Known around the world as the definitive collector’s handbag, the Hermes Birkin has transcended fashion, disrupting the discourse on investing. Comfortably sitting side by side with fine art, estate jewels, and rare coins, the French handcrafted handbags are now a leading category among collectors and speculators alike.
For decades, stylish women have turned to Hermes to enhance their luxury wardrobes with the ultimate accessory. The stories of Grace Kelly and Jane Birkin have reached mythical status, shared in the company of experts and admirers. For investors prepared to delve into the details, these straightforward suggestions can serve as a foundation to a growing handbag portfolio.
Whether Hermes Birkin, Kelly or Constance, rare and retired designs are known to increase value. In December of 2017, Heritage Auctions featured three of the rarest on the cover of their Holiday Luxury Accessories catalogue, each exceptional in its own manner, yet all from the same honored collection. Defining the term rare, the Nilo Crocodile handbag evokes the majesty of the Himalayan Mountains.
So, what makes these specific pieces investment worthy? First, all are in store fresh condition with no signs of use or age, plus acquiring a piece from the Himalayan collection is nearly impossible, as they are offered only to the top tier of Hermes clients, adding distinction and collectability.
Arguably Hermes most divergent collection, the Hermes So Black handbag took the celebrated design house on a new, shadowy course in 2010, under the design direction of Jean Paul Gaultier. The stark handbag line paired with black PVD hardware was quickly retired, leading to its legendary and elusive distinction. Meeting the criteria of rare and retired, you can figuratively hear a boom in the collecting world as these pieces slowly hit the auction block.
The breadth of color at Hermes is unlike any other fashion house, with an elite selection of hues reaching investment worthy proportions. 5P Pink, Braise, Nuage, and Beton, each crafted in either a shiny or matte exotic skin, continue to deliver records for the category signaling a jump in value. With new colors offered annually, could there be a correlation between the term IPO and Hermes latest introduction?
Finally, when investing in Hermes, “Buy what you love,” according to Diane D’Amato, Director of Luxury Accessories at Heritage Auctions, it creates diversity among collections leading to inherent value as each and every handcrafted handbag ranks among the most precious of accessories.
How Can I Buy a Hermes Bag?
Once the decision has been made to invest in Hermes, creating an acquisition strategy is in order. With Hermes boutiques throughout the world, visiting a store is quite easy, however obtaining a coveted Birkin or Kelly is not. Each bag is handcrafted by a single artesian, resulting in a select number of pieces created each year, offered to existing and devoted clients.
Fortunately, long-time collectors are offering their precious pieces at auction, joining the traditional categories that bidders have counted on for decades. Buying at auction has evolved, as bidders have more options to land their desired lot. It is no longer necessary to raise your paddle from the first row to get the auctioneer’s attention; with a click of your mouse or a swipe across a smart phone, the winning bid is at your fingertips, wherever they may be!
Written by: Barbara Stone