Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 24 November 2020

Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Dior: Christie’s is auctioning some of the world's most famous handbags

With customers showing a continuing preference for smaller sizes, many of the lots are scaled down

A matte white Himalaya Birkin by Hermes. Courtesy Christie's
A matte white Himalaya Birkin by Hermes. Courtesy Christie's

Some of the most sought-after handbags in the world are up for grabs at the Christie’s Handbag and Accessories online auction, from today until Tuesday, November 17.

The sale is predominately made up of creations by Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Chanel and Bottega Veneta. With customers showing a continuing preference for smaller sizes, many of the lots are scaled down, including a black Swift leather micro Hermes Kelly bag with gold hardware, which is estimated to sell for between £1,500 ($1,940) and £2,000, and a micro mini VIF Courchevel Hermes Kelly 15 from 1992, also with gold hardware.

For the Chanel devotee, there are numerous pochette-sized bags, including lot 126, a fully sequined mini flap bag in champagne with gold hardware, which is estimated to sell for £1,000 to £2,000. Other standout lots include 129, a white lucite and crystal Lego clutch, and 128, a clear Plexiglass bag with a rainbow chain.

Lot 129 a , a white lucite and crystal Lego clutch by Chanel, with an estimate GBP2,000-3,000. Courtesy Christie's
Lot 129 a , a white lucite and crystal Lego clutch by Chanel, with an estimate GBP2,000-3,000. Courtesy Christie's

Bags aside, the auction includes a few unexpected gems. Lot 30 is a Louis Vuitton X Supreme monogrammed skateboard deck from 2017, with an estimate of £4,000 to £6,000. Lot 165 is a miniature winged crocodile saddle by Hermes, complete with a display stand. Only 15 centimetres high, it is a masterpiece of scaled-down workmanship, and has an estimate of £10,000 to £15,000. Sporty types with deep pockets should also look to lot 131, a pair of pristine, all-white Hermes roller skates.

A limited edition monogrammed LV Keepall decorated with clouds and a miniature trunk in the form of a blue epi leather “petite malle”, circa 2010, are also expected to garner interest.

Lot 128, a Chanel clear Plexiglass bag with rainbow chain, estimate GBP3,000-4,000. Courtesy Christie's
Lot 128, a Chanel clear Plexiglass bag with rainbow chain, estimate GBP3,000-4,000. Courtesy Christie's

Lot 92 is another LV trunk, but from the 1920s, and is a rare, zinc-lined “flower trunk”, so called because it could be filled with water and flowers without sustaining any damage. Made of blue canvas, these are increasingly rare, hence the estimate of £15,000 to £20,000. Even more exceptional is a zinc LV Explorer Trunk that was hand-made in the 1890s. With zinc covered walls and brass-reinforced edges, corners and hinges, it has “Louis Vuitton” stamped on the bottom and is expected to fetch at least £40,000. Meanwhile, lot 200 is a full set of Encyclopedia Britannica from circa 1910, stored in a custom-made LV trunk.

Lot 127, a zinc Explorer trunk by Louis Vuitton, circa 1890. Estimate GBP40,000-50,000. Courtesy Christie's
Lot 127, a zinc Explorer trunk by Louis Vuitton, circa 1890. Estimate GBP40,000-50,000. Courtesy Christie's

There are also several more modern LV trunks on offer from the 1990s, ranging from monogramed steamer trunks to standing shoe cases that can each hold 30 pairs.

But the stars of the auction are undoubtedly three rare matte white Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile bags. Made in 2014, Lot 111 is a Kelly 32 with palladium hardware, made in matte white Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile skin, with an estimate of £40,000 to £60,000. Made from the belly skin of the Niloticus (Nile) crocodile, the name Himalaya refers to the grading of colour, which is said to resemble the snowcapped mountains of the same name. Dyeing crocodile skin is complex, as to achieve such subtle shift in colour takes tremendous skill, making these bags highly desirable.

Very few of them are ever made, and as a result they are very sought after by collectors. In July, Christie’s sold a Himalaya Birkin with diamond encrusted hardware for a record breaking £230,000.

If those are a little outside your budget, there are a few lots with more accessible prices, including three bags from the recent LV collaboration with Japanese streetwear artist Nigo. Lot 193 is a Damier print coin purse, illustrated with a duck; lot 195 is a pocket organiser decorated with a different image of a mallard; and lot 194 is canvas phone bag, featuring a sketch of a turtle.

Updated: November 2, 2020 07:35 PM

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