Strong Demand for Hermès Continues at Christie’s $52.5M Handbags and Accessories Sale | Auctions News | THE VALUE

Among handbag enthusiasts, the Hermès Himalaya Birkin is hailed as the holy grail of a collection, while the Himalaya Kelly is dubbed the rarest bag in the world – both are considered the ultimate status symbol.

Christie’s proved it once again at the handbags and accessories sale in Hong Kong this spring, with the two Himalaya bags selling for more than HK$1.6 million (about US$203,000). to become the most expensive and expensive lots in the sale, while second place goes to the playful bags Which Idol.

Lot 3915 | Hermes 2019 | Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 25 with palladium hardware
Year: 2019
25 x 19 x 14cm
Rating: 1

Estimate: HK$1,000,000 – 1,500,000
Sold: HK$1,764,000 (about US$224,000)

Lot 3916 | Hermes 2019 | Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Flipped Kelly 25 with palladium hardware
Year: 2019
25 x 19 x 9cm
Rating: 1

Estimate: HK$1,000,000 – 1,500,000
Sold: HK$1,638,000 (about US$208,000)

Himalaya bags are perhaps the most sought after items at fashion auctions. Last year in Hong Kong, an 18-karat white gold and diamond-encrusted Himalaya Kelly 28 set the world handbag auction record at HK$4 million (approximately US$510,000) – beating the record the previous year, when again at Christie’s Hong Kong, a diamond-free Himalaya Kelly 25 fetched HK$3.3 million (about $420,000).

So how did Himalaya bags achieve such status?

The answer lies in its craftsmanship and rarity. The Himalaya bag is named after the Himalayan mountains, not because of its origin, but rather because of the delicate gradation of color. The smoky gray and brown on the sides gradually fade into a pearly white in the center, resembling the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas.

Left: The record-breaking 28cm Kelly handbag | Right: The previous 25cm Kelly record handbag

Achieving such an effect is arduous, as the color does not come naturally from the crocodile skins, but through a careful dyeing process. The craftsman must first select a naturally fair skin – which in itself is already taxing. Then, the skin must be dried, descaled, depigmented and finally retinted to create a degraded effect.

Handcrafted, each Himalaya bag is unique and can be styled according to customer preference. Due to the time-consuming construction process, the brand only offers an extremely limited number of Himalaya bags to its VIP customers, making them nearly impossible to find and a true collector’s item with excellent market value.

Lot 3825 | Hermes 2021 | A custom Quelle Idole in matte black alligator and bright red Swift leather with palladium hardware
Year: 2021
15 x 12 x 6cm
Rating: 1

Estimate: 600,000 – 800,000 HK$
Sold: HK$1,638,000 (about US$208,000)

Besides the Himalaya bags, another Hermès bag highly coveted by collectors is the Quelle Idole – better known as the Kelly Doll. With a low estimate of HK$600,000 (around US$76,000), the matte black alligator and bright red Swift leather which idol fetched HK$1.6 million (around US$200,000).

Released for the first time in 2000, it was designed by Jean-Louis Dumas, then president of Hermès. With a smiling face and dangling arms, the bag is a whimsical take on the brand’s signature Kelly bag. A creative mix of luxury handbag and children’s toy, even its name is a play on the French phrase “quelle idole”, which translates to “what an idol!”

A Kelly doll designed for the opening of the SOGO department store in Hong Kong in 2010

Originally retailing for around US$2,500, it wasn’t until the bag was discontinued in 2005 that it became the most sought-after item for Hermès collectors. Beginning in 2008, Kelly Doll would reappear from time to time, mostly to mark the opening of new stores around the world, and was incredibly rare on the resale market.

HSS Kelly Dolls
Custom order with a special horseshoe stamp

Exciting news for handbag lovers hit in 2017, when the first HSS – custom-made order with a special horseshoe stamp – Kelly Doll rolled out of the workshops of Hermès. Since then many examples have come to the secondary market in various combinations.

The rarest and most coveted HSS Kelly dolls are rendered in Matte Alligator – which is the current batch – as the brand keeps production of these extremely limited.

Other highlights:

Lot 3958 | Hermes 2020 | A limited edition Northern Blue Swift leather and Mini Picnic Kelly wicker with palladium hardware
Year: 2020
18.5 x 13.5 x 7cm
Rating: 1

Estimate: 240,000 – 320,000 HK$
Sold: HK$1,071,000 (about US$136,000)

At the end of the last decade, mini bags reigned supreme. Recently, in the world of handbags, the smaller the size, the longer the waiting list. Therefore, when the classic Kelly is reduced to a mini bag – not to mention its fine wicker basket twist with a summer vibe – it’s no surprise that collectors go viral and spend millions of dollars on it.

Lot 3928 | Hermes 2020 | Fawn Barenia Leather & Kellywood 22 Bog Oak with Palladium Hardware
Year: 2020
22 x 19 x 8.5cm
Rating: 1

Estimate: 600,000 – 800,000 HK$
Sold: HK$1,512,000 (about US$192,000)

Lot 3968 | Hermes 2020 | Matt navy blue alligator, deep blue madame, orange h swift, indigo blue & dark blue sombrero, chalk epsom leather faubourg sellier Birkin 20 with palladium hardware

Year: 2020
20 x 16 x 11cm
Rating: 1
Estimate: HK$800,000 – 1,200,000
Sold: HK$1,260,000 (about US$160,000)

Auction details:

Auction house: Christie’s Hong Kong
Sales: handbags and accessories
Date: May 23, 2022
Number of batches: 189
Sold: 179
Unsold: 10
Sell ​​rate: 94.7%
Total sale: HK$52,597,440

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