Birkin bags can double in value in 5 years — some styles up to $450K — and are a better investment than gold: luxury expert

Hermes Birkin bags
Hermes Birkin bags

Hermès’ highly coveted Birkin handbag becomes even more coveted after it leaves the store — doubling in value in as little as five years, according to a luxury expert.

James Firestein, founder of luxury resale and authentication platform OpenLuxury, told Fortune that the steepest price increase he has ever witnessed when a Black Togo 30 Birkin doubled in value in five years.

For reference, the price of the Black Togo 30 widely varies on resale platforms due to the bag’s condition, type of hardware metals and the year it was purchased from Hermès, going for anywhere from $30,500 for a “like new” bag on Sotheby’s to $10,925 on The RealReal or roughly $8,000 on eBay.

A Birkin bag by luxury French fashion house Hermès has become such a lucrative investment that 25% of Birkin buyers keep the bag in storage as investments while the remaining 75% actually use the bags, according to James Firestein of OpenLuxury. Getty Images
A Birkin bag by luxury French fashion house Hermès has become such a lucrative investment that 25% of Birkin buyers keep the bag in storage as investments while the remaining 75% actually use the bags, according to James Firestein of OpenLuxury. Getty Images

More commonly, however, it takes a decade for the price of a Birkin to surge two-fold.

“I know several instances where people have doubled their money based on buying it 10 years ago, and reselling it today in pristine condition,” Firestein said, per Fortune.

“The resale value of particularly the Birkin and Kelly bags over the past 10 years has outpaced gold,” he added.

In 2020 alone, while when the luxury market ground to a halt during COVID, Birkin bags saw impressive returns of 38%, according to a report from Credit Suisse and Deloitte.

As a result, Firestein estimates that 25% of Birkin buyers keep the bag in storage as investments while the remaining 75% actually use the bags, Fortune reported.

Birkin bags are a celeb favorite, with Victoria Beckham known to favor the style.
Birkin bags are a celeb favorite, with Victoria Beckham known to favor the style.
Jennifer Lopez has been spotted toting her beloved Birkin.
Jennifer Lopez has been spotted toting her beloved Birkin.
Rapper Cardi B likes to match her Birkin with her outfits.
Rapper Cardi B likes to match her Birkin with her outfits.

Most shoppers look to the second-hand marketplace to buy Birkin bags, mostly because buying a luxurious piece of eye candy directly from Hermès can be a time-consuming process that doesn’t guarantee customers get the exact style they want.

Hermès allows stores and boutiques around the world to purchase a select number of Birkins per season, though the color and size of the bags are rarely known ahead of time, according to Sotheby’s.

The price of a Black Togo 30 Birkin varies widely on resale platforms based on the bag’s condition, type of hardware metals and the year it was purchased from Hermès, going for anywhere from $30,500 for a “like new” bag on Sotheby’s. Sotheby's
The price of a Black Togo 30 Birkin varies widely on resale platforms based on the bag’s condition, type of hardware metals and the year it was purchased from Hermès, going for anywhere from $30,500 for a “like new” bag on Sotheby’s. Sotheby's

And for aspiring Birkin owners who don’t already have an existing relationships with retailers, it can be even harder to ensure that a staffer will try and reserve the bag you want, Sotheby’s said.

As a result, Birkins, more often than not, sell for well beyond their $12,000 sticker price.

The pricing mostly comes down to scarcity principle, per Sotheby’s, which sold a Himalaya Birkin 30 encrusted with diamonds for $450,000, though the more common leather styles in fresh condition generally go for between $25,000 and $30,000, according to the auction house.

Kris Jenner pictured carrying two Birkin bags collectively worth a reported approximately $190,000. GC Images
Kris Jenner pictured carrying two Birkin bags collectively worth a reported approximately $190,000. GC Images

Hermès has been accused of making it too difficult for the everyday shopper to acquire a Birkin of their own.

Two California plaintiffs alleged in a class-action lawsuit earlier this month that the French fashion house uses “unfair business practices,” including requiring customers to buy other “ancillary products” — such as “shoes, scarves, belts, jewelry and home goods” — before getting the opportunity to buy the coveted, chronically unavailable handbag.

To be allowed to purchase a Birkin, the suit claims, customers must have accrued “a sufficient purchase history” with the luxury brand.

Once achieved, “customers who are deemed worthy” are then offered a Birkin — which is allegedly not on public display but rather in a private room, the suit claims.

“The unique desirability, incredible demand and low supply of Birkin handbags gives defendants incredible market power,” attorneys wrote in their filing.