Christie’s handbags specialists Rachel Koffsky and Lucile Andreani select four Hermès handbags and one Louis Vuitton trunk from the 12 June London sale, and explain what makes each so desirable
Why we love it: Henri d’Origny joined Hermès in 1958, and designed many of the scarves, watches and jewellery that are loved by collectors today. Several of d’Origny’s designs were reinterpretations of traditional Hermès motifs. When he inserted a rectangular watch face into the link of Chaîne d’Ancre, for example, the Cape Cod was born. He also created the cavalcadour pattern for a silk carré in 1981. The colourful celebration of harnesses on this bag recalls the equestrian pieces that Thierry Hermès first offered in 1837. In 2017, Hermès released this motif on a limited-edition Kelly available only to VIPs.
Why we love it: As the auction market for handbags has continued to mature, collectors have become more knowledgeable about the rarity of items. The value of lizard pieces has increased substantially, with the exceptionally rare ombré lizard Birkin 25 being particularly coveted due to the circular raindrop pattern of the skin and its delicate gradation. In addition, the Birkin 25 has become an auction favourite as the market trends towards the smallest iterations of collectible models, while the fact this piece was only produced for approximately three years before being discontinued has made the Ombré Lizard Birkin 25 one of the most sought-after pieces on the market.
Why we love it: The newest and most exciting development in the handbag auction market is the introduction of one-of-a-kind pieces customised by contemporary artists. Tom Sachs is known for his sculptures exploring design and consumerism. Sachs explores this intersection in various materials, and in 2007 embarked on one of his most well-known projects, Space Program, which explores his obsession with NASA and space travel. In this unique artwork, the artist has given a second life to a 1996 Gold Kelly, which was privately commissioned to be sold at a charity auction in 2009.
Why we love it: Louis Vuitton has been synonymous with luxury travel since its foundation in 1854. Crafted by hand out of poplar wood and covered in coated canvas, its trunks stand the test of time. While new trunks rarely appear at auction due to the limited nature of their production, pieces with 100-year pedigrees will regularly be offered. This special-order Louis Vuitton trunk is unique, and includes 28 removable watch winder cases, 12 jewellery draws, a mirror and removable watch travel case. It was handmade in Paris to specific customisations for a watch collector.
Why we love it: After the record-breaking sale of an exceptional Himalaya diamond Birkin at Christie’s Hong Kong in May 2017, followed by another record-breaking sale in November, this exceedingly rare and desirable bag solidified its place at the top of the collectible handbag market. With its unique and spectacular colour gradient and highly precious hardware, the Himalaya series is seen as the pinnacle of the market. The Himalaya colouration was recently discontinued, meaning that the scarcity and value of the piece at auction will only increase over time. This is the first time that a grade 2 example (meaning that the item exhibits no obvious flaws, could be considered nearly brand new and may never have been used — minor condition notes can be found in the specific condition report) has been offered at auction.
Note, we also love the shiny rose extrême alligator Sellier Mini Kelly 20 II by Hermès in the main image to this story! Estimate: £20,000-25,000.
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