SALE EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS WITH 100% OF HERMÈS BIRKIN AND KELLY BAGS SOLD, PROVING EVER-POPULAR
Elmwood’s in West London is thrilled to announce the successful result of their first Specialist sale of Designer Handbags & Fashion, which comprised 60 lots of luxury designer handbags and accessories from the world’s finest fashion houses such as Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. The auction (on March 16, 2023) saw competitive bidding via the internet and on the phones from around the world, demonstrating the interest in rare, high-quality pieces.
Among the stars of the sale were 5 highly coveted ‘Birkin’ and ‘Kelly’ bags by Hermès including lot 11, a vert amande epsom leather Sellier Birkin 25 which achieved £19,500 and lot 32, a chocolate and orange H epsom leather retourne Kelly 25 which achieved £11,000, these prices demonstrating both the enduring desirability of the bags and how strongly bidders will compete for the finest examples.
Commenting on the strong competition for the Hermès bags in particular, Designer Handbag & Fashion Specialist, Violante Massimo said: “We saw intense bidding from both domestic and international clients for these pieces. We are delighted with the strong results achieved, selling 100% of Hermès Birkins and Kellys offers, which is testament to not only hard work of our team, but also the sheer quality and curation of the lots that were selected for sale”. This trend is set to continue in their next sale in June. “We intend to continue being selective with our consignments, as well as precise in the execution of both the cataloguing and photography of each piece. Lot 11, purchased directly at Hermès last year for 8400 EUR sold for 19,500 GBP, highlighting both the strength of the market for high quality pieces as well as the advantage of selling with a well-respected luxury specialist auction house”
“Buying at auction really is the smartest way to shop sustainably” says Elmwood’s co-owner Ben Gosling. “Due to their immense popularity and the time taken to painstakingly create each bag, you can be waiting years on waiting lists to even be offered the chance to buy one from a retail location. Whereas at auction, you can have one within a matter of weeks.” There is no need to worry about compromising on quality either as “all bags sold at Elmwood’s are checked and verified by our specialists but also chosen for their condition.”
The ‘Birkin’ bag remains one of the most sought-after handbags in history. The idea for the ‘Birkin’ bag came about when Hermès chief executive, Jean-Louis Dumas sat next to French actress, singer and fashion icon Jane Birkin, on a flight from Paris to London. Birkin had a straw traveling bag from which everything fell out when she tried to place it in the overhead compartment and she complained that she couldn’t find a leather weekend bag the right size or that she liked, leading Dumas to create the bag of her namesake.
The bags, which are made in France, are painstakingly hand-sewn by a highly skilled craftsperson who has undergone 5 years of training. It takes up to 18 hours for one person to make one ‘Birkin’ bag using the company’s signature saddle stitching which was introduced in the 1800s. The bag is then then painted and polished. The time it takes and the attention to detail, as well as the use of the very best quality of materials, is what gives the bags their price tag, but their style and rarity renders them the ultimate status symbol world-wide.
Originally known as the ‘sac à dépêches’ bag, created in the 1930s, the ‘Kelly’ gained its now eponymous name in 1957 when Hollywood actress Grace Kelly used her bag to cover up her growing baby bump. It was the featuring of this photograph on the front cover of magazines which prompted elegant and fashionable women from around the world to flock to Hermès asking for the ‘Kelly bag’, causing sales to fly. So intertwined was Kelly with the popularity ofthis design that Hermès eventually renamed it in 1977 and it was henceforth known as the ‘Kelly’ bag.
Among other lots that performed well was a yellow Hermès Birkin 35 (lot 26) which achieved £7,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £5,000 – £7,000 and a Birkin 35 in Rose Pourpre epsom leather (lot 18) which achieved £8,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £7,000 – £9,000.
Ben Gosling continues: “These diligently curated Designer Handbag and Fashion sales are a very exciting addition to our auction calendar, from not just a sustainability standpoint, but also allowing clients the opportunity to obtain rare (due to waiting lists at luxury retailers) and scarce (due to high demand), high-quality handbags. While we never advocate buying for investment, iconic bags in good condition will always resell well. At Elmwood’s we can guarantee authenticity, as well as a transparent end-to-end auction service, whether buying or selling. As the company progresses, we are continuing to innovate the auction industry, making it accessible to all, while bringing a little bit of luxury, in the form of jewellery, watches or designer handbags within reach. And with 0% selling fees across all categories, it’s never been easier.”