In a nod to the burgeoning and strong-performing collectible handbag market, Art Market Research (AMR) has launched a suite of indexes to track the performance of selected Hermès Kelly and Hermès Birkin bags, as well as bags from Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
Collectible handbags outperformed art, classic cars, and even knocked rare whisky off its number one position as an investment of passion in 2019, according to Knight Frank’s The Wealth Report 2020, based on data provided by the AMR, a London-based alternative asset research firm.
The collector pool is diverse, says Rachel Koffsky , head of Christie’s handbag department, “ranging from younger women who are looking for their first Chanel bag to very serious collectors who have been collecting for 20-years-plus and every year sell two to buy three.”
In response to client demand, Christie’s now hosts seven live and online auctions of handbags each year, in Asia, the U.S., and the U.K.
Christie’s has about 50% of the handbag auction market, while Sotheby’s remains a strong competitor in this category. Other auction houses are following in their footsteps, with Bonham’s launching its inaugural sale of designer handbags on July 16 after forming its new department early this year. The 245-lot sale will feature pre-owned contemporary and vintage handbags showcasing labels including Hermès, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton.
AMR, in collaboration with the London School of Economics, uses price information collated from the auction houses located all around the world to compile the indexes.
“We’ve been able to analyze sales data from the last 10 years and speak to the world’s leading experts, to provide unbiased insights on collecting luxury handbags,” Sebastian Duthy , CEO of Art Market Research, said in the report released Friday U.K time.
In 2019, more than 3,700 designer handbags sold for £26.4 million at auctions around the world, according to the report. “The secondary market for handbags has become so popular that some new bags sourced in store are being sold at auction for up to two and a half times,” Duthy said.
The most collectible handbag in the world, according to the report, is the crocodile skin Himalaya Birkin by Hermès.
Coincidentally, a rare Hermès Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin sold for £125,000 (US$158,375), at an online auction at Christie’s Thursday. The realized price is far beyond its presale estimate of between £60,000 and £80,000.