Handbags and Accessories

2023 Hermès Bag Outlook: What's Trending with Collectors

By Max Brownawell
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Hermès Bag Auction Results: First Quarter 2023

As the first Quarter of 2023 comes to a close we at Sotheby’s have the enviable task of combing through sheets of auction results to determine just how the market for Hermès bags is moving. For some time now, insiders have been predicting the return of big Birkin bags, and recent auction results portend that change is imminent. The Mini Mania which swept the fashion world starting around 2015 is still strong. Prices for Hermès Mini Kelly bags and Birkin 25 remain at the top of the market, but demand for bigger sizes is growing faster than ever.

Hermes Bag Prices Auction
Hermes bag price
Birkin 35 https://www.sothebys.com/en/buy/fashion/handbag/hermes/birkin

Birkin 35 Prices Trending Higher

Since its inception in 1984, the Birkin 35 has been considered the ‘standard’ size, and until 2015 it was more than just standard, the Birkin 35 was ‘it.’ As trends switched towards smaller bags, the Birkin 35 fell out of favor with many collectors, but its fans never lost their love of the ‘OG’ Birkin. So far in 2023 we’ve seen auction prices for Birkin 35 bags, in Leather, Crocodile, Alligator and Ostrich, all ticking upward. In leather, the Birkin 35 has increased over 34% so far this year, compared with results spanning 2022. Average auction prices have so far realized an average of just over $16,400 as of this writing. This now eclipses the average price for Ostrich Birkin 35, which rose over 5% to $16,350. In Hong Kong, a Hermès Birkin 35 Fringe sold for over $74,000.

Birkin 35

Crocodile Birkin 35

In Crocodile and Alligator, the Birkin 35 is rebounding as well, jumping nearly 28% in the first quarter of 2023 to an average auction price of nearly $43,000. The Birkin 30 has also continued to increase in value, with auction results for leather examples in 2023 rising over 28% and nearly matching those of the Birkin 25, which remains stable at just shy of $23,500. Ostrich Birkin 30 has increased nearly 30% as well, approaching an average of $31,300. In Crocodile and Alligator the Birkin 30 has climbed nearly 15% and now averages over $52,200.  

Hermès Kelly 28 Prices also Trending Higher

When it comes to Hermès Kelly bags, the biggest increases we’re seeing are for Kelly 28. Average average auction prices for Kelly 28 Retourne bags have increased 18% to nearly $20,800 and for Kelly 28 Sellier bags have increased nearly 33% topping $26,300. For the first time, Hermès Kelly 28 is averaging higher than Hermès Kelly 25. The Hermès Kelly 25 has dropped an average of 15% and are now selling just below $20,000. An Epsom Hermès Kelly 28 Sellier in Vert De Gris with Gold Hardware sold for an impressive $38,100 in Sotheby's New York Handbag Auction in March 2023. The Hermès Mini Kelly 20 II still beats out all other sizes with an average auction price of nearly $27,000.

Hermes Kelly 28

Hermès Bags on Buy Now

Sotheby's is seeing similar demand trends on our Buy Now Marketplace for Hermès bags as 2022. Leather Birkins are the fastest selling bags in all sizes. Neutral colored Togo leather bags with gold hardware are selling faster in 2023 than Palladium Hardware. "Store fresh" bags with the original plastic on the hardware are the most desirable and are selling for $25,000-$30,000 depending the color and size. The larger Birkin 35 and Birkin 40 are still selling for less than the Birkin 30 or Birkin 25, but the sell through for the Birkin 35 is generally as fast as the smaller Birkin bags. Leather Kelly bags are the next most popular with smaller Mini Kelly and Kelly 25 often selling faster than larger Kelly 28 or Kelly 32. The Eveleyne TPM is another top seller and exceeds the sell through rate of the Constance, Lindy or Picotin. Consistent with 2022, exotic Hermès bags in all styles are taking longer to sell than leather bags.

Looking Ahead to the Hermès Birkin 20

Looking forward to the year ahead, we predict the trend towards big Birkin bags will continue, and as more Big Birkin bags cross the auction block, we expect prices for Birkin 40 to rise similarly to Birkin 35, along with the Kelly 32, which has already shown signs of ascendance. Sotheby’s recently set a record for the highest price paid at auction for a regular leather Hermès Kelly 32 with the February 9 sale of a Hermès Kelly 32 in Bleu Lin Epsom in Part I of the Joseph Lau auction series for over $38,800. While we anticipate the prices for larger Birkin and Hermès Kelly bags to continue in 2023, the Birkin 20 is on the mind of every dedicated collector. Our pick for the hottest yet-to-be-released Hermès bag in the coming auction seasons is the Hermès Birkin 20 Sellier. Until recently, the Birkin 20 was a size reserved for the world-famous Birkin Faubourg. Sources say that Sellier Birkin 20 in leather and exotics are on the near term horizon.

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