Why Birkin Bags At Auction Command So Much Money

Why Birkin Bags At Auction Command So Much Money

I posted on Facebook the other day news of the newest most expensive resold bag in the world. After a couple of comments and questions, decided the best thing The Appraisal Group can do is give you the back story on the bags.

Jane BirkinThe Birkin bag was designed for a young, beautiful and hippiesh model named Jane Birkin in 1984. It came about because the then Hermes President Jean-Louis Dumas was seated next to Jane on a flight. When she tried to put her bag in the overhead compartment, contents scattered. “Mon dieu!” So M. Dumas created a bag just for her. A few years later, she wasn’t using it anymore, but by then it had become a classic, a symbol of wealth. In 2015, she asked the company to disassociate her name with the crocodile bags. It was her nod to ecological issues.

Hermes limits production of the bags to just 70,000 (+/-) annually according to best third party estimates. The bag is a two handled bag with a flap that can be secured by the lock. Keys enclosed in a small pouch called a “clochette” The bags come in sizes ranging  from 25-, 30-, 35-, to 40-centimeters, with traveling bags of 50- and 55-centimeters. (About 9 inches – 25 inches.) The come in a variety of basic colors and a rainbow of special colors. They can be made of leather, lizard, ostrich and croc. (Hermes has its own alligator farms. 

The bags are especially popular in Asia, where, it is reported, one does not need a purchasing history to buy a bag provided the purchaser is a wealthy Asian woman. In other parts of the world, Hermes makes people establish a “purchasing history” before entitling them to purchase a Birkin bag. Needless to say, counterfeits of all quality are readily available.

Heritage Auction kicked off the resale party several years ago after hiring a recent college grad who had sold bags from his dorm room. The category was an immediate success. The expert was wooed away by Christie’s and a multi-million dollar lawsuit ensued. That said, the scandal does not impact the price of Birkin bags at auction.

New Birkin bags run from about $11,000 upwards. The most expensive one at the moment is a red (braise in Hermes lingo) croc skin with 18-karat white gold and diamond hardware.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian’s bag personalized by North West.

The Birkin bag has a sub-culture of celebrities who deface the bags to personalize them, as shown in this image of Kim Kaardashian’s bag that was personalized by her child North West. 

For more, please visit Vogue.com


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