This has been described as a piece of “fashion history” by auction house Christie’s, as the 2014 Hermes Birkin handbag has just become the most expensive in the world, selling for 2,940,000 HKD (£292,994 or $377,317) at a Hong Kong auction.
A matte white Diamond Himalaya Niloticus crocodile diamond Birkin 30 with 18k white gold and diamond hardware, was sold by a private Asian collector for $300,168 on Monday, making it the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction.
“The diamond pieces created by Hermes are exceptional, but none are nearly as iconic as the Himalaya,” Christie’s said in a press release prior to the sale. “It is believed that only one or two of the Diamond Himalayas are produced each year, globally, making it one of the lowest production runs for handbags.”
It was estimated to sell for between 1,500,000 (£149,431) and 2,000,000 HKD (£199,241), but was sold for above its asking price at 2,940,000 HKD (£292,994) to an anonymous buyer.
The handbag comes with a clochette, lock and keys, two dustbags, a leather pouch, a ribbon, and two boxes.
This isn’t the first time a Birkin has drawn attention at an auction house.
In June 2015, a similar fuscia crocodile model of the bag sold for $221,763 (£172,203) at Christie’s Hong Kong. Before that, the auction record for a handbag was $203,150 (£157,750), for another Birkin bag at an auction in New York in 2011, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The now classic Birkin shape was first introduced in 1984 after a chance meeting between British singer and actress Jane Birkin and the then president of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas, according to South China Morning Post.
Birkin had complained she “could not find a bag that was both elegant and practical.” However, now 70, she recently told the BBC “she rarely uses the bag” and “often overfills the bag, making it ‘very heavy.'”
In 2015, she even asked Hermes to remove her name from the bags, because she was troubled by the “cruel practices” used to kill the crocodiles for the bags, according to CNN Money.
Still, there is currently a six-year waiting list to acquire a new one, and it takes at least 48 hours to create a Birkin by hand, according to South China Morning Post.
Last year, a study from Baghunter showed that over the past 35 years, Birkin bags have increased in value by over 500%. Never decreasing over the years, while gold and the S&P 500 have, the study said that the Birkin was a “historically safer investment than a stock market.”