A selection of sixty-four iconic Hermès bags from a private collection will be offered in the Jewellery sale taking place at Bonhams, Knightsbridge on the 16th May.
Renowned for its handmade luggage and handbags, Hermès has never used assembly lines and a craftsperson makes a single handbag at a time, hand-stitching individual pieces.
Included in the sale are the renowned 'Kelly' and 'Birkin' bags among a selection of handbags dating from the 1950s – 2008.
In 1935, the leather Sac à dépêches was developed by Hermès, which was later renamed the 'Kelly bag'. In 1956, a photo of Grace Kelly, who had become the new Princess of Monaco, was pictured carrying the Sac à dépêches bag to hide her pregnancy. Photographs were sent all over the world and put on the cover of Life magazine. As a result, the bag became known as the 'Kelly' and has been hugely popular ever since. An Hermès fuchsia ostrich Kelly bag, 2006 (est. £4,000 – 6,000), an Hermès light blue ostrich Kelly bag, 1997 (est. £4,000- 6,000), an Hermès light brown ostrich Kelly bag, 1995 (est. £3,000 – 5,000) will all be offered in the sale.
An Hermès black patent crocodile Birkin bag, 2003, an Hermès dark brown matt crocodile Birkin bag, 2008 and an Hermès dark brown matt crocodile Birkin bag, 2003 are all estimated to sell for £8,000 – 12,000.
The 'Birkin' was named after British actress Jane Birkin, who had a chance meeting with Jean-Louis Dumas ,the chairman of Hermès, and explained to him that it had been difficult to find a leather weekend bag she liked. In 1984, he created a black leather bag for her and although nowadays the bag can be made to order, the design is still one of the most recognised in the fashion industry. Other Birkin bags in the sale include, an Hermès pale blue togo leather Birkin bag with white stitching, 2006 (est. £4,000 – 6,000), an Hermès red togo leather Birkin bag, 2008 (est. £4,000 – 6,000), an Hermès black togo leather Birkin bag, 2005 (est. £3,000 – 5,000).
A number of smaller 'Constance' bags will also be offered in the sale, including two Hermès crocodile Constance bags (est. £1,500-2,500), three Hermès togo leather Constance bags (est. £1,200 – 1,800), an Hermès deep cherry red leather Constance bag (est. £600 – 1,000).
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com