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  • Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 13 December 2018

RELEASE | Christie's London
Handbags & Accessories Auction
Totals £2,936,500 / $ 3,670,625 / €3,236,023

European Record Achieved For A Handbag Sold At Auction

London – On 12 December 2018 Christie’s Winter Season Luxury sales in London concluded with the Handbags & Accessories auction, which totalled £2,936,500 / $ 3,670,625 / €3,236,023, and achieved sell-through rates of 93% by lot and 89% by value. The leading lot of the sale was a 2010 Hermès, Matte Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 35 with 18k White Gold & Diamond Hardware (estimate: £100,000–150,000), which sold for £236,750 / $295,938 / €260,899 and established a European record for a handbag sold at auction*. An additional sale highlight was an extremely rare aluminium Explorer Trunk by Louis Vuitton, which realised £162,500 / $203,125 / €179,075. Dating to 1892, this extraordinary trunk was created at a time when the production of aluminium was so complex it was more expensive than gold, and as a result only a very small quantity of aluminium trunks were crafted. These trunks were coveted by explorers and high-society alike due to their durability, weight and rarity.

Rachel Koffsky, Christie’s Head of Sale, Handbags & Accessories London: "We are delighted with the results of today’s auction, including two record breaking lots; an Exceptional Diamond Himalaya Birkin in the 35 size and an Aluminium Louis Vuitton Explorer trunk. The overall sell-through rate, 93% by lot, demonstrates the appetite of collectors for these sought-after iterations. We are happy to conclude a year of successful sales in the Handbags & Accessories department at Christie’s with these phenomenal results."

Further exceptional prices were achieved throughout the auction, including the 2017 Hermès Quelle Idole (estimate: £35,000-40,000), which sold for £68,750 / $85,938 / €75,763. Also known as the Kelly Doll, this Custom Quelle Idole in an exotic is an extremely rare iteration, crafted of matte alligator and accented with swift leather. Released in 2000 in celebration of the millennium, and designed in collaboration with then-Chairman Jean-Louis Dumas, the Quelle Idole immediately took the handbag world by storm. Discontinued for a generation, the Quelle Idole has become one of the most sought-after limited edition pieces.

Please find the full results of the Handbags & Accessories here.


Notes to Editors
* The previous European record for a handbag sold at auction was held by a 2008 Hermès, Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 30 with 18k White Gold & Diamond Hardware, which sold for £162,500 / $217,100 / €183,950 in the June 2018 Handbags & Accessories auction at Christie’s London.

About Christie’s

Founded in 1766, Christie’s is a world-leading art and luxury business. Renowned and trusted for its expert live and online auctions, as well as its bespoke private sales, Christie’s offers a full portfolio of global services to its clients, including art appraisal, art financing, international real estate and education. Christie’s has a physical presence in 46 countries, throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with flagship international sales hubs in New York, London, Hong Kong, Paris and Geneva. It also is the only international auction house authorized to hold sales in mainland China (Shanghai).

Christie’s auctions span more than 80 art and luxury categories, at price points ranging from $200 to over $100 million. In recent years, Christie’s has achieved the world record price for an artwork at auction (Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvador Mundi, 2017), for a single collection sale (the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller, 2018), and for a work by a living artist (Jeff Koons’ Rabbit, 2019).

Christie’s Private Sales offers a seamless service for buying and selling art, jewellery and watches outside of the auction calendar, working exclusively with Christie’s specialists at a client’s individual pace.

Recent innovations at Christie’s include the groundbreaking sale of the first NFT for a digital work of art ever offered at a major auction house (Beeple’s Everydays, March 2021), with the unprecedented acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of payment. As an industry leader in digital innovation, Christie’s also continues to pioneer new technologies that are redefining the business of art, including the creation of viewing and bidding experiences that integrate augmented reality, global livestreaming, buy-now channels, and hybrid sales formats. 

Christie’s is dedicated to advancing responsible culture throughout its business and communities worldwide, including achieving sustainability through net zero carbon emissions by 2030, and actively using its platform in the art world to amplify under-represented voices and support positive change.

Browse, bid, discover, and join us for the best of art and luxury at: www.christies.com or by downloading Christie’s apps. The COVID-related re-opening status of our global locations is available here.