 2008 (est. 4,000 to 6,000), a black togo leather Birkin
bag, 2005 (est. 3,000 to 5,000).

number of smaller ‘Constance’ bags will also be offered in the sale,
including two Herms crocodile Constance bags (est. 1,500 to 2,500),
three togo leather Constance bags (est. 1,200 to 1,800), an Herms
deep cherry red leather Constance bag (est. 600 to 1,000).

The Jewellery auction will be held at 11am, 16 May at Bonhams, Knightsbridge. Visit

Dark red leather Kelly, 1985, 1,000 to 2,000

Dark red leather Kelly, 1985, 1,000 to 2,000 estimate

Much is made of the waiting lists attached to the purchase of an Hermes bag, with four years being the wait time most frequently mentioned.

A spokeswoman for Herms explained
that the lengthy production times were due to a combination of the
advanced craftsmanship involved in making the bag, and the limited
availability of particular colours or skins.

director Fiona Rushton said: 'If someone is looking for a classic
Birkin bag – in a regular leather, colour and size – the lead time is
significantly lower.

'It is not and has never been, Herms intention to create an artificial
waiting list. All long lead times experienced by customers are the
consequence of capacity limitations or shortage in certain types, sizes
or colours of skins.

'Over the last few years, Herms has embarked on an ambitious program of
hiring and training new craftsmen (and women) … the
production is now raising and we are happy to announce a significant
reduction in lead time.'

lucky owners, the sought-after bag will not depreciate in value like a
car. Given the wait for a brand new version, second-hand boutiques and
auction houses are able to charge a premium, so desperate are
fashionistas to get their hands on the product.

Currently, 39 Birkins are listed for sale on the eBay UK site, with prices ranging from 10,000 to an eye-watering 63,000.


Victoria Beckham with Birkin bag

Victoria Beckham Hermes Birkin bag collection


Victoria Beckham with Hermes Birkin bag

Bag of the month: In the last couple of
weeks Victoria Beckham has shown off three of her 100 Herms Birkin
handbags. Seen at Heathrow airport, arriving in Milan and at a New York

Victoria Beckham with Hermes Birkin

Victoria Beckham with Hermes Birkin

Victoria Beckham with her 80,000 Silver Himalayan Birkin

Herms habit: Victoria with her red
Birkin at a children's party in March last year; at JFK airport with her
pink ostrich bag in September 2007; in Dubai with the 80,000 Silver
Himalayan version in January this year

Hilary Duff with her Birkin bag

Katie Holmes with her Birkin bag

Kelly Brook with her Birkin bag

Trophy accessory: Celebrity fans of the Herms Birkin include Hilary Duff, Katie Holmes and Kelly Brook