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Rare Hermès Birkin Purse Sets World Record Fetching Over $200,000 at Auction

Updated on June 30, 2012
Hermès Birkin purse
Hermès Birkin purse | Source

At Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, a new world record was set when an anonymous buyer paid an astounding $203,150 for a rare Hermès Birkin purse.

It had been expected to fetch around $80,000, but someone must have really wanted the red crocodile Birkin bag with white gold and diamond trim to pay such a fortune.

It‘s previous owner, an unnamed lady from Florida, had bought the handbag brand new from Hermès Birkin in 2006, for an undisclosed sum.

At a later date, someone from Hermès Birkin had offered her a black one, and she chose to then buy it and sell her red one, feeling she would get more use out of a black handbag, which, as we ladies know, matches everything.

Rare purses such as this Hermès Birkin, actually increase in value over time, unlike other handbags.

Anything that is mass produced, even by a designer name, decreases in value after purchase, unless the designer dies, in which case, the value increases.

Top designer handbags are simply not used for everyday wear, although they could be.

They are bought as accessories to wear once or twice, to let the world know that you are a woman of substance.

Substitute substance for absurdly rich.

Designer purses at this level in the market are considered works of art, and there is a healthy list of clientele desperate to get their hands on one for their collection.

You cannot walk into a shop and buy a handbag of this calibre. Even the super-rich cannot buy a Hermès Birkin handbag of their choice, when they want.

Many women now collect handbags in the way some collect shoes.

Hermès Birkin purses
Hermès Birkin purses

It wasn’t only this Hermès Birkin purse that sold on this occasion. Also sold at Heritage Auctions was a blue crocodile version with palladium hardware which sold for $113,525, a sparkling red for $96,600 and a Himalayan crocodile for $80,663, all of which are astounding sums to pay for a second-hand handbag.

So what is so special about a Hermès Birkin purse?

The Hermès from the name refers to Hermès International S.A., which is a French high fashion house, established since 1837.

The Birkin name came from Jane Birkin, who was an actress and singer, probably most noted for her song with Serge Gainsbourg, “Je t’aime” which in itself was most notable for being banned by Italy, Spain and the UK for being overly sexual in nature.

Jane Birkin accidentally met Jean–Louis Dumas, the chief executive of Hermès while on a London-Paris flight in 1981.

She had been attempting to put her straw bag in the overhead compartment, when the contents fell out.

She then, in her flustered state, explained to co-passenger Dumas that she had found it difficult to buy a weekend bag that she liked.

He must have been a really nice guy, because he designed a bag especially for Jane Birkin, in 1984. It took him three years? Typical man!

This bag became iconic.

The Birkin bag was born.

Now, it is elusive as well as exclusive. All Hermès Birkin purses are hand-made, and collector’s items.

Even lottery winners have to wait to line to buy one.

Perhaps this explains why the Hermès Birkin purse (above) was sold for so much money.

Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg 1969 Je t'aime


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    • Isabel Melville profile imageAUTHOR

      Isabel Melville 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      Me? I don't, no. But if I hear of any more, I'll write a hub :)

    • Marla Rose profile image

      Marla Rose 

      6 years ago from Aventura, Florida

      Hi Isabel. I wondered if you had any new exotic handbags, like the Hermes one! Such gorgeous handbags! I am a sucker for expensive designer handbags. I just love to see what's new on the market now for unique handbags.

    • Isabel Melville profile imageAUTHOR

      Isabel Melville 

      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      They are gorgeous, aren't they?

    • Marla Rose profile image

      Marla Rose 

      7 years ago from Aventura, Florida

      HERMES, in a league by itself! A one of a kind! These are beautiful handbags. I would love to own one!

    • Isabel Melville profile imageAUTHOR

      Isabel Melville 

      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      She's got to be a collector - else someone with a crazy amount of money who really really wanted that bag!

    • brandasaur profile image


      7 years ago from Planet X

      Ooh my gosh! I really loved HERMES! That Hermes Birkin is so beautiful! I want to have that one too. BUT! That's too pricey. I can't imagine myself bidding on that bag as much as the winner of that Hermes! Ooh my! Maybe she's a collector of HERMES!

    • skye2day profile image


      7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      No Way You have to be kidding? Where is this person hiding? Do you think they could spare a few bucks to a poor soul? Crazy Crazy. Well it will not go to Heaven so I hope they get their moneys worth. Yikes. What one could do with that kind of bucks. Makes me feel ill that I do not have the money like that or that they have money like that and a purse is $200,000 Really who on the street would even notice? Too sad. Blessings to you at Christmas.


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