Handbags and Accessories

Buying Your First Hermes Birkin: The Gold Standard

By Max Brownawell
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Hermès Gold Birkin
Hermès Gold Birkin

Rising Demand for Gold Hermès Bags

While Hermès has a reputation for developing new and exciting colors every season, there are some shades that have been in continuous production for decades. Black is, of course, considered the most classic, but its counterpart Gold has recently experienced a reignition of interest among collectors both fresh and seasoned. Gold in the world of Hermès does not have any metallic aspects like the Gold used to plate Hermès hardware, rather this Gold is meant to evoke the warmth and color of its namesake metal. This shade is loved for its versatility; sophisticated enough to wear with a camel coat and elegant attire, yet simultaneously casual enough to carry with jeans and a t-shirt. White contrast stitching is the most noticeable factor that differentiates Gold from other browns. This accentuates the craftsmanship that has come to define Hermès bags, highlighting the hand-double-saddle-stitched edges to great effect.

Hermès Gold Togo Birkin 35 Gold Hardware

First Birkin Principle

As the market for Hermès bags grows with new collectors purchasing their first Birkins and Kellys every day, one aspect of Gold’s recent rise can be attributed to the First Birkin principle, which states:

“When someone has decided to buy their first Birkin, they will most likely choose a color that is both classic and versatile.”

More and more are answering this question with Gold. Over 4% of all Hermès bags sold at auction are Gold, and Black is the only color more common, comprising 15% of the market. Though not all Gold bags are equal in rarity, 25cm Sellier and Retourne Kellys were almost never seen at auction until 2020, and only few have sold as of this writing, averaging close to $24,000 along with 28 Sellier Kellys. Sothebys recently set a record for Gold leather 28cm Kellys with the October 19th 2021 sale of a Sellier Epsom example with Gold hardware for over $45,000. Kelly Retourne 28s average closer to $20,000 along with 25cm Gold Birkins which have been seen on the market since 2015 and prior to 2019 averaged around $14,000. The 30cm Birkin, though, has had the most dramatic rise, going from an average of under $6,000 in 2015 to nearly $21,000 in 2021. Sotheby’s also set a record for this size with the March 3, 2022 sale of a 30m Gold Togo Birkin with Palladium Hardware for around $45,000. The current craze for small bags clearly plays into the ascendant values on this side of the size spectrum, though larger Gold bags, too, have seen increases in average auction results in recent seasons. Gold Birkins and Kellys 32cm and up all averaged under $7,000 in 2018, but by the close of 2021 were averaging between $11,000 and $13,500.

Hermès Gold Birkin 30 Togo Palladium Hardware

Palladium Hardware vs Gold Hardware

Appearing vastly different with Palladium or Gold hardware - Palladium hardware makes the color look sharp and crisp, whereas Gold hardware lends an air of warmth and opulence - These two finishes have danced around each other for the last five years, though the clear favorite is Palladium. Since 2012 at auction Palladium has averaged over $2,000 more than Gold for Gold leather bags, though some years the difference tops $5,000. Gold only overtook Palladium in 2018 and 2020 but not by much. Palladium took the lead again in 2021 averaging over $3,000 more than Gold, 19% above Gold Hardware’s $15,500 average last year.

Price Comparison of Gold and Palladium Hardware Gold Hermes Bags
Price Comparison of Gold and Palladium Hardware Gold Hermes Bags
Hermès Gold Epsom Sellier Kelly 28 Gold Hardware

Store-fresh Gold leather Birkins and Kellys are currently trading at the top of the market, and while new seasonal colors can command higher prices upon release, this classic looks secure in its position alongside Black as the ideal First Birkin (or Kelly). For years store-fresh Black leather Birkins and Kellys in popular sizes have also sold for top-market prices, and now Gold is getting the recognition it deserves as Hermès’ best brown.

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