Published: June 2, 2016
HONG KONG — A 2008 matte white Hermes Himalaya Niloticus crocodile diamond Birkin 30 with 18K white gold and diamond hardware sold for a record $300,168 at Christie’s 30 Years: The Sale on May 30. Going to a private Asian collector, it is the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction. “The diamond pieces created by Hermes are exceptional, but none are nearly as iconic as the Himalaya,” Christie’s said in a press release prior to the sale. “It is believed that only one or two of the Diamond Himalayas are produced each year, globally, making it one of the lowest production runs for handbags.”
“Its rarity and exclusivity, the quality of leather and craftsmanship, its style and the ability to customize,” all contribute to making this the most valuable bag in the world today, New York-based appraiser Helaine Fendelman of Helaine Fendelman & Associates told CNN. The fact they are instantly recognizable without a large emblazoned logo only adds to their appeal, she added, although clever marketing by Hermes also helps.
Last year the Birkin bag sales record was broken by a fuchsia diamond-studded Hermes Birkin, which achieved $220,000. and further cement the bag’s celebrated fashion credentials.
In December 1978, Christie’s conducted its first auction of a handbag. The star of the show was a navy blue Chanel, property of the great Coco herself, and it sold to the Smithsonian Institute for $800. This milestone event jumpstarted the auction market for handbags as well as Christie’s then-costume and textile department, which eventually evolved into the firm’s present handbags and accessories department.
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