Hand-crafted in Italy and made to last, Hermès handbags are the pinnacle of status – the Holy Grail of luxury. The most extravagant and pristine of Hermès bags have been considered investments delivering returns that beat those from the stock market.
Which Hermès Bag holds its value the best?
In terms of…
Style: Though they owe their existence to the chance meeting of Jane Birkin and Jean-Louis Dumas, the late chief executive of Hermès, and a pregnant Grace Kelly’s best efforts to hide her growing belly from paparazzi, these lavish bags have become universal signs of wealth. The Hermès Birkin and Kelly bags are the frontrunners in maintaining value.
Hermès has perfected the art of luxury with these two bags. The Birkin offers a chic solution to Jane Birkin’s notion that it’s impossible to find a large, yet eloquent, handbag. The Kelly, which exudes status and class, offers a more formal option, perhaps for a date night or office luncheon. Regardless of your reason for purchase, both the Kelly and Birkin bags are an investment that is both safe and stylish. Hermès handcrafts handbags that have are impossible to rival in the secondary market, which ensures that they will hold their value for years to come.
Color: Though color is a buyer’s prerogative, the five colors that have consistently sold for the highest value in the secondary market are:
- 5P Pink
- Emerald Green
- So Black collection
Material: The resale value of Hermes bags is largely dependent on the rarity and uniqueness of the material from which it is made. While Hermes prides itself on creating every piece of leather for longevity, ostrich or crocodile skin bags are much harder to come by, and therefore bring in higher resale value — often reaching six figures.
Size: As fashion trends evolve, so does the desire for different sizes of handbags. Within the past two years, mini bags have experienced a resurgence in the market, driving up the resale value. Therefore, 25- and 30-inch Birkins and Kellys are in high demand.
For big bag lovers, no worries: big bags are bound to become increasingly more popular and the 35-inch Hermès bags will be restored to their former glory. Hermès bags have encountered a 500 percent increase in value over the past 35 years.
Condition: The condition of these bags is the be-all and end-all in the resale market. Bags that are in pristine condition are the ultimate candidates for collection as an investment. Bags for auction are graded on a scale from “good” to “pristine” as follows:
- Good: pleasing eye appeal and fully presentable with moderate evident wear, with no missing accents
- Very good: evidence of handling with no major flaws or wear
- Excellent: nearly mint condition with only very minor evidence of handling
- Pristine: perfect condition and presents as brand new, with no indication of handling or marks
How Can I Buy a Hermès Handbag?
For the majority of the population, the most feasible way to buy a Hermès handbag is to purchase in the resale market. Because Hermès bags hold their value, virtually new bags can be purchased in the secondary market without the hassle that comes with creating a long-standing relationship with the Hermès sales associate. However, the high value of the bags does drive a very serious counterfeit market.
Therefore, purchasing bags from a qualified source, such as a luxury auction house, is recommended due to the diligence they put into examining the bags, grading the condition and verifying authenticity.
However, purchasing a bag from Hermès directly is a different story. Getting your hands on a Hermès bag is certainly not as simple as waltzing into your neighborhood Hermès store and picking one off the shelf. In fact, there are few people with the luxury of having a Hermès store near their neighborhood, and it would be considered a miracle for the average person to even gain a spot on the years-long waitlist. The reason Hermès is such a status symbol is because there are only a select number of Hermès handbags produced per year. Bags are strictly sold to A-listers and the most brand-loyal of Hermes customers.
In order to get your hands on one of these house-bought bags, a longstanding relationship with the sales associate is crucial. A client must begin with Hermès homegoods, jewelry, ready-to-wear collections and work their way up to the handbags. However, even the handbags are a ladder. For example, if a brand-loyal individual who comes into the store seeking a black Birkin bag is offered a green one instead, they typically purchase the green bag for fear of insulting the sales associate.
Moral of the story: the selective retail market is the reason the Hermès resale market is booming!
A Guide to Wearing vs. Investing
Hermès handbags can be bought and worn or bought and tucked away as an investment — the decision is up to the buyer. For buyers and investors alike, Heritage Auctions luxury handbag guru Diane D’Amato swears by the catchphrase “Buy what you love, love what you buy!”
But before you fill your brand-new bag with all the days’ necessities, consider the following:
Bags for investing should be:
- Kept in pristine condition
- Stored in original box/dust bag
- Never worn
- Plastic hardware protectors still attached
Bags for wearing should be:
- Versatile! The versatility of a bag is entirely up to its owner. Do you prefer big bags to small bags? Neutrals to pastels? Kellys to Birkins?
Written by: Megan Jeter
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