Hermès handbag sells for record-breaking £312,000 at Sotheby’s auction


A Hermès handbag has been sold at an auction in Paris for a record-breaking €352,800 (£311,523) – the largest sum fetched by a luxury bag in Sotheby’s history.

The fine and decorative art brokers said the Himalaya Retourné Kelly 25 bag sold for almost three times estimates pre-sale – surpassing the €100,000 - €120,000 valuation by more than €230,000.

The pearlescent crocodile skin bag, complete with a lined goat leather interior, is said to mimic the majesty of the snow-crowned Himilayas, and was made in in “extremely small” quantities, according to Sotheby’s.

The 28cm accessory, made from the skin of the Himalayan Niloticus Crocodile, is described by Hermès devotees as one the most desirable handbags in the world.

The opulent bag was reportedly made in ‘extremely small’ quantities (Sotheby's)
The opulent bag was reportedly made in ‘extremely small’ quantities (Sotheby's)

Morgane Halimi, global head of handbags and accessories at Sotheby’s, explained the astonishing sale of the model as a “real investment for the long term,” telling Bloomberg it is also “one of the hardest bags to obtain” in a Hermès outlet.

The iconic bag, which Halimi said cost “a few tens of thousands” on boutique floors, was named after the Hollywood star and Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly, who was photographed carrying the then-sac à dépêches in 1956.

According to luxury handbag purveyor Vendome, located in Monte Carlo, the average price of the Kelly model has doubled in the last seven years.

The sale of the Himalaya Retourné Kelly 25 still falls shy of the all-time record price paid for a luxury bag at auction – a title retained by Christie’s, the auction house owned by Francois Pinault, which sold a Himalaya Retourne Kelly bag for four million Hong Kong dollars (£460,674) last November.

The record-breaking sum was fetched by the same bag, though the Christie’s iteration came adorned with diamond hardware.

The auctioneer will hold a sale on 3 November, expected to a feature a Himalaya Sellier Kelly 25 bag, also manufactured this year, reports Bloomberg.

According to The Times, Hermès bags represented most of the 74 lots at last night’s sale, in a sign of the growing popularity and regard held for luxury handbags as valuable investments.