Handbags & Accessories

The Complete Guide to Hermès Lizard Bags

By Lindsey Weiss
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Hermès Lizard Bags

History of Hermès Lizard Bags

Hermès Lizard Kelly bags can be found dating as far back as the style itself, and over the decades, many have survived in good condition. Water and moisture generally are not good for Lizard skin, though the small dense scales hold up well to wear. Lighter colors can be affected by the sun, and can develop dark handles if carried regularly in the hand. Hermès produces Lizard bags in two finishes, Shiny which is also known as Lisse, and Matte. The Shiny Lizard bags are not glazed but are buffed to a sheen using an agate stone, similar to how Hermès treats Shiny Crocodile and Alligator skins. This treatment ensures the glaze will not wear away or flake off with use. Lizard Hermès bags are known to maintain their shine for decades.

Hermès Micro Constance Black Lizard Gold Hardware

Hermès currently uses six different exotic skins in their handbag production: American Alligator, Ostrich, Porosus Saltwater Crocodile, Nile Crocodile (also called Nilo or Niloticus), Nile Monitor Lizards, and Asian Water Monitors, also known as Salvator Lizards. Porosus Crocodile bags retail for the highest price, but Lizard bags are by far the rarest. It’s likely many Hermès stores go a year or more without ever receiving a Lizard Birkin or Kelly from Paris. Hermès maintains rigid standards on the quality of the skins that can be used by their craftsmen. Each bag is made from a single skin so most Hermès lizard bags are 25 centimeter or smaller size.

Hermès Lizard Kelly

Hermès Kelly 28 Lizard Black Gold Hardware, 1995

Most Hermès Lizard Kelly bags are sellier construction. Retourne Lizard Kelly bags are very rare and almost always come in dark colors with a matte finish. Only four Retourne Lizard Kelly 25 bags have sold at auction, averaging around $29,500. There are six types of Lizard mini Kelly bags: Mini Twilly Kelly Charm which averages around $6,500 at auction; Mini Candy Kelly 15 which are so rare none have sold at auction in almost seven years, vintage Sellier Kelly 15 which is also extremely rare and have sold for higher and higher amounts every time they’ve come to auction, vintage Sellier Kelly 20 which were produced with three handle variations and have averaged around $30,000 at auction, though the last example to sell brought more than double that, mini Sellier Kelly 20 II, only one of which has come to auction so far, selling for nearly $47,000 and the Kelly Pochette, whose technical style name at Hermes is Mini Kelly. Kelly Lizard Pochettes averaged around $15,000 at auction prior to 2020, but the last three years have seen the prices for these clutches rise to nearly $23,000 on average, excluding Ombre examples. Sotheby's has sold two Ombre Pochettes, one for $63,000 in 2020 and another for $75,600 in 2021, each a record-breaking price. Lizard Sellier Kelly 25 bags have also proven quite rare, with fewer than five examples selling at auction each year. Prior to 2020 these Kelly bags averaged between $30,000 and $35,000, though that number jumped to nearly $52,000, and still remained higher than previous levels in 2021 which saw averages for the style top $40,000. Prior to 2017 these bags averaged around $20,000.

Hermès Birkin 25 Lizard Parchemin Palladium Hardware

Hermès Lizard Birkin

Hermès Lizard Birkin bags were first seen in 2004 when Jean-Paul Gaultier took over Creative Direction of the company and launched the new Birkin 25. This size was a perfect fit for Lizard, which had been difficult to source in sizes large enough to satisfy Birkins any bigger. Today, Birkin 30 bags are occasionally produced in Lizard, though these are extremely rare with only two examples selling at auction so far for around $70,000 each. Many early Hermès Lizard Birkin bags feature the discontinued Ruthenium hardware, which has a gunmetal finish. With nearly four times as many examples sold at auction as Lizard Kelly 25 bags, Lizard Birkin bags have held a reasonably steady auction average of about $30,000. A Lizard Birkin 25 bag that is store fresh condition with a date stamp from the last 18-months can sell closer to $40,000.

Hermès Ombre Lizard Birkins

The image above compares two Ombre Lizard Birkins sold by Sotheby’s, on the left a 2020 example which sold for $137,500, on the right, a 2010 example that sold for just over $40,000. This shows how the coloration of an Hermès Ombre Lizard bag can change over the course of a decade.

Hermès Ombre Lizard Bags

The Hermès Ombre Lizard bag was first produced in 2007 and most bags have Palladium Hardware though rare examples with Gold hardware exist. Ombre Lizard Constances and Pochettes have also been produced since 2007. More recently other styles like the Verrou and Mosaïque bags have produced in Ombre Lizard. Hermès Ombre Lizard bags are often considered an alternative to the Himalayan. Hermès Ombre Lizard bags display natural white rings on a gray background that fades to white arches along the sides of the bag. Over time, the white areas have been known to yellow, creating a stark value divide between fresh gray and white examples and more vintage Ombre Lizard bags. Hermès has also since launched another version of Ombre Lizard called Desert Ombre which already sports an overall yellow tone and will likely not change as much over time. This color, though, is mainly seen on non-Birkin and Kelly styles. Auction results for Ombre Lizard Birkins and Kellys can vary by up to $100,000. In 2020, Sotheby’s set a record for an Ombre Lizard bag with a Birkin 25 Ombre Lizard selling for $137,500. The average for Ombre Lizard Birkins and Kellys in 2021 was nearly $85,000. Prior to 2015 Ombre Lizard bags averaged under $40,000.

Hermès Kelly Danse Ombre Lizard

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