Rare and vintage handbags will go under the hammer in Hong Kong on Monday
Auction house Christie's estimates they are worth almost $1 million
It's the first time Christie's has sold handbags at a live auction
Hong Kong is the world's third largest auction center after London and New York.
Just don’t expect thrift store prices.
More than 120 rare and vintage handbags estimated to be worth almost $1 million will go under the hammer in Hong Kong on Monday at a sale organized by auction house Christie’s.
It’s the first time the 248-year-old company, better known for its sales of fine art, has sold handbags as a separate category at auction. Previous sales took place online.
Highlights include a 1993 Hermes Kelly bag made from saltwater crocodile skin with gold clasps in a rare shade of dark blue. It’s estimated to sell for between $20,000 and $25,000.
And a matte gray crocodile skin Hermes Birkin – regarded by some as handbag holy grail – is estimated to be snapped up for as much as $58,000.
Wealthy Asian buyers
Christie’s picked Hong Kong to appeal to the growing number of wealthy Asian buyers that have made the city the world’s third largest auction center after London and New York.
“Asian art collectors have always appreciated the craftmanship and aesthetics of the fine leather goods created by the top European houses,” said Rebecca Wei, president of Christie’s Asia.
Hong Kong, a popular shopping destination for moneyed Chinese, also has something of a tradition of trading in luxury handbags.
A chain called Milan Station, which sells second-hand Chanel, Gucci, Hermes and Louis Vuitton handbags, listed on the city’s stock exchange in 2011 and has spawned many imitators.
And if you get “paddle fever” at Monday’s auction and bid on a Birkin that you can’t afford, you can always use it as collateral for a quick loan.
Hong Kong firm Yes Lady Finance offers four-month loans of up to 50% of a handbag’s value.