Himalaya Birkin & Kelly Expected To Go For A Song
If you had a spare US$150,000 or so, would the Hermès Himalaya collection be on your radar? The popularity of this “holy grail” handbag shows no sign of waning, with Christie’s auctioning off a 2020 Himalaya Kelly 25 Retourne with Palladium hardware with bids starting at US$120,000 (Lot 75) and a 2016 Himalaya Birkin 30 with Palladium hardware with bids starting at US$60,000 (Lot 102). Bidding for Handbags Online: The New York Edit is open between 26th May and 9th June 2022.
Earlier this year the auction house sold a 2019 Himalaya Birkin 25 with Palladium hardware for HK$1,764,000 (around US$224,000) and a 2019 Himalaya Kelly 25 with Palladium hardware for Sold: HK$1,638,000 (around US$208,000) at its Handbags & Accessories auction.
Himalaya handbags have frequently broken records at auction for being the most expensive handbag to ever go under the hammer. In 2021, a Himalaya Kelly 28 with diamond hardware sold for HKD 4,000,000 (approximately US$515,000) and a Himalaya Kelly 25 with Palladium hardware sold for HK$3.3 million (around US$420,000).
Why Are Hermès Himalaya handbags so expensive?
The Hermès Himalaya collection is identifiable from its white, smoky grey and soft brown ombre Niloticus crocodile, reminiscent of snowcapped mountains. It has a cachet that is unmatched by any other handbag, earning it the reputation of the ultimate Hermès status symbol. The collection, which includes Kelly, Birkin, Constance and Plume, among others, is produced in such limited numbers that it’s earned itself the reputation of being the rarest handbag in the world and is only offered to Hermès’ most VIP customers.
The rarity and value of these handbags can be explained by the craftsmanship that goes into them. Artisans pick the lightest crocodile skins to process extensively in order to achieve the pure white with subtle grading that is unique to this collection. It’s a process so difficult and time-consuming that it’s one of Hermès’ best-kept secrets.
The History of the Hermès Himalaya
Kelly Vert Celadon Natura, a very rare bag released in the 1990s, was the predecessor of Himalaya. It has a green-brown gradation, because, before the Himalaya dyeing process has been mastered, it was impossible to move all the natural pigment of the skins. By the end of the 2000s, the Himalaya had hit the market. Himalaya Birkin is available in 25 and 30 centimeters and Himalaya Kelly in 28 and 35 centimeters. A handful are still produced each year.
The popularity and value of these handbags show no sign of waning, so if you have a spare US$150,000 or so burning a hole in your pocket, now is your chance to add a Himalaya to your Hermès collection.
Handbags Online: The New York Edit is in partnership with FASHIONPHILE and is part of Christie’s New York Luxury Fashion Week.
Other Hermès bags featured include a Shearling Teddy Kelly 35 (estimate: US$24,000-30,000), a Nata In & Out Kelly 25 (estimate: US$20,000-25,000), a Rose Mexico Marble Silk Constance 24 (estimate: US$15,000-20,000) and a Bleu Saphir Padded Kelly 25 (estimate: US$24,000-30,000).