This Birkin Bag Just Sold For A Cool $300K

Photo: ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty Images.
Even if you've never seen an elusive Birkin bag in the flesh, you've heard the stories — how notoriously difficult they are to track down, how much they cost, and just how high the prices can go. The style was introduced in the '80s and is considered one of the (aspirational) classics in the realm of luxury handbags. And it's still making crazy headlines. As of May 30, a white-gold gilded, diamond-encrusted, Nile crocodile leather Birkin is going home with an anonymous buyer following a Christie's auction in Hong Kong, CNN reports. The winning, and record-breaking, bid was a cool $300,168.

The Birkin 30, a matte-white style, was made in 2008 and hit the market a year later. Its full name (because a handbag of this caliber must have a fittingly elaborate moniker) is the Matte White Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin 30. Jane Finds, a dealer at 1stdibs, called it "possibly the rarest and most desirable handbag in the world" in an interview with Vogue back in 2014. Hermès reportedly only makes about one or two Diamond Himalayas a year, the auction house said in a press release.

Still, the final ticket price surpassed the Christie's bidding predictions that the bag would fetch $190,000 to $260,00. The last time this particular Birkin 30 style made headlines a few years ago, it was going for $432,000 on 1stdibs, so the bag's new owner actually scored a bargain, kind of. (Never mind that the asking price is comparable to that of a house or college tuition, as Teen Vogue points out.)

Last June, the French luxury house set the (now-broken) record for its most expensive bag sold at auction; it was another Himalaya Birkin at Christie's, the Wall Street Journal reported. Yet another Hermès purse became the most expensive resold bag in April 2016, when a Birkin went for $298,000 on Privé Porter, per Forbes.

In other Birkin news, the bag's namesake, actress and fashion icon Jane Birkin, requested that her name be disassociated with one of the most well-known handbags on the planet in July, following a PETA investigation into how the Hermès Group sourced its reptile textiles. By September, though, both parties came to an agreement, with Birkin "satisfied by the measures taken by Hermès" to responsibly manufacture its merchandise, according to The Guardian, and the iconic handbag got to keep its name.

PETA's not satisfied yet, though. Yesterday, representatives for the organization (which became a Hermès shareholder last summer) appeared in front of Hermès executives at an annual company meeting to yet again raise concerns about its use of exotic skins, WWD reports. To the allegations listed out by PETA spokesperson Isabelle Goetz, Hermès' chief executive Axel Dumas responded: "You have a number of concerns regarding the treatment of animals. We respect them, but we don’t necessarily share your position regarding farming."

Back to that record-breaking purse: The six-figure price paid on May 30 may be jaw-dropping, but this Hermès style is still not the most expensive bag ever. The (Guinness World Record-holding) honor goes to Mouawad's "1001 Nights Diamond Purse," which was valued at $3.8 million in 2010, per Today. Still, Birkins have proven to be good investments. And, bonus for the bag's new owner, the Hong Kong art dealer can now match with Kimmy K.

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