In 2017, the lauded Hermes Birkin bag fetched a record auction price in Hong Kong for $2.9 million HKD (or approximately $524,896 AUD). The style in question was a matte white “Himalaya” crocodile skin Hermes Birkin bag and produced in 2014, featured 18 karat gold buckles and strap loops encrusted with 205 diamonds. The extravagant price tag on the luxury leather tote however, is not uncommon. In fact, history will prove that Hermes Birkin bag prices have steadily risen since its inception in 1984, with the fashionable investment appreciating over time.
Celebrity fascination with the Birkin bag has attributed to its success with Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham and the Kardashians most commonly seen wearing the style. Daughter to Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott, Stormi, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s daughter, North West, are some of the youngest to clutch the coveted bag silhouette.
The Birkin bag is distributed in limited quantities and often with unpredictable timings, requires customers to join a waitlist rumoured to be of thousands. This exclusivity of the Hermes Birkin bag is rooted in storied tradition, influence and craftsmanship.
The Craftsmanship behind the hermes birkin bag
The Birkin bag as we know it today was the brainchild of French billionaire and former chairman of Hermes, Jean-Louis Dumas. The design which features deep dimensions, the brand’s iconic polished plaque, swivel clasp and the signature saddle stitching was inspired through a meeting with English actress Jane Birkin on a flight in 1984. As a mother, it is believed she complained of not having a bag large enough to fit her infant’s bottles, thus sparking the idea for the namesake tote. First produced in cowhide, ostrich leather and calfskin, three dimensions of the silhouette was introduced: 30, 35 and 40 centimetres. Modern iterations of the Hermes Birkin Bag include the 2009 Birkin Shadow Bag, the 2010 Birkin So-Black Bag and the 2013 canvas Birkin Flag Bag.
Using the house’s saddle stitching developed in the 1800s, each craftsman is responsible for the production of one bag. Each style is hand-sewn, buffed, polished and painted with leather sought from several suppliers across France. The Hermes Birkin bag can take up to 48 hours to complete before it is inspected and distributed.
hermes birkin bag prices in 2020
The elusive Hermes Birkin bag also holds an elusive price tag. Often marketed as $POA, it entirely depends on availability at the time with prices generally increasing each year. Varying reports suggest the ‘entry-level’ Birkin with plain hardware is priced at $9,000 USD and approximately $12,000 to $15,000 AUD for Australian customers.
Dependent on the leather and if any special stones are used, it could rise to $200,000 AUD, if not higher.
the rise of reselling the birkin bag
A 2017 study conducted by luxury online retail platform Baghunter, found that the value of Hermes Birkin bags has increased by 500 percent in the last 35 years, an increase of 14 percent per year. And in 2020, research compiled by the Knight Frank City Luxury Investment Index revealed that luxury handbags gained a 13 percent increase in value compared to art which only saw a 5 percent return.
In turn and due to the heightened exclusivity of new Hermes Birkin bags, interest is gaining on pre-owned styles.
Speaking to Lisa Caldwell from the Preloved Closest, who has seen a number of Hermes Birkin bags move through her Australian-based business, “Pricing heavily depends on several factors but overall you can expect that the Hermes Birkin will appreciate in value over time. Given that you can’t just walk into a Hermes Store and purchase the bag has created an exclusivity to the brand like no other. Most likely, potential Hermes Birkin buyers are shopping second hand as they do not have the ability to access them first-hand which is why there is a premium price for the second-hand Hermes Birkin.”
“It is hard to give an average resell price for a Hermes Birkin,” states Caldwell. “This is because of the many factors that are taken into consideration when deciding on the resale price. The type of leather, the colour, the size of the bag, the hardware and condition are only some of the factors that I take into consideration when deciding on a resale price.”
“Given that the Hermes Birkin is one of the most exclusive and desirable bags in the world, I do not think the demand will ever slow down.”
On Farfetch, Hermes Birkin Bag prices range from $16,762 AUD for a pre-owned 2002 Birkin 35 tote with the price of a pre-owned 2014 Birkin 35 tote reaching $48,655 AUD. Luxury consignment store, The Real Real, retail the Birkin bag at a starting price of roughly $9,383 AUD with crocodile iterations selling for upwards of $50,000 AUD.
Hermes Birkin Bag prices change consistently, but prove to be a worthy investment for years to come.