This $300,000 Hermès Birkin Is the Most Expensive Handbag Ever Sold at Auction
Kim Kardashian was a proud owner of a similar bag.
A Hermès Birkin handbag, which Christie’s auction house describes as the “rarest, most sought-after, most valuable” of its kind, just broke records at a May 30 auction at the house’s Hong Kong location.
At $300,108, the matte white Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin is now the most expensive handbag to sell at auction, topping last year’s sale of a HK $1.72 million ($220,000) bright pink crocodile skin handbag by Hermès, which also sold at Christie’s in Hong Kong.
Interest in the sleek handbag ran high. The Daily Mail reports that the Nilo Crocodile Birkin sold to an anonymous private collector amid a bidding war. The rarity of the materials adds a special gloss of appeal, since the auction house notes that “only one or two of the Diamond Himalayas are produced each year…”
“They are certainly an increasingly meaningful asset class,” Winsy Tsang, head of sales for handbags and accessories at Christie’s in Hong Kong, told CNN.
In a 2014 interview, 1stdibs dealer JaneFinds told Vogue that the 18-karat white gold hardware and 8.2 carats’ worth of diamonds aren’t the only rarities. “This bag is made of Nilo crocodile, rendered in a subtle coloration that is meant to evoke images of the majestic Himalayan mountains. This dyeing process is painstaking and takes many hours to complete—the lighter the hue, the more difficult the process.”
PETA has taken issue with the practice, and they even made a page exclusively dedicated to the French luxury handbag manufacturer’s operations. According to the animal rights organization, the high-end luxury provider relies on a factory-farmed supply of crocodiles, adding that it takes two or three of the large reptiles to create a single handbag.
Ethics aside, the manufacturer is responding to market pressures in order to maintain a competitive edge. As Mario Ortelli, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, told Bloomberg in 2013: “Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci are trying to elevate the level of perceived exclusivity of their brands, and exotic-skin products really help in this.”
The world’s most expensive purse, however, is still Mouawad’s 1001 Nights Diamond Purse, which is valued at $3.8 million, and contains more than 4,500 diamonds.
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