Handbags and Accessories

The Most Expensive Hermès Kelly Bags

By Lindsey Weiss
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Hermès Diamnd Mini Kelly 20

Brief History of the Hermès Kelly Bag

The history of the Hermès Kelly bag dates back to the 1852 and is closely intertwined with the evolution of the brand. The Kelly bag's origins can be traced back to the release of the Haut à Courroies (HAC) bag. The HAC was used to hold saddles for equestrians. The HAC was reinterpreted into the Sac à Dépêches in the 1930s. The Hermès Kelly bag was designed by Robert Dumas, the son-in-law of Hermès CEO Émile Hermès. The Kelly bag gained popularity when Grace Kelly used it to hide her pregnancy from paparazzi. The Princess of Monaco was introduced to the Kelly bag while filming To Catch A Thief in 1955 and refused to part with it. Hermès renamed the bag the “Kelly” in 1977 as a nod to the actress-turned-princess. The Kelly bag’s original trapezoidal design included two triangular gussets, a cutout flap, a handle, and two side straps. The Hermès bag now features an optional shoulder strap, increasing its functionality. It is constructed out of thirty-six pieces of leather and six hundred and eighty stitches by a single artisan over the course of 18 to 24 hours. The Kelly has taken on many new forms since its original release. The Kelly bag has also inspired a range of Hermès accessories including the Kelly wallet, the Kelly belt, the Kelly watch, and an array of clutches and smaller leather goods. The Kelly bag is one the most popular and iconic bags from Hermès.

Most Expensive Hermès Kelly Bags

While Birkins generally top the list of the most expensive Hermès bags, Kelly bags are a close second when it comes to rare, desirable and expensive. Read on to discover the most collectible and expensive Kelly bags.

Hermès Kelly Himalaya

Hermès Himalaya Kelly 25 Crocodile

Not surprisingly the most expensive Hermès Kelly bags sold at Sotheby's are both Himalaya Kelly bags. A Hermès Kelly 28 Himalaya with Diamonds sold for $425,000 in 2023. The second most expensive Kelly bag was a Kelly 25 Himalaya sold in Paris for $352,800 Euro or just over $373,000. This was in incredible price for a crocodile Kelly Himalaya bag and was a reflection of the demand for this size in 2022. In 2023, a store fresh Kelly 25 Himalaya has sold for as high as 177,800 Euro or $187,000 while a Kelly 28 Himalaya sold for 190,500 Euro or $200,000.

Hermès Kelly Feather

Hermès Kelly Feather 32 Sellier Black PVD Hardware

A limited edition Hermès Kelly 32 Feather So Black sold for 2,032,000 HKD or $264,000 in 2023. The Hermès So Black collection was designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier when he was the creative director. Introduced in 2010, the So Black Collection was shown as part of Gaultier's final runway show with Hermès. The So Black Collection featured all black elements including the packaging and black PVD hadware. The So Black Kelly 32 Sellier from 2010 is crafted from black Box leather and saturated-black natural feathers along with distinct black PVD hardware. Hermès partnered with Maison Lemarié, the Haute Couture feather métier founded in 1880. Hermès artisans handpicked the finest feathers, and attached them onto the Kelly one at a time. The beautiful feathered panel makes this So Black Kelly truly rare and collectible.

Hermès Kelly 20 Diamond Crocodile

Hermès Mini Kelly 20 Black Diamonds

The most expensive Hermès Mini Kelly is the perfect combination of crocodile and diamonds. A Black Shiny Porosus Mini Kelly 20 with 18K white gold hardware and diamonds sold for 1,651,000 HKD or $214,630 in Sotheby's October 2023 Hong Kong Auction. The rare Kelly bag from 2023 is the perfect statement making evening bag. Diamonds on an Hermès bags is the ultimate upgrade to the most sought after bag.

Hermès Kelly 25 Metallic Bronze

Metallic Bronze Hermès Kelly 25

A Limited Edition Bronze Metallic Kelly 25 sold for 1,016,000 HKD in 2023 and is the most expensive leather Kelly bag. The Limited Edition Metallic Hermès bags were inspired by the displays designed by Leila Menchari Hermès flagship store at 24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honorè. In order to produce the metallic pigmentation, Hermès artisans must add so much dye to the leather that the leather’s texture changes.

Hermès Kellymorphose Silver Sac Bijou

Limited Edition Hermès Sterling Silver Kellymorphose Sac Bijou Kelly Argent

A Sterling Silver Kellymorphose Sac Bijou sold for 889,000 HKD or $115,570 in 2023. The Kellymorphose wsa designed by Pierre Hardy, the Hermès jewelry creative director. Sterling silver Kelly bag that is part jewelry and part bag and can be worn many ways including cross body, shoulder bag and worn around the waste. It can also be carried is a top handle bag or worn as a necklace.

Hermès Kelly Doll

Hermès Alligator Kelly Doll

The most expensive Hermès Kelly Doll sold for 825,500 HKD or $107,000 in 2023. The Malachite Matte Alligator Kelly Doll with Gold Hardware and Black Swift Arms from 2019 is rare and highly collectible. While the Kelly Doll was first introduced in 2000, alligator versions rarely appear in the secondary market due to the very few that are produced by Hermès.

Hermès Kelly Bags Available For Purchase

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