When rare Hermès bags go up for auction, it’s often the Birkin that takes center stage but at an upcoming Heritage Auctions sale, it’s a rare Kelly bag that has purse collectors plotting a purchase.
A Hermès 32cm Matte Geranium Porosus Crocodile & Black Togo Leather Sellier Kelly Bag with Feet will be the lead lot of Heritage Auctions’ Dec. 10-11 Holiday Luxury Accessories Signature® Auction. It had an original retail price of nearly $60,000 and is estimated to sell between $50,000 and $100,000. What makes this bag special is its rarity and its pristine condition. The bag was created as part of the Petit H Exhibition which was shown around the world and has five oversized crocodile-covered feet matching its trim.
“All Hermès lovers have to hear is that this bag is one-of-one and they will know that it is an extraordinary piece,” said Matt Rubinger, Director of Luxury Accessories at Heritage who speculated that it could be the most collectible bag in the world. The auction also includes a Special Order Horseshoe 35cm Orange H, Vert Anis & Jaune Togo Leather Birkin Bag with Palladium Hardware, opening for bidding at $7,500, a Limited Edition Barenia & Shearling Kelly Muff Clutch Bag, opening for bidding at $2,000, and a Hermès 30cm Shiny Braise Porosus Crocodile Birkin Bag with Palladium Hardware opening for bidding at $20,000.
The auction will also offer highlights of the most important creations from designer Marc Jacobs during his time as lead designer at Louis Vuitton including collaborations with Takashi Murakami and Stephen Sprouse. The Louis Vuitton 2003 Limited Edition Eye Love Monogram by Takashi Murakami White Eye Dare You Overnight Bag is opening for bidding at $2,000. The Louis Vuitton 2001 Limited Edition Monogram Graffiti Speedy, part of his work with Sprouse is opening for bidding at $500.
The auction is a testament to the rapid growth of the collectible handbag market. The resale and consignment market for these items has always been strong but in the last few years luxury auctions have increasingly been where the rarest of the rare find their new owners. The Heritage Auction will take place in Dallas, Texas after a three-city tour and preview of the pieces. “One of the best parts of taking this category to a wider audience has been the incredible response of people who have loved and bought handbags for years but never self-identified as collectors,” said Rubinger. “Now many of them are seeing that their love for handbags is justified — this is a viable, vibrant place to put investment level money right now.”
Partial previews will be held in Beverly Hills November 14-16 and in New York City November 21-24 before returning to Dallas at the start of December. See the Heritage catalog for full details.