Handbags and Accessories

A Closer Look at Rare Hermès Handbags

New York
Handbags & Accessories Online, open from 22 May – 1 June, offers extraordinary items from top luxury brands – including a few especially hard-to-find handbags from storied French maker Hermès. Below, we take a closer look at the exquisite craftsmanship that makes these handbags so desirable.
Hermès Bleu Sac Birkin Faubourg 20cm. Estimate $110,000 – 130,000.

Hermès Sac Faubourg Birkin

View Lot

Extremely rare, with only a limited number crafted for VIPs, Hermès Sac Faubourg in Bleu is the ultimate in unique luxury designs.

Designed in a contemporary 20cm size, Hermès blends modernity and history, as this special Birkin plays homage to the facade of 24 Rue de Faubourg Saint Honore, which has been the address of the historic Hermès store since 1880 when the founder’s son Charles-Émile took over the business.

To epitomize the iconic location, the Bleu Faubourg Birkin features five different leathers, as well as exotic alligator. The body is masterfully crafted of Deep Blue Madame calfskin; the front flap, handles and strap are of Bleu Marine matte alligator; the awnings, tiret and "shopping bag" style clochette are of Orange H swift leather; the trim is of Bleu Indigo Sombrero; the window panes are of Craie epsom leather and the base is of Bleu Obsure Sombrero leather.

The Hermès Faubourg Birkin bag measures 8" width x 6" height x 4" depth; with a 2" handle drop. Included with the bag are the expected accoutrements, including: Hermès orange gift box, navy silk dustbag, felt, clochette, lock, keys, navy silk clochette dustbag, rainhat and carebook.

Hermès Himalaya Birkin 35cm of Matte Niloticus Crocodile with Palladium Hardware. Estimate $85,000 – 100,000.

The Hermès Himalaya Birkin

View Lot

T he Himalaya is, for many Hermès lovers, the crown jewel of handbags: for not only does this bag feature unrivaled design (the product of a unique, painstaking construction process), but it's also a symbol of status – as the brand only offers Himalaya handbags to its VIP clients. Himalaya bags are extremely difficult to come by, making them a true collector's item with excellent market value.

The Himalaya Birkin is named for the Himalaya mountains, though the skins used for the bags do not hail from the region. Rather, the skin is made of Niloticus crocodile – an reptile native to the freshwater of Africa – and the bag's name refers to how the careful dying process makes the bag look like the snow capped Himalayan peaks.

As you can see, the skin appears smoky gray and brown on the sides – emulating the bottom of the mountain – and gradually lightens to a pearly white in the center – representing the peak of the snow caps. Achieving this effect is arduous, and can only be done by one of Hermès's esteemed artisans.

The Niloticus crocodile scales are larger than those of the alligator or Porosus (a saltwater crocodile). This enables greater symmetry on the sides of the bag and an evenness in the middle, adding to the bag's appeal. What's more, this Himalaya bag has a matte finish, so there is no reflection or distraction from light. The bag is accented with palladium hardware (which can be encrusted with diamonds).

Hermès Black Sellier Kelly 28cm of Shiny Niloticus Crocodile with Gold Hardware. Estimate $36,000 – 45,000.

Hermès Mini Picnic Kelly

View Lot

First introduced in 2019, Hermès Mini Picnic Kelly 20cm is a limited edition design crafted from Osier wicker and leather and accented with palladium plated hardware.

The Mini Picnic is a redesign of the original Osier Picnic Kelly introduced by Hermès in 2011. That bag, which was last reissued in 2018, was available only in 35cm and became a collector’s item.

Hermès Osier wicker bags are quite an achievement in design. Osier wicker is a delicate material and to craft it into a bag that is sturdy, secure and long lasting required a high level of expertise.

The Mini Picnic Kelly is similar in design to the original Picnic Kelly with the advantage of the Mini Picnic having a shoulder/crossbody strap in addition to the top single rolled handle.

Given the long term popularity of the 35cm Picnic Kelly bags among collectors, the Hermès Mini Picnic Kelly 20cm is certain to be a collectible for a long time.

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos & news.
Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.

More from Sotheby's

Close