The handbag that costs as much as a house

Image copyright Getty Pictures
Image caption The Himalaya Birkin, complete with whitened gold and diamond details, fetched a record breaking price at public sale

How much is a handbag worth? State £ 100? Maybe £ five hundred? Perhaps even £ 1, 000?

How about handing over $380, 000 (£ 279, 000) for just one bag – and a second-hand a single at that?

For the price, you could buy a house in the united kingdom (where the average dwelling costs £ 223, 285, according to the Halifax) but still have plenty left over.

Yet astonishingly last year someone do pay that amount of money for a uncommon 2014 Himalaya Birkin – the matte white handbag by Hermes.

It was fashioned through Nilo crocodile hide and featuring lovely with 18-carat white gold plus diamond-encrusted details.

Whilst £ 279, 000 is a report breaking price tag for this “holy grail” of handbags, it is a drop within the ocean when it comes to the increasingly profitable market for buying and selling used luxury “arm furniture”.

High-end bags have come a long way in the days when Princess Grace associated with Monaco used an Hermes Barda de golf a depeches to hide her increasing baby bump from the paparazzi. It had been subsequently renamed the Kelly handbag after the former Hollywood star.

Expensive handbags are actually ubiquitous among celebrities such as television personalities Kim Kardashian West and the girl mother Kris Jenner.

However , these bags are simply no frivolous trinkets.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian West are usually regularly spotted carrying luxury purses and handbags

Public sale house Christie’s says the global used luxury handbag market has hopped from being worth £ five. 1m in 2011 to £ 26m in 2016.

History Auctions believes that the worldwide supplementary auction market for the “ultra high end bags” is between $75m plus $100m “and growing”.

In investment terms, these types of assets can offer a huge return on your own cash.

Investment financial institution Jefferies reckons that some hand bags can generate returns of about 30% a year.

Handbags manufactured by Hermes, the French luxury goods home, are the most sought-after.

Rachel Koffsky, a specialist within handbags and accessories at Christie’s, says Hermes handbags “have been designed in the same way, in the same materials for many years, whereas many other brands have been sporadic in production over the past 100 years”.

She adds the three best-known bags – the particular Kelly, the Birkin, made for the particular singer and actress Jane Birkin, and the Constance, named after the 5th child of Hermes designer Catherine Chaillet – “have remained practically unchanged since they were designed”.

However , Jefferies says: “Over the past 10 to 20 years, luxurious brands have increasingly been able to boost the prices of their handbags and make use of more premium materials so later on the top of the market is likely to turn out to be less dominated by Hermè t. ”

Historical past Auctions says that as well as Hermes, Chanel’s iconic flap bags “are always favourites for the paparazzi in order to catch on the celebrity arms from the world’s most famous”.

Ms Koffsky adds that will, in the 1990s, two designers especially were responsible for ushering in the “era of the It-bag” – Tom Kia at Gucci and Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton.

These types of, along with the characters in the TV series Intercourse and the City, “brought collectable totes into the mainstream”.

It also means that the somewhat overwhelming world of auction houses is definitely opening up to a different kind of clientele.

Ms Koffsky says: “Handbags have a very wide appeal and is the category most consumers are more comfortable along with when compared to traditional flat or even ornamental art. ”

Jefferies says that handbags are the “most accessible category” at Christie’s due to the lower cost of the lots, adding that will 40% of the 712 buyers for the reason that category were new to the public sale house.

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Image caption Tom Kia helped bring high-end accessories in to the mainstream – this Gucci clutch system bag was auctioned in 2014

Traditions Auctions says that there is no regular buyer. They can range from people who wish to add to their existing handbag selection – or those who would like to begin one.

Microsoft Koffsky says quite often buyers turn out to be sellers and vice versa.

She says: “At the very best end of the buyer spectrum, we now have collectors who count their totes among their most valuable assets. For the other end, we have young plus savvy shoppers looking for a vintage item that will stand out from current trends, quite often it is significantly less than retail.

“Perhaps it is their first-time buying at auction. ”

However , while purses and handbags have attracted a new clientele, it