Money

You know you're rich when you buy this — a $379,261 handbag is the most expensive ever sold at auction

Would you rather have a house or a handbag? If you have to choose, you can't afford the Hermès white Himalaya crocodile diamond Birkin bag that Christie's just unloaded for $379,261, making it the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction.

The exclusive white Himalaya Birkin, handmade from Niloticus crocodile with more than 240 diamonds on its 18-karat-gold hardware, is routinely in the top spot for most expensive bag — this year's titleholder (sold in Hong Kong) knocked the crown off another white Himalaya Birkin that sold for a little over $300,000 in 2016.

Hermès matte white Himalaya Niloticus crocodile diamond Birkin sold for more than $379,000 at Christie's in Hong Kong
Courtesy of Christie's
Hermès matte white Himalaya Niloticus crocodile diamond Birkin sold for more than $379,000 at Christie's in Hong Kong

Celebrities, of course, love the bag. David Beckham, who is worth $350 million, bought his clothing designer wife, Victoria, an albino Nilo crocodile Himalayan Birkin in 2008 for a reported £80,000 (or about $100,000). Kim Kardashian has also been spotted with the Himalayan.

David and Victoria Beckham
Getty Images | Anthony Harvey
David and Victoria Beckham

The Himalayan is so-named because the coloring resembles the famous mountain range, and it's "possibly the rarest and most desirable handbag in the world," according to Hermès expert Jane Finds.

"Hermès only very rarely—and very thoughtfully—creates unique pieces of this caliber," says Finds. Christie's estimates only one or two of the bags are handmade per year.

The bag is so rare and expensive in part because white or albino crocodiles are hard to come by and the dying process for the bag is painstaking.

Even the simplest of Birkin bags start at about $10,000 and are famous for their often months- or years-long waiting lists to purchase.

But Birkins aren't just fashion statements or folly — these bags only appreciate in value with time.

Just ask Victoria Beckham. She reportedly has 100 Birkins in a collection that's estimated to be worth $2 million.

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