Why Do These Hermès Bags Cost $70,000?

"People get very excited when Tuesday rolls around and we see a spike in website traffic as people close out last week's weekly and see what's in the following auction," Rubinger said.

The idea of a weekly auction is not new, as Heritage has hosted them for other categories, like coins and comics. But for luxury accessories, to start at $1 is "groundbreaking," he said.

"There are lots of places for vintage bags. There aren't places that let them sell at market price," he said. "We don't underprice or overprice. We let people compete and it sells for whatever people want it for. We are really trying to be the market."

In Photos: Pricey Chanel and Hermès Items Auctioned in Beverly Hills

So what are Rubinger's tips to buying a luxury handbag as a collectible?

He said there are three key determinants of value that can apply to other collectibles: condition, rarity and desirability.

The reasons why the crocodile Birkin bag may fetch $70,000 is that it happens to be in "pristine" condition, which is a rare classification by Heritage's standards.

"It looks as it did the moment it came out of the boutique," he said. It's also one of a kind, because it was custom-ordered, which is indicated by a tiny horseshoe stamp next to the Hermès signature. The indigo interior is also not common among Birkin bags.

Its size, 35 centimeters, known informally as a medium-size Birkin bag, is also practical for use and "desirable," Rubinger said.

Personal preference and how you're going to use a bag influences an item's desirability. And yes, even though these bags cost thousands of dollars, they are indeed used by collectors who own them.

"These bags are meant to be used and should be used," said Rubinger.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: A home damaged by a landslide Friday, April 18, 2014 in Jackson, Wyo. is shown in this aerial image provided by Tributary Environmental.
Tributary Environmental/AP Photo
null
Danny Martindale/Getty Images
PHOTO: Woman who received lab-grown vagina says she now has normal life.
Metropolitan Autonomous University and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine