Hermes Birkin
Photo: Christie’s

Hermès Birkin is tipped to break the European record for the most money ever paid for a handbag at auction this month. The 2008 Himalaya Niloticus bag, which features a diamond-encrusted 18k white gold lock, is set to sell for over its estimate of £100,000-£150,000 at Christie’s in London on 12 June.

If the bag meets expectations, it will exceed the current record-holder – a navy blue crocodile Birkin which sold for £155,000 at Christie’s last year. A different Himalaya purse, created in 2014, broke the world record with a £253,700 winning bid at a Christie’s event in Hong Kong in 2017.

“Only three of these particular bags have ever come up for auction,” Christie’s handbag specialist, Rachel Koffsky told The Guardian. “We don’t think there are many of them out there. I have my fingers crossed that we will break records with this bag.”

Matthew Rubinger, International Director of Handbags & Accessories at Christie’s, described the accessory as “the undisputed most valuable bag in the world”.

Hermes Birkin NASA
Photo: Christie’s

The June sale is part of ‘London Luxury Week’. It will feature 220 handbags and accessories from brands including Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Among the rare and vintage pieces on offer are two exotic, discontinued Micro Mini Hermès Kelly 15s and the red and white NASA painted Kelly, signed by the New York artist Tom Sachs. It is set to sell for £20,000-30,000.

Christie’s revealed it saw “outstanding sell-through rates” for Hermès lots at its May Handbags & Accessories sale in Hong Kong. The top lot was a rare black crocodile Birkin, which sold for more than double its estimate at £131,207.

The hype around investment handbags has shown no sign of slowing down in recent years. Research has shown that rare Birkins have averaged a 14.2% annual return over the past few decades – an average that beats both the US stock market and the price of gold.

This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.

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