Going to show that nothing stands between a woman and her love of handbags – not even recession – Christie’s just sold its most expensive Birkin bag ever: the rare Rouge Moyen alligator Birkin has a new owner for “just” £49,250.
Birkin bags are famously expensive
, mostly because they’re handmade from genuine alligator skin and they come in such limited editions that one has to wait up to 3 years to get one.
However, the 1998 Rouge Moyen alligator Birkin is the one to make history, having officially become the most expensive bag ever to be auctioned at Christie’s the other night, the Daily Mail
Of course, it wasn’t the only item to go under the hammer at the fancy event that saw such an exclusive and select gathering as rarely another public event sees: 51 pieces exchanged hands during the auction.
Pat Frost, Christie’s director of fashion and textiles, explains the appeal of the Birkin bags for their craftsmanship, the exotic material used and, of course, the brand.
“The most sought after bags are always the Birkins and Kellys [named after actresses Jane Birkin and Grace Kelly],’ Frost says for the Mail. In all these years, interest in them has never faded.
“And the interesting thing is that yes, of course, they’re bought by wealthy people, but we don’t see the same people coming back over and over again. The mentality seems to be that you search for your perfect Hermes bag and once you find it, you’re done,” Frost adds.
“The really expensive bags are the ones made of exotic leathers: crocodile, lizard, alligator and ostrich. With the croc bags, which command the very highest prices, the paler the color, the more the bag is worth because it’s extremely hard to dye the skins successfully,” he says.
As if that wasn’t enough to up their price tag to astronomical proportions
, there’s also the question of how many pieces of crocodile skin are made. Not that many, Frost says.
“Hermes don’t give us the details of their distribution and production but, for example, we know that the Sloane Square store gets only four crocodile bags to sell off the shelf each year,” he explains.