Handbags & Accessories

Sotheby's Picks: Most Popular Hermès Bags at Auction Fall 2022

By Lindsey Weiss
Paris Handbags and Accessories Auction Open for Bidding until September 29
Hermès Birkin 30 Himalaya Matte Niloticus Crocodile Palladium Hardware

Most Popular Hermès Bags at Auction Fall 2022

It's September and the fall 2022 handbag auction season is under way. We are predicting little change from trends driving sales earlier this year. Collectors continue to seek out Himalaya Birkin and Kelly Bags, Faubourg Birkins and Mini Kelly 20. Additionally the Kelly Pochette remains popular in leather and newer bags are selling at the highest premium. Sellier Birkins are gaining in popularity especially in the 25 size. Age and size continue to drive pricing with smaller newer Birkin and Kelly bags selling for a premium versus their larger and older counterparts. Leather bags continue to exceed exotics in premium percentage relative to retail and overall buyer demand.

Hermès Kelly 25 Retourné Himalaya Crocodile Niloticus Mat Blanc Garniture Palladium

Hermès Himalaya Birkin and Himalaya Kelly

Long held at the top of the handbag market, the Hermès Himalayan is a Holy Grail to many collectors. Prices for these bags at auction have been increasing since 2017, though declined for most styles in 2020 or 2021. Himalaya Birkin 30 bags are the most common at auction and have averaged around $145,000 over the last five years, whereas Himalaya Birkin 25 bags have averaged under $215,000 over the same period. Results in the upcoming season are predicted to remain at these price levels. The 25 and 28 Himalaya Kelly bags are valued the highest, with auction averages nearing $235,000 for 28s and topping $255,000 for 25s over the last five years. Kelly 28 bags are also the rarest, comprising less than 5% of all Himalaya bags at auction.

Hermès Faubourg Sellier Birkin 20 Blue Marine Matte Alligator, Deep Blue, Orange H Swift, Craie Epsom, Indigo and Blue Obscur Sombrero Palladium Hardware

Hermès Faubourg Birkin

The Mini Sellier Birkin 20 Faubourg has become a smash hit for Hermès collectors around the world. After the Midnight and Snow versions were released, acquiring a full set has become a new height of collecting. The original two Day and Night versions have straddled an average of $185,000 at auction, though examples of the Snow and Midnight Faubourgs have been selling privately for $300,000 but this is down from closer to $400,000 earlier this year. As more of these bags become available the value has dropped to $300,000 for Snow. There is less selling data for the Midnight Faubourg, but so far collectors have not been seeking out the darker version. As no more examples of the Day and Night Faubourgs are being produced and the Snow and Midnight versions are also likely also complete, prices for these rare collectibles are predicted to increase as examples become scarce on the secondary market.

Hermès Mini Kelly Sellier 20 II Mauve Sylvestre Epsom Palladium Hardware, 2022

Hermès Mini Kelly 20

Auction prices for the Mini Kelly 20 II have risen steeply since their 2017 premier, at which point the size averaged just over $15,000. This past year that average has neared $29,000. With pristine examples regularly selling privately above $30,000, it is predicted the top of the market for these bags will continue to rise, even as more used examples become available at lower prices. Sotheby's sold an Hermès Mauve Sylvestre Epsom Mini Kelly Sellier 20 II Palladium Hardware, 2022 in the most recent New York Auction for $32,760.

Hermès Kelly Pochette Crocodile Niloticus Bleu Abysse Garniture Palladium

Hermès Kelly Pochette

The dramatic increase in prices for Kelly Pochettes on the secondary market has surprised many. With leathers averaging just over $10,000 in 2020 after four years of steady increases, prices at auction jumped to over $15,000 in 2021 and continue to rise in 2022. Store-fresh examples now trade privately for upwards of $20,000 and auction prices are predicted to rise towards that this season.

Hermès Birkin Sellier 25 Craie Epsom Gold Hardware

Hermès Sellier Birkin

Appearing at auction regularly over the past two years, Sellier Birkins still only account for about 5% of Birkin bags sold at auction. Their average value this year has neared 70% above that of regular Retourne Birkins. As the number of Sellier Birkins available remains low, their prices are expected to continue rising. Sellier Kellys tend to average about 30% more than Retourne Kellys, so even as more examples come onto the market, Sellier Birkins are expected to top their Retourne sisters far into the future. Exotic Sellier Birkins have been spotted in top collections recently, though almost none have come onto the market. When examples in shiny crocodile, or even matte alligator or ostrich do come to auction, their reception is expected to be intense.

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