Hermes Red Crocodile Birkin

Handbag heaven with Hermès at Bonhams

Jewellery Including Fine Hermès Handbags
28 Nov 2012
London, Knightsbridge
Hermes Red Crocodile Birkin

Second private collection of exceptional bags to be offered by Bonhams in 2012

A stunning selection of eighteen iconic Hermès handbags from a private collection will come to auction at Bonhams Jewellery sale in Knightsbridge, London on 28th November. The selection includes some of the best examples of the sought-after 'Birkin' and 'Kelly' bags.

The November sale is hotly anticipated, following the success of Bonhams May sale, which included sixty-four pristine Hermès bags, realising a total of £562,750. Interest from a packed saleroom and bidders both online and on the telephone, meant the majority of the bags far exceeded their estimate.

The Hermès handbags come for sale from a vendor who has had a passion for handbags since she was a small child. From the first days of excitement watching her mother open the neat orange Hermès boxes, through her first Hermès purchase at the age of 21, she has built up a collection to rival the best across the world.

One of the highlights of the collection for sale in November is a red crocodile Birkin bag, estimated at £28,000 – 30,000. Other stunning handbags cover a range of Hermès most popular designs, including a mini Kelly bag in miel crocodile, estimated at £15,000 – 20,000, a blue ostrich Bolide bag, estimated at £6,000 – 8,000, several Constance bags and a custom-made special order Birkin bag.

The most sought after 'Birkin' and 'Kelly' bags have become increasingly popular since they were first designed. The 'Kelly' bag was named after Grace Kelly, who in 1956 had just become Princess of Monaco and was seen carrying the original leather 'Sac à dépêche' to hide her pregnancy. Photographs of the young starlet were sent all over the world, leading to the bag being known as the 'Kelly'. Originally designed in 1935 the shape is a classic form which has gained worldwide acclaim. In addition to the mini Kelly bag, six full-size Kelly bags in crocodile and leather will also be included in the sale, ranging from a lower estimate of £10,000 to a higher estimate of £15,000.

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, based on a classic design from 1892, and although nowadays the bag can be made to order, the design is still one of the most recognised in the fashion industry. Apart from the magnificent red crocodile Birkin bag, another superb quality chocolate brown crocodile Birkin bag is included in the sale with an estimate of £20,000 – 25,000 as well as a rare special order Birkin bag, made to the specifications of the owner.

Claire Browne, Head of the Textiles department commented "Hermès is rightly known for producing handbags of the most exquisite quality and it is no wonder they have become such sought-after items. So much care goes into each bag with a craftsperson hand-stitching the pieces together. After the resounding success of our last sale of all sixty-four Hermès handbags from a private collection, it is an incredible opportunity to offer a second beautiful collection and we are expecting a lot of excitement around the sale."


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

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