A limited-edition Hermès handbag is expected to fetch $50,000 to $60,000 when it comes up for auction Thursday.
Christie's plans to sell the bag – a 2015 Bleu Colvert Porosus Crocodile Ghillies Birkin 35 – at its online auction on June 22.
"This bag is very collectible, and very rare," says Caitlin Donovan, Head of US Sale for Handbags & Accessories at Christie's.
What makes the designer bag command such a high price? The auction house said the value of a designer handbag is determined by a number of factors, including size, style, and condition.
"Porosus Crocodile is the finest of all the mediums that Hermès uses to make their handbags," says Donovan. Hermès also follows a rigorous dying process and Bleu Colvert is one of the most collectible colors on the market, according to Christie's.
In many ways, Birkins are like works of art.
The bags are made from start to finish by a single craftsman, who trains for years in order to qualify to produce them. Once each bag is finished, it is stamped by the craftsman who made it. Should someone ever send their bag back to Hermès to be serviced, it will return to its original craftsman.
"It is like an artist stamping or signing a piece," said Donovan. "He is kind of marking that he has made this wearable work of art."
Christie's says that the market for collectible handbags is strong. The auction house broke a world record this spring with the sale of an 18-karat gold, diamond-encrusted Himalaya Birkin for nearly $380,000.
"It really is supply and demand. These bags are very hard to procure," said Donovan. "You would not just be able to walk into any Hermès store and purchase this piece. This is a piece for a top collector, a connoisseur."
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