Diamond, crocodile-skin Birkin is world's priciest handbag
A DIAMOND-ENCRUSTED crocodile-skin Hermes handbag with white gold details has broken the record for the world's most expensive ever sold at auction, fetching nearly US$300,000 (S$414,000) at a Hong Kong sale.
The rare Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin 30 went to an unknown phone bidder late Monday for HK$2.32 million, beating a pre-sale estimate of HK$2 million, the auction house Christie's said.
"It was the world record price for any handbag sold at auction," said Bingle Lee, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Christie's.
Designer handbags are increasingly seen as investment opportunities and are the latest craze for collectors, taking global auction houses by storm and scoring record prices.
The new record beat one set last year, also in Hong Kong, when a fuchsia Hermes bag sold for US$222,912.
The handmade bag - described by the London-based auctioneers as the "rarest, most sought-after" - is encrusted with diamonds, while the buckle and trademark mini Hermes padlock are made of 18 carat white gold.
"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," Christie's said in a statement issued before the sale.
The bag was made in 2008 and is from Hermes' iconic Birkin series named after actress and singer Jane Birkin, who was born in Britain and lives in France.