Know your Hermès: a collector’s guide

Handmade and finely crafted in France in limited quantities, Hermès bags have been admired and coveted by the fashionable elite for decades. No longer considered just a fashion accessory, but an investment, the value of Hermès pieces have steadily risen year-on-year, giving birth to the trend of 'Birkinomics'. Designer Handbags & Fashion specialist, Winnie McGee guides us on what the savy investor should look for in a Hermès bags, ahead of the forthcoming Chiswick Auctions x Luxury Promise sale.


Lucky Horse Shoe

Lot 13. Hermes Special Order Bicolour Blue Electric Epsom Blue Constance III. Estimate: £8,000-12,000

Among handbag collectors, a custom-made Hermès bag is considered the ultimate status symbol. Custom-made pieces, known as HSS bags, feature a special horseshoe stamp to the left of the Hermès stamp inside the bag. The emblem might be petite, but it increases the value of the bag significantly. This special custom made to order service is only available to top Hermès clientele, and with bespoke pieces taking anywhere from 6 months to 3 years to make, these bags are even more covetable and rare.


Feeling exotic? 

Lot 3. Hermes Geranium Matte Alligator Kelly Retourne 32. Estimate: £26,000-32,000

The most coveted, and expensive of all Hermès bags, are those made from exotic skins such as Crocodile and Alligator. With limited exotic leather supplies available on the market, Hermès uses only the best ethically sourced exotic skins available. To make them even more special, the leathers are offered in different finishes such as Matte and Shiny, and different colours. To custom dye a crocodile skin, it is a lengthy and highly skilled process, where the craftsperson removes the skin’s natural pigment, and then dies the virgin skin in many layers until colour perfection is achieved.

Sabrina Sadiq, CEO of Luxury Promise explains the why she loves lot 3, the Hermès Geranium Matte Alligator Kelly Retourne 32, “[the bag is crafted in a] rare Geranium colour, with beautiful undertones. It’s the perfect 2 tonal bag; in some lights it is deep read and other lights it look like a blood orange’’.


Special Edition

Lot 11. Hermes Anemone Togo Swift Ghillies Birkin 35. Estimate: £5,000-8,000

Every few years, Hermès releases a special edition of its most iconic bags, made on limited runs, such as Lot 11, the Hermès Anemone Togo Swift Ghillies Birkin 35. “The Ghillies Collection was inspired by men’s brogues, using the tiny holes that trim the shoes to great artistic effect explains Meg Randell, Head of Designer Handbags & Fashion. Combining the rare Anemone colour with purple undertones, this unusual bag will make an exceptional addition to any Hermès collection.


Size Matters

Lot 40. Hermes Black Mini Box Kelly 20. Estimate: £4,000-6,000

The Hermès Kelly 20 was one of the original ‘micro’ bags and is highly prized by collectors today. The Kelly 20 was only made for a limited period in the 1980s, but Hermès recently re-released their modern take on this classic. The new style is called the Kelly 20 II, but the proportions of this newer style are very different to the original and daintier Kelly 20. For this reason, the Kelly 20 has become a highly sought-after item. “What I love about this bag is the integrated shoulder strap and the glossiness of the box calf leather, this is a great opportunity to own the original it bag!” Winnie McGee Fashion Specialist.

Chiswick Auctions x Luxury Promise, Tuesday 9th July at 2pm BST

Winnie McGee
Designer Handbags & Fashion