The value of branded womens handbags have gone through the roof and today are one of the most collectable alternate investment categories at auction say Barnebys
the art auction search engine.
So next time your partners says that she wants a handbag and the price horrifies you, just think that it may in fact prove to be an investment, says Pontus Silfverstolpe, co-founder of Barnebys, the art and collectables search engine and aggregator which tracks trends in this sector. Barnebys hosts 2,000 auction houses on its website and every day it carries some one million objects for sale, making it easy to find what you are looking for in the auction world.
He adds: "The value of these bags are linked to their limited availability, the rare quality of their materials, the elegance of their design and the condition they are in and also at times who owned them previously. Specialists at the auction houses advise that they be treated like any other rare investment and kept in a bank vault!
One of the highest prices paid for a handbag was for a pink crocodile-skin Hermes Birkin bag that broke the record for the most expensive handbag sold at auction, selling for £146,000 at a Christie's auction in Hong Kong in 2015. The exclusive Hermès Birkin handbag heads the pack for investment.
The pink crocodile skin bag was sold to an anonymous bidder via telephone beating the £142, 000 previous highest record which was set in 2011 by a gold and diamond Birkin that had belonged to the late Elizabeth Taylor.
The new world record is held by a matte white Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond bag by Hermès Birkin designed by Jean Paul Gaultier. It sold at a Christies Hong Kong auction in June 2016 for £208,250. It was described by Christie's as the "rarest, most sought-after, most valuable bag. Only one or two of the Diamond Himalayas are produced each year.''
The reasons for this growth in value is the limited numbers of these bags produced, their ultimate luxury price and the huge demand for them as status symbols by fashion conscious women. Their price seems to shrug off any downturn in the economy and simply grow in value each year.
Top Bag Brands:
All the usual suspects: Chanel, Christian Dior, Hermès Kelly or Birkin (as in Grace Kelly and Jane Birkin), Louis Vuitton, Celine, Mulberry, Prada, Fendi with prices starting at around £900 and way beyond to £200,000.
The JustCollecting Rare Handbag Index, which tracks investment-grade bags, increased by just under 8 per cent a year between 2004 and 2016. Over that 12-year period, the standout star the Chanel 2.55 Medium Classic Flap Bag has risen in value by more than 230 per cent.
Auction houses have not been slow to cash in on this trend for this latest luxury goods category with both Christies and Sothebys ands others holding handbag sales each year alongside their more regular sales of everything from Paintings and wine to jewellery and silver.
Green HERMÈS bag sold at auction in 2012 - polished silver palladium-plated armature and hardware, lined in lambskin and with a four leaf clover charm (a shamrock charm is also offered), both in Vert Irlandais Alligator. Sold at Christie's in 2012 £79 250 GBP.
Grace Kelly bag by Hermes - a blue Jean Epsom calfskin leather 40 cm "Kelly" bag, silver palladium, hardware, a imprinted textile decoration representing Grace Kelly, dated from March 1954. Sold by Artcurial in Monaco $82, T400 USD.
The value of these bags are linked to their limited availability, the rare quality of their materials, the elegance of their design and the condition they are in and also at times who owned them previously. Specialists at the auction houses advise that they be treated like any other rare investment and kept in a bank vault!
Like every other investment category values rise and fall and with handbags there may well come a time when the market cools, but for now handbags are hot.