Handbags & Accessories

Hermès Mini Kelly: Modern Must-Have

By Lucy Bishop
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Hermes Mini Kelly 20 II

Vintage Sellier Mini Kelly 20: The Original Mini

Surprisingly, the original Hermès Mini Kelly was not much of a hit during its debut era. Though beloved by fashion-forward icons like Elizabeth Taylor – who had 3 in her collection – the Mini Kelly was generally too small for most women, especially in a time when big bags reigned supreme. Generally considered a novelty, the Mini Kelly could easily be purchased for under $10,000 in leather, and exotic versions did not command much more. That is, up until 2018, when the new Hermès Mini Kelly 20 first came to auction. Since then, values for these highly collectible vintage bags have increased in recent years to keep pace with their new mini version. While there are far fewer original Mini Kelly bags at auction, they remain popular with some collectors. Today, vintage Mini Kelly bags are extremely hard to find even in regular leather, and it is expected their value will continue to grow in tandem with the new Mini Kelly for years to come. A vintage 1997 Crocodile Rose Bonbon Mini Kelly sold for a record $156,000 in the Art of Collecting Handbags, The Visionary Collection of Joseph Lau.

Hermes Mini Kelly

Retourne Mini Kelly 20: The Most Mythical Bag On The Market

While vintage Sellier Mini Kellys are becoming increasingly scarce on the market, their Retourne sisters have become undeniably mythical. Only six regular leather versions of this style have come to auction in the last seven years, making the Retourne Mini Kelly one of the rarest Hermès bags in existence. The last example of a regular leather 20cm Retourne Kelly to sell at auction was in 2019, and the value of one at auction today would likely be right in line with other coveted Sellier Mini Kelly bags.

Hermes Mini Kelly Price Chart

New Hermès Mini Kelly 20 II: The Modern Must-Have Handbag

In the eight years since the Hermès Mini Kelly 20 II was released, it’s auction prices have have remained elevated. The Mini Kelly sells for $8,000 in Epsom and $8,500 in Chèvre in Hermès boutiques but is selling for multiples of this value on the secondary market. This exciting new rendition of a timeless bag has proven to be a runaway success and smash hit with both experienced and young Hermès collectors. During the first years that these bags appeared at auction they averaged over $15,000, eclipsing the value of vintage Mini Kelly from the start. Since then, prices for all Mini Kelly bags have risen dramatically, with the average auction price in 2023 averaging $25,000-$30,000.

Hermès Mini Kelly

Exotic Hermès Mini Kelly

Exotic Mini Kelly bags, though, have not experienced such a clear elevation season over season, with average auction prices varying between $32,000 and $48,000 for ostrich and lizard examples, and between $37,000 and $57,000 for alligator versions. Exotic mini Kelly bags are far rarer than leather ones but we have seen the prices stabilize as the demand remains much higher for the leather bags. The Gris Perle and Kraft Matte Alligator Mini Kelly sold for just over $196,000 in 2022 was the most expensive Mini Kelly sold by Sotheby's to date.

Hermes Diamond Mini Kelly

Diamond Hermès Mini Kelly

In 2023, Sotheby's sold Hermès Mini Kelly in Black Shiny Crocodile with Diamonds for about $215,000. Hermès Diamond bags are the ultimate collector bag since so few are made and even fewer come to the secondary market. Sotheby's sold more diamond bags in 2023 versus 2022 but the overall number of Hermès Diamond bags remains incredibly small relative. These very special bags appeal to those that already have a number of exotic bags in their collection so they want to add even more rare bags to their collection.

Mini Kelly

Leather Hermès Mini Kelly

The most popular Hermès Mini Kelly 20 II bags are in leather. These bags in store fresh condition sell for about $30,000 on Buy Now and from $25,000-$30,000 at auction depending on the color. The newest Hermès colors in pastels or classic Hermès neutrals often sell at the highest price, while brighter colors in Red, Green or Pink often sell at lower prices. The bags in multiple colors are often most popular in neutral combinations or pale pastel colors mixed with neutrals.

2024 Mini Kelly Outlook

Demand remains strong for the Hermès Mini Kelly in 2024. Leather "store fresh" bags are still selling for around $30,000 on Sotheby's Buy Now Marketplace and sometimes even higher at auction depending on the color and year. While we aren't seeing the same prices in 2024 as we did in 2022 when a Vert Fizz Mini Kelly sold for $44,100 in December 2022 at auction, demand remains strong. Leather Mini Kelly bags are more popular than exotic or vintage versions but this remains a popular style with Hermès buyers. While fashion editors and designers have been shifting focus to larger bags, popularity of mini bags remains high. Layering smaller mini bags with micro bags together remains a trend in 2024. The highly anticipated leather Birkin 20 is also likely to create an even bigger frenzy than the Mini Kelly further fueling mini bag mania.

Hermès Mini Kelly Bags Available to Buy Now

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