World’s Most Expensive Handbag at Auction $380,000

Melvyn Teillol-Foo

31st May 2017, Hong Kong

A matte white, Himalaya Niloticus crocodile, diamond-set, HERMÈS Birkin 30cm handbag was sold in Hong Kong for nearly US$380,000.

Don’t Panic!  Of course, they don’t grow crocodiles in the Himalayas. The name refers to the colours achieved on Niloticus crocodile leather that evoke the panoramic vistas of snow capped Himalayas.

Hermes Birkin 30 Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond bag 2014 production year $380k

HERMÈS, 2014
30 w x 22 h x 15 d cm
Hardware featuring 205 F-G colour, VVS clarity diamond for a total diamond carat weight of 10.23 set in 176.3g 18k white gold.
Includes clochette, lock, keys, small dustbag, dustbag, leather pouch, ribbon, small box and box

Hermes mini-lock in white gold and diamond-set on similar bag

Christie’s announced the Hermès bag – described as “the most desirable handbag in existence” – encrusted with diamonds set in the 18K white gold buckle and mini-padlock, was purchased by an unidentified buyer after 15 minutes of “intense” bidding.  The winning bid broke the previous record price of US$300,000 for a similar ‘Birkin 30’ bag at Christie’s Hong Kong auction in 2016.

The top lot of this 2017 sale achieved HK$2,940,000/ US$379,261 against its pre-sale estimate of HK$ 1,500,000 – HKD 2,000,000/ USD 193,432 – USD 257,909, setting a new world record price for any handbag sold at auction.


2008 production year Birkin 30 Himalaya Nilotus Crocodile Diamond bag sold in 2016 for $300K

Although the older bag (2008 production year) had more diamonds with better F-colour and VVS clarity, the total diamond weight was lower at 9.84 carats and set in less gold at 174.4 g. Hence the new price record.

Another reason for the rising price is increasing rarity.

It actually has been rumoured that they will discontinue Himalayas altogether this year, which may be part of the reason that we’ve seen the increase in the value this season,” said Mr Matthew Rubinger, Christie’s international head of its handbags and accessories division.

Christie’s estimates that only a couple of the Himalayan Diamond bags were made by Hermès annually, and even those with the money to afford one must still persevere on a six-year long waiting list.

Read the previous AlphaLuxe article about Hermès handbags HERE.




Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)

Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.

Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).

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