Thirteen unique Hermès handbags worth a total of nearly $1 million were stolen from the Only Authentics store on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach in a seizure and destruction incident.
Store owner Virgil Rogers said the handbags were stolen when the display case where they were displayed was smashed during the night of December 14.
Several of the bags are worth more than six figures each, Virgil said, bringing the total value of the missing items to nearly $1 million.
The store, located at 325 Worth Ave. offers a 30-year-old collection of Hermès and Chanel handbags, jewelry and accessories, an employee said. Only Authentic markets itself as “the world’s most trusted independent retailer of Hermès and Chanel handbags and accessories,” according to its website.
Hermès handbags come in a variety of styles and lines made up of unique pieces. The Kelly and the Birkin are the most expensive handbags in the line. The main difference between the two bags is that while a Birkin has two handles, a Kelly has a single handle and a strap, an employee explained.
Eight Birkins and five Kellys were stolen, the most expensive being a 40 centimeter green crocodile skin Kelly listed at $89,000 and a 32 centimeter Green Bosphorus Birkin listed at $110,000, according to a store employee.
Most Birkins on the store’s website are priced from around $17,000 to around $90,000, with a couple priced at $480,000. The Kellys start at around $5,000 for a wallet and go up to around $40,000.
Specially made from leathers such as cowhide, alligator and ostrich, Hermès bags are not only highly sought after in the fashion industry due to their craftsmanship, but also due to their exclusivity.
Traditionally, when buying a bag directly from Hermès, a buyer will have to join a waiting list, which can take several years to reach the top. Buying a bag from the Hermes website won’t waste your time either. In order to purchase a brand new Birkin or Kelly directly from Hermès, a trip to a storefront is required. The number of bags a customer can purchase per year is also limited.
“Because Birkins and Kellys are so exclusive, we’re giving people a way to get these bags in a non-traditional way, while also giving them the opportunity (to collect them),” an Only Authentics employee said.
Like Only Authentics, many of the boutiques that line Worth Avenue display high-end items in storefronts — and risk having those goods taken in a smash-and-grab incident.
Business owners needing advice on keeping their display items safe can contact the Palm Beach Police Department’s Business and Community Relations Unit, spokesperson Capt. Will Rothrock said.