Our forthcoming Fine Jewellery, Silver, Watches and Handbags auction on Thursday 16 November, features a selection of iconic Hermès handbags, including a classic box calf leather Kelly and a six of world-renowned Birkin handbags. Here James Nicholson, Deputy Chairman and International Head of Jewellery, Silver and Watches at Dreweatts, tells us about these highly coveted handbags.
The Birkin is one of the most sought-after handbags in history, their immense popularity and the craftmanship involved to painstakingly create each Birkin bag have resulted in long waitlists with customers potentially waiting years for the opportunity to be offered the chance to purchase a Birkin from a retail location. However, at an auction you could have one within a matter of weeks. Purchasing a Birkin at auction also ensures you aren’t compromising on quality as they are thoroughly checked and verified by leading specialists within their field.
Lot 268: Hermès, Birkin 30, a blue jean togo leather handbag, circa 2006 | est. £5,000-7,000 (+ fees)
The design inspiration for the Birkin bag struck Jean-Louis Dumas, Executive Chairman of Hermès (1978-2006), during a flight from Paris to London in 1984. Sat next to French actress, singer and fashion icon Jane Birkin, Jean-Louis Dumas saw her with a straw travelling bag, struggling to place it in the overhead compartment as her belongings fell out. She had complained to him that she couldn’t find a suitable bag that could contain all of her ever-growing contents as a young mother, leading Dumas to create the bag in her namesake.
Lot 269: Hermès, Birkin 30, a cream togo leather handbag, circa 2008 | Est. £3,000-5,000 (+ fees)
The bags are crafted in France, hand-sewn by craftspeople who have completed five years of training. Each bag takes up to eighteen hours to complete, using the company’s signature stitching, which was first introduced in the 1800s, the bag is then painted and polished before finally being housed inside an iconic orange Hermes box. The use of the best quality materials, the time involved and the high level of attention to detail, is what gives it the price tag, but the rarity and timeless style makes the Birkin the ultimate status symbol across the world.
Lot 271: Hermès, Birkin 40, a grey togo leather handbag, circa 2008 | Est. £6,000-8,000 (+ fees)
A stunning highlight amongst the Birkin’s offered is Lot 273, which is a matte amethyst alligator Birkin handbag, circa 2012, also offered are five other Birkin’s in a variety of colours and made of Hermès Clemence and Togo leathers.
Y Lot 273: Hermès, Birkin 35, a matte amethyst alligator handbag, circa 2012 | Est. £25,000-35,000 (+ fees)
Lot 272: Hermès, Birkin 40, a tan togo leather handbag, circa 2015 | Est. £4,000-6,000 (+ fees)
Lot 270: Hermès, Birkin 40, a black clemence leather handbag, circa 2008 | Est. £7,000-10,000 (+ fees)
The auction also offers a Hermès, Kelly, in a brown box calf leather, circa 1970 (Lot 267). The Kelly handbag was created in the 1930s and originally known as the ‘sac à dépêches’ bag. However, in 1957 Hollywood actress and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, used the bag to conceal her growing baby bump. Images of this outing featured on the front cover of magazines across the world, catapulting the bag into the limelight, elegant and fashionable women flocked to Hermès asking for the ‘Kelly bag’ which skyrocketed sales. Grace Kelly was so highly associated with the popularity of the bag that in 1977 Hermes renamed the design in her honour and henceforth it has been known as the ‘Kelly’ bag.
Lot 267: Hermès, Kelly, a brown box calf leather handbag, circa 1970 | est. £2,000-3,000 (+ fees)
Page Turning Catalogue
Thursday 16 November | 10.30am
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
Browse the auction
Sign up to email alerts
- Saturday 11 November: 10am-3pm
- Sunday 12 November: 10am-3pm
- Monday 13 November: 10am-4pm
- Tuesday 14 November: 10am-4pm
- Wednesday 15 November: 10am-4pm
Dreweatts Remote Viewing Service | Find out more