Last week, a rare white matte crocodile skin Hermès Birkin bag from the Himalaya Collection was sold for a whopping HK$2 million at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong.
At the same time, another Hermès 2010 matte black niloticus crocodile “so black” Birkin 30 bag was sold for HK$1.37 million – far higher than its presale estimate of HK$400,000. It was a piece from the label’s So Black Collection, one of the last designs created by previous Hermès creative director, Jean Paul Gaultier, before he left the luxury brand in 2010 to concentrate on his haute couture fashion house.
So what is so special about these bags? According to Hermès, every artisan who works for the company is trained for three to four years before they are even allowed to touch the hide. Then, only 10 percent of the leather is actually used for the creation of a bag with a single artisan completing the process for each. This makes the production of Birkins and Kellys completely dependent on the number of properly trained craftsmen in the company at any given time.
They are also never flooded in the market and also have been able to retain their luxurious status due to their quality, design, and durability. If you want to place an order for a Hermès handbag from the store, you will have to wait for years to get one made for you – that’s if you can get one at all!
Due to the extensive waiting required, most people opt to buy them from auctions or pre-loved marketplaces. The annual return for a Hermès Birkin is estimated to be 14.2%.
Named after the singer and actress Jane Birkin when it was created in 1981, The Birkin bag has become one of the most sought-after accessories in the world, but it began as a quest for the perfect holdall. Jane had met the chief executive of Hermès on a flight from Paris to London, where he offered to design this for her and he asked in return if the company could name it after her.
Check out some iconic Birkin bag moments below: