64 iconic Hermés handbags total $888,875 at Bonhams
A private collection of 64 handbags from the iconic Hermés brand made $888,875
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Monday 21 May 2012
A selection of 64 iconic handbags from Hermés realised £562,750 at Bonhams' Jewellery auction on May 16.
The bags sailed past their individual estimates at the sale, with prices pushed higher by a packed room of enthusiastic bidders.
The auction featured two of the French fashion house's best known designs, the Kelly and Birkin bags, along with a selection spanning 1950-present.
The Birkin design brought the highest results in the sale, with a 2008 example making £37,500, an impressive 212% increase on its estimate of £8,000-12,000. The Birkin bag was named after British actress Jane Birkin, after a chance meeting with Hermés chairman, Jean-Louis Dumas.
Another 2003 example of the Birkin sold for £30,000 against an identical £8,000-12,000 estimate. The current world record for a handbag at auction is held by a diamond-studded version of the design, which sold for $203,150 in late 2011.
Bonhams' Carole Gordon commented: "Hermès is renowned for its handmade luggage and handbags. It is clear that the level of craftsmanship seen in this collection resulted in a huge amount of interest by clients at an international level who were prepared to pay top prices for these highly coveted items."
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a superb Longines Olympic Series watch in stock, a classic design with unrivalled craftsmanship.
In 1956, Grace Kelly, then Princess of Monaco, made the Hermés Sac á dépeches famous after using it to hide her pregnancy in photographs. It became known as the Kelly and has since become one of the company's bestselling designs. A 1999 black patent crocodile version of the bag made a 254.1% increase on a £4,000-6,000 estimate, selling for £21,250.
Handbags, particularly those owned by prominent cultural figures, have historically seen impressive figures at auction. In 2011, Margaret Thatcher's Asprey handbag was sold in a charity auction for £25,000.
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