Sotheby’s is offering a rare handbag in a private sale for more than half a million dollars.
The Hermes Kelly 25 on offer is expected to surpass the price paid for a similar bag, a slightly larger Kelly 28, earlier this year. That one sold for $513,000, also in a private sale, according to a Sotheby’s representative.
The sale would be the latest sign that some ultra-high-end handbags are seeing such strong demand that they’re reaching higher prices on the resale market than in stores amid limited production capacity at Hermes International.
The bag on offer, which was manufactured this year, is a white crocodile Himalaya with 18k white-gold hardware. Its clasp and the lock attached are studded with 258 diamonds.
Smaller handbags tend to be preferred by international buyers, which explains why this bag is worth more than the Kelly 28 on the resale market, said Aurelie Vassy, who’s handling the private sale at Sotheby’s in Paris. Sotheby’s declined to disclose the exact price tag for the bag.
The Himalaya bags shot to fame in 2010 when designer Jean-Paul Gaultier sent a Birkin in mother-of-pearl white, reminiscent of a snowy mountain landscape, down the runway, according to a Sotheby’s post from March.
In a separate report, Bloomberg reported that a new Birkin bag will cost much more next year, according to Hermes International.
The French company plans to increase prices worldwide between 5% and 10% in January. This compares with an average increase of around 4% this year, Hermes chief financial officer Eric du Halgouet told reporters on a call last month after the company posted sales that beat estimates. In previous years, the hike was typically about 2%, he added.
A Birkin 25 in Togo leather currently costs €7,400 ($7,242) in France, a spokeswoman said. A 10% increase would lift that to €8,140, though Hermes did not specify how much prices will be increased in that country, reports Bloomberg.
“Perception of ownership of Hermes as an investment, and as a sign of prosperity, is building,” said Deborah Aitken, analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, which gives the company “added flexibility” when it comes to pricing.