Everything You Need To Know About Buying An Hermès Bag (2024)

“It’s quite simple, a Birkin is a better everyday bag as it’s less structured in its design, giving it a more casual look, while the Kelly has a more classic presence and is a great option for special occasions,” suggests Tony Freund, editorial director of 1stDibs.

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Pre-Owned Hermès Birkin 35 Handbag

Hermès

Pre-Owned Hermès 2001 Dalvy 30 Tote Bag

How long is the waiting list for a Birkin bag?

The reality is, waiting lists at Hermès stores no longer exist. Demand for both styles outstrips supply, meaning that stock varies from store to store. Boutiques have their own style offering, with infrequent deliveries and little notice as to which colourways or finishes will be available to purchase at any given moment. For this reason, customers who want a brand new bag should enquire in store, and seek advice from Hermès sales experts.

What is the most expensive Hermès bag ever sold?

In 2016, a 2008 Birkin made from white Himalaya crocodile with 18-karat white gold and diamond hardware was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong’s 30th anniversary auction for £208,175. The following year, a similar Birkin from 2014 sold for a jaw-dropping £293,000, and in 2022, Sotheby’s sold a Diamond Himalaya Birkin 30 for over $450,000.

During Koffsky’s decade at Christie’s, she mentions that one of her “absolute favourite handbags of all time” was the Hermès Metallic Bronze Birkin 25, created in 2005. Twelve years later, in 2017, she had the “privilege” to auction one in Paris, which was expected to sell for between €8,000 and €10,000. In the end, it sold for €100,000. “The excitement of auction cannot be overstated, each sale is like the premiere of a show,” she says. “When top collectors have their eye set on an extreme rarity, there can be no limit to the bidding.”

Hermès

Pre-Owned Hermès Birkin 35 Leather Bag

Hermès

Pre-Owned Hermès 1988 Constance 23 Shoulder Bag

Hermès

Pre-Owned Hermès Red Leather Swift Mini Constance 18

Is an Hermès bag an investment?

“The handbag market is more similar to other markets than you might expect – it is all a matter of supply and demand,” says Koffsky. “Pieces that are hard to come by are considered rare and valuable. This is why the Hermès Birkin and Kelly in limited edition or discontinued [colours or leathers], and pristine vintage condition capture the attention of collectors.”

As with any investment – be it a work of art or a classic car – condition is everything. Keeping your Hermès bag pristine means it will retain its value for years to come. “Condition is one of the most important indicators of value,” Koffsky continues. (See below for advice on keeping your Hermès in tip-top condition.)

Which Hermès bag should I buy?

“Curating a handbag collection is very much like curating an art collection,” says Koffsky. Whether you’re an Hermès newcomer or an avid collector, the bag you choose should be based on your personal taste. Classic colours like black, gold, etoupe (taupe) and ivory are consistent bestsellers, and smaller Kellys and Birkins are currently making a comeback (Hersan notes the popularity of the Birkin 25, in particular).

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How much is an Hermès bag?

The price will depend on the leathers, exotic skins, hardware and colourways. A product being pre-loved doesn’t make it any less desirable – in fact, where Hermès pieces are concerned, the opposite is true. It’s in a seller’s interests to keep their bag in mint condition, so even though the prices are still high, you can rest assured that vintage Hermès styles will retain their value.

Hermès

Pre-Owned Hermès Hermes Zip 31 Herbag In Berline Canvas

Hermès

Pre-Owned 2020 Hermès Herbag

How do you look after an Hermès bag?

  • “You want to store it at room temperature and away from direct sunlight. If you have the original box, store it inside. If not, the dust bag will do as well. You want to keep the bag covered at all times when it’s not in use. Never store it hanging by the handles or the strap. Don’t store it empty, stuff it with some plain tissue paper, air pockets or a bubble wrap, but be sure not to overstuff it. This will help maintain the shape.” Tony Freund, editorial director at 1st Dibs
  • “Make sure that when you use your valuable pieces, you treat them carefully. When putting bags away, it is important that they are emptied out and stuffed with something soft, such as a small pillow, bubble wrap or tissue paper. If the piece came with a dust bag and box, store the bag in its original packaging. Otherwise, a soft pillow case will do.” Rachel Koffsky, SVP, international head of department for handbags and accessories at Christie’s
  • “Keep it away from the heat and rain. Store it with padding to avoid deformation. And of course, when it comes to repair or restoration, always address the brand workshops so that your bag remains authentic.” Sara Bennani, director of the bags department at Collector Square
Everything You Need To Know About Buying An Hermès Bag (2024)

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