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Fashion

Some Of The Most Expensive Designer Bags Sold At A Christie's Auction

Prada just put the fashion auction in the spotlight with its upcoming event with Sotheby's in Oct. But before that, we take a look at just how popular these lots are – in particular handbags – from another auction house, Christie's, which had sold a Birkin for as much as a five-room HDB flat.

The Hermes Birkin that was auctioned off for more than $400,000. Photo: Christie’s

We all know it’s not easy to get a Hermes bag, much less the Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin 35 with 18K white gold and diamond hardware.

According to the auction house Christie’s website, its name comes from the gradation of the Nile crocodile hide that is used to craft the bag. Utilising a time-consuming and difficult dyeing process, the leather transits from a smoky grey into a pearly white, reminiscent of the snow-capped Himalayas.

Married with the craftsmanship that the luxury house is known for, where an expert craftsman takes up to 40 hours to produce a bag, as well as the precious metals used on the bag, this bag fetched one of highest prices for a handbag ever in 2018 – £236,750 or S$417,365, the price of a five-room HDB flat in Singapore.

And it’s not the only handbag to fetch a high price at Christie’s. The auction house conducts a handbag sale that sees the rich drop a pretty penny on rare bags that they fancy.

So collectors like local socialite Jamie Chua – who owns more than just a few Hermes Birkin bags and recently showed off her pink bag collection on social media – might really be onto something by “investing” in luxury bags.

Here are some of the other expensive handbags that have passed through the hands of the London house.

This article originally appeared in Her World.

Hermes' metallic bronze chevre leather Birkin 25 with gold hardware
The use of metallic leather for Hermes is a rarity, hence increasing the value of this bag, which is one of the most expensive Hermes bags that does not carry any precious metal on it. It was sold for €100,000 (S$160,268) in 2017. Louis Vuitton's aluminium explorer trunk
According to Christies’ head of handbags and accessories Matthew Rubinger, there are just two of these bags still known to exist – one in the Louis Vuitton Foundation and the other was sold by the auction house in 2018 for £236,750. Other than how rare it is, the other reason for its high price tag is because aluminium was a very precious metal in the 1890s, worth even more than gold. Chanel's Metiers d'art Paris-Shanghai black Lucite Matryoshka evening bag with gold hardware
It’s definitely not your typical Chanel bag. In fact, most would probably be surprised that the French house produced a bag that looks more suited to Kate Spade’s quirky and bright aesthetic. Every year, Chanel launches a special Metiers d’Art collection that’s centered around a different city. And this was the bag that was crafted for the 2010 collection from enamel, lucite, and crystals as a tribute to Chinese culture. Christie’s sold one of these bags for US$32,500 (S$44,954), making it the most expensive Chanel bag auctioned off yet. Mouawad's 1001 Nights diamond purse
Technically this bag was not auctioned off, but it was still sold privately by Christie’s. Though its price was not disclosed, it originally cost US$3.8 million and was certified as the most valuable handbag in the world by the Guinness World Records in 2010. It comprises 4,517 diamonds –105 yellow, 56 pink and 4,356 colourless – and took a total of 8,800 hours to be crafted.   Given that prices are constantly on the rise for luxury goods, even as we face the Covid-19 pandemic, it may be alright to still purchase that bag you have your eye on. Given the right amount of time, you (or your descendants) may reap the monetary benefits in the future.