All About the Most Expensive and Rare Hermès Birkin Bags
The Hermès Birkin is a coveted handbag that is an obsession for many luxury collectors. Being one of the rarest handbags in the luxury market, Hermès Birkin has earned its place as one of the most expensive designer bags.
The story behind the Birkin is as charming as the bag itself. In 1984, during a chance encounter on an Air France flight, Jane Birkin spilled her belongings from a straw tote and expressed her desire for a stylish yet practical leather bag. Seated beside her was Jean-Louis Dumas, the executive chairman of Hermès at the time, who sketched a design on an air sickness bag.
The same bag later became an instant style statement owing to the exceptional French craftsmanship and design. The iconic Birkin is known to last generations, transcending time and space. Even though it has had multiple makeovers, the signature double rolled-up top handles, a flat top, a touret, a clochette, and four clou feet have remained unaltered. In this blog, we look at the top 6 most expensive Birkin bags ever sold.
1. Birkin 20 Matte Alligator
The limited edition Hermès Birkin 20 in Vert D’eau Matte Alligator is the newest in the line, released in 2023. Currently, it is the most expensive Birkin bag with the first one sold at Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong for a whopping 889,000 HKD or $115,570.
The shape, size and sellier structure is similar to the Faubourg, with the body being more plain. The dimensions are 20 x 16 x 11 cm. With gorgeous gold hardware and an interior lined with tonal Chèvre leather, the demand for this bag is expected to remain strong for the next 6-12 months.
2. Birkin Himalaya
The Birkin Himalaya is an ultra-rare purse, which comes both with and without diamonds. Crafted from Niloticus crocodile skin, it is custom colored to achieve a unique white-silver gradient mimicking the snow-capped Himalayas.
Until this year, the Himalaya was ranked at the top of the list of most expensive Birkin bags.
These unique Birkins would typically cost between $50,000 and $80,000 if found in Hermès stores. However, they are exclusively offered to the brand’s most prestigious clients, creating a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for purchase. In 2020, this luxury piece set a record, selling for around $382,295 at Christie’s. In 2022, a diamond-adorned version fetched a staggering $450,000 in a private sale at Sotheby’s.
The reason why Hermès Birkin Himalaya is so expensive is because it is 100% hand-dyed. which means you’re never going to see one that has the exact dye pattern of another.
The exquisite color palette beautifully complements the 18-carat white gold hardware and diamond-adorned clasps. The Cadena lock itself is a gorgeous highlight, featuring 68.4 grams of 18-carat white gold and nearly 40 round brilliant diamonds, totaling 1.64 carats. The entire bag is lavishly adorned with over 200 diamonds, adding up to a striking 8.2 carats. A rare find, this bag has been seen on the arms of millionaires like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Victoria Beckham.
3. Diamond Birkin
The fabulous Hermès diamond Birkin is another treat for Hermès collectors. It’s a sister bag of the Diamond encrusted Birkin Himalaya with the sole difference being in the treatment of the exotic skin. This designer gem is made of crocodile skin and decked out with dazzling diamond-covered gold hardware.
The diamond Birkin is available in multiple classic sizes like 25, 30, 35, and 40 cm. They come in gorgeous color palettes like pink, red, brown, and black. The Diamond Birkin bag prices are within the range of $100,000 to $200,000 on the secondary market depending on the bag’s size and color.
Birkin Sac Faubourg
The Hermès Sac Faubourg Birkin stands out as a remarkably chic and limited edition Birkin bag, paying homage to the Hermès storefront on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the heart of Paris.
Launched in 2019, the Faubourg flaunts a storefront motif featuring three windows adorned with vibrant orange awnings, alongside exquisite crocodile skin flaps, handles, a cadena lock, and a shopping bag clochette.
This petite 20 cm Birkin was originally offered in Brown and Blue. Later, in 2021, they introduced White and Black variants. The White takes the crown as the most expensive Birkin Faubourg, with a selling price exceeding $300,000 in 2022, while a Midnight Black iteration fetched just over $160,000 in a 2023 auction. Notably, in 2022, Christie’s auctioned one for an impressive sum of over $322,000, leaving collectors in awe of its distinctive color scheme and irresistible charm.
4. Birkin Ombré
The Birkin Ombré is a unicorn in the world of luxury bags, crafted from impeccable lizard skin. Back in 2020, the price of the Birkin Ombré bag was a staggering amount of $137,000 but since then the cost has settled a bit. Now, you can snag an older version of this luxury piece for around $40,000 or opt for a fresh-from-the-store beauty at about $80,000.
What makes the Ombré Birkin so unique and expensive? Well, Hermès lovers take delight in the striking symmetrical patterns of lizard skin. With the classic Hermès palladium hardware, including the lock and clochette covered in lizard skin, this bag is truly wearable art. Due to the rarity and size constraints of lizard skin, it typically comes in a 25 cm width.
5. Birkin Metallic
The Hermès Metallic Birkin is another limited edition luxury marvel initially introduced in 2005. It’s available in both silver and bronze hues with a compact 25cm base.
The silver Metallic Birkin has gorgeous palladium hardware while the bronze variant shines with gold accents. Its modern and edgy design is inspired by the chic window displays at the Hermès Rue de Faubourg Saint-Honoré store.
The most expensive Birkin Metallic bag was auctioned for a remarkable 1,071,000 HKD or $139,230 in April 2022 at Sotheby’s. Interestingly, the 25 cm versions get sold for higher prices than the 30 cm models. Like, the Metallic Silver Birkin 30 found a buyer for 508,000 HKD or $66,040.
So there you have it, a peek into the extravagant world of the most expensive Hermès Birkin bags. From the iconic Himalaya to the dazzling Diamond Birkin, these coveted handbags have redefined luxury. As of 2023, the newcomer Birkin 20 Matte Alligator reigns as the most expensive Birkin bag.
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