Skip to main content

The most ideal (luxury) handbag

Just before Otis was acquired by, they commissioned me to write a list-style article on the most sought-after Birkin bags. I jumped at the opportunity – I always enjoy researching new subjects, and I was somewhat familiar with these luxury bags from my auction house days. 

Never underestimate the amount of time and effort it takes to research and write a "listicle"! I found several similar ones that were full of glaring errors, so I structured mine based on actual (re)sale prices at auction that are publicly available. I also clubbed together the various types of Birkins; it didn't really make sense to make a list of similar bags in different colours (or "colourways", as the world of luxury would say.)

Side note: I also read Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello for less commonly known insights, but can't say I got any. 

Read on for an excerpt from my article.

Image courtesy of Otis

In 1984, the Executive Chairman of the legendary French luxury brand Hermès overheard actress Jane Birkin lamenting the inadequacies of her handbag on a flight. Jean-Louis Dumas proceeded to sit down with her to brainstorm and sketch the features of an ideal bag, which was created and released by Hermès shortly after. 

Though it took a few years for the Birkin bag to gain popularity, it eventually became one of the most sought-after luxury collectibles of its era, with prices to match. Over the decades, it has cemented its place not only as a functional statement accessory but as a collector's item and a sound investment. 

Bejewelled Bags Worth Millions 

In recent years, Hermès has expertly walked the line between bags and (haute) bijouterie, collaborating with jewelry designers to offer dazzling limited edition pieces. Some of these are valued at over a million dollars and take years to create. ‍ 

Sac Bijou Birkin by Pierre Hardy, 2012, value: approximately $2 million  ‍

These miniature rose gold and diamond accessories from the Haute Bijouterie Collection are small enough to be worn as a bracelet but are functional. Designed by Pierre Hardy, creative director of fine jewelry at Hermès, each piece features 2,712 diamonds. In 2019, another version of the Sac Bijou Birkin was released, comprising black garnets and spinels instead of diamonds.

Read the full article to know which bags have actually sold and why.