I recently read in the Daily Mail UK that Christies Auction House in Hong Kong sold the most expensive handbag ever sold. But according to the Wall Street Journal it was the most expensive bag sold at auction.
The bag was a Birkin by Hermes, in fuchsia pink crocodile skin. It was purchased by an unidentified buyer at the auction. When the hammer went down, the price tag was 1.72 million Hong Kong dollars which is equal to UK £150,000, or US $228,480. It was reported in the Daily Mail as the most expensive handbag ever sold, but I think like it stated in the Wall Street Journal it was meant to say the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction.
The Daily Mail UK said that this sale broke the previous world record, set in 2011, for the world’s most expensive handbag. The previous record was for a bag which sold for £133,500 (US$202,585) at auction in the USA. This was also for a Hermes Birkin, but in rouge-red crocodile skin.
My research reveals that the world’s most expensive handbag, as listed in the Guinness Book of Records, was for a Mouawad’s 1001 Nights Diamond Purse which is worth an astounding US $3.8 million.
I will dedicate this article to talking about the world’s most expensive handbag sold at auction as identified by the Daily Mail UK and Wall Street Journal. But just to put it into perspective; instead of buying this pink Birkin, you could buy a luxury car with the same amount of money. Or even put a deposit on a house. And the Daily Mail reports that Christies have another Birkin up for auction soon, a sexy black leather number, which may even sell for more.
So why pay so much for a Birkin?
This remarkably expensive handbag is a Birkin bag produced by Hermes. It was made in 2014 of bright fuchsia-pink luxury crocodile skin and features a genuine 18 karat white gold clasp and lock embossed with real diamonds.
The first Birkin bag ever was designed in 1984 by Hermes, a French fashion house, and is seen as a fashion classic. It was named after the actress Jane Birkin and the story goes that the Birkin bag was fashioned when the Hermes CEO, Jean-Louis Dumas, sat next to her on a Paris to London flight.
The well-known fashion legend tells the story of Jane Birkin sitting next to Hermès CEO, Jean-Louis Dumas, on an airplane and all her things falling out of her handbag. She was carrying a relatively small bag her husband, Jacques Doillon, had deliberately run over the woven basket she used to carry on her trips. The actress expressed her frustration about her struggle to find a suitable leather weekend bag. She described the type of bag she would like to Jean-Louis and he came up with the design shortly afterward, She sketched out what her idyllic bag would be like on a sick bag. Soon after, the bag she defined was created as the Birkin. Hermés now consider many of the world’s wealthiest women to be fans of the Birkin.
The Hermes brand is famed for its wonderful leather accessories and the Birkin has become one of the most desirable handbags ever. The Birkin bag is notorious for having a price tag in the thousands of dollars. Despite this, there is a waiting list for a Birkin which can be several years long.
Hermes is distinguished by its perfection in both its finish and for using the finest quality materials. Hermès do not use assembly lines but instead uses an experienced crafts-person to hand-craft each bag to create the immaculately finished product.
Regrettably the high-end luggage and accessories created by Hermès aren’t really in the average fashionista’s price range. Even a regular Hermes Birkin bag is priced upwards of £8,000 (US$ 12185). However, although a Birkin bag may be worth as much as a small car, it is appreciated by the fashion trade that it is an investment. It is a bag that will remain in style and good shape for years, if not decades; and will also go up in value. The record auction of this Birkin has proved that. As well there is a waiting list of up to three years which creates demand and increases value.
We don’t know who bought this expensive Birkin handbag (the buyer was a phone bidder), but we are aware of the fact that both Kim Kardashian and Heidi Klum are the proud owners of similar pink Hermes Birkin bags.
It is also rumored that Victoria Beckham owns as many as 100 luxury bags, including Birkins, which together are thought to be worth £1,500,000 (US$2,284,800). It seems Khloe Kardashian owns a bag in just about every color of the rainbow.
The Hermes Birkin is considered by most to be one of the most iconic and sought-after handbags ever produced. It is loved and adored by purse lovers everywhere. No purse forum would be complete without a discussion about the Hermès Birkin.
Ten interesting facts about the Birkin:
1. Was designed and named after the actress Jane Birkin in 1981
2. The first Hermes Birkin Bag was drawn up on a sick bag on an airplane
3. Jane is onto her fifth Hermes Birkin Bag. Jane uses a particular Hermes Birkin Bag in a neutral color until it is worn-out; only then does she acquire a new one. She then auctions the old used bag and donates the money to charity. She likes to decorate her bags with patches, charms, and personalization’s to make the bag more informal and less snobbish.
4. Jane is paid a royalty for the use of her name which she donates to charity.
5. The Hermes Birkin Bag comes in many colors, There are 25 shades of blue alone.
6. A Hermes Birkin is handcrafted by an artisan.
7. Each Hermes craftsman has his own set of tools which he takes with him when he retires.
8. A Hermes Birkin has held the last two records set for the most expensive handbag ever auctioned.
9. There are waiting lists of up to three years for a Hermes Birkin bag.
10. The elusive “Himalayan” Birkin is one of the rarest models. The name actually refers to the bag’s unique color. It is described as looking like a snow-topped mountain in the Himalayas.
I am not sure that the pink Birkin bag reported in the Daily Mail UK is the most expensive handbag in the world, but it is certainly the most expensive handbag which has sold at auction so far.