Rare Herms Birkin handbag sets world record after selling for over $200,000 at auction
A rare Herms Birkin has set a world record for the highest price for a handbag sold at auction.
The red crocodile skin purse, with white gold and diamond hardware, was sold to an anonymous bidder for $203,150 this week at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas.
The final price far exceeds expectations, given that it had been expected to fetch around $80,000.
Bags of money: This red crocodile Birkin with white gold and diamond hardware, sold for $203,150 at an auction in Texas this week
Matt Rubinger, director of luxury accessories at Heritage Auctions called the bag “extraordinary”.
He told WWD: “Thisis an extraordinary example of one of the world’s most exceptional handbags, and this was certainly an exceptional price, exceeding our highest expectations at every corner.”
Ahead of the sale, he revealed a little of the background of the lot.
“It was owned by a lady from Florida,” Mr Rubiner revealed.
“She bought it in 2006 and had it as the trophy of her collection but then Herms offered her the same bag in black and she thought that she might actually use a black one.”
Collector”s item: Another Herms Birkin, in Himalayan crocodile with palladium hardware, fetched $80,663 – around $20,000 more than expected
But it was not the only Herms piece to have generated such attention.
A blue crocodile version with palladium hardware sold for $113,525, a shiny red crocodile Birkin with palladium hardware went for $95,600 and a Himalayan crocodile Birkin with palladium hardware fetched $80,663.
Accessorise all areas: A Judith Leiber Humpty Dumpty beaded clutch was also part of the sale
Explaining the demand, Mr Rubinger said: “Most of the bags were bought by collectors who never used them, or only used them once.
“And many women simply don”t have enough space in their closets for all their accessories.”
Indeed, these most exclusive of handbags actually increase in value over time.
“If you walked into Herms today you couldn”t get these bags – not even if you were Oprah Winfrey,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
He also notes that for many collectors the bags are more works of art than something to hold make-up and car keys.
“I remember one client who had a dinner party,” he revealed. “Instead of flowers as her table centerpieces, she had Judith Leiber handbags.”
He added that the market for high-end accessories is very strong right now.
“It”s a freak category of fashion that”s been shown to hold and often increase in value,” he said.
Valuable: Items such as the Judith Leiber Las Vegas clutch are considered by collectors to be like works of art
“We”re still seeing sophisticated shoppers investing in special pieces like these.”
Also in the sale were bags by vintage brands such as Jacomo, Charles Jourdan, Renaud Pellegrino, Dumas, and Celine.
Travel pieces and luggage trunks by Louis Vuitton, Herms and Fendi were also available, as well as jewellery by Chanel and Lanvin.