When it comes to the crème de la crème of hype sales, Christie’s basically has the market cornered. The centuries-old auction house has perfected the art of marketing everything from Supreme Bogos to unique Nike sneakers in between stalwart art market fare.
Here, high-end luxury bags mingle with streetwear grails, a mélange of collectibles with one common thread: scarcity.
It’s tough to choose between the complete collection of YEEZYs (estimated to realize upwards of $50,000) and stunning “Endless Road” Gris Perle Birkin (estimated to reach $26,000) but we caught up with Caitlin Donovan, Christie’s American Head of Department VP for Handbags & Accessories, to break down some of the best bits from “Handbags x HYPE.”
Basic Birkins, begone: the “Himalaya” is a handbag like no other. Handcrafted from Nile crocodile hide painstakingly dyed to achieve a flawless gradation effect, the “Himalaya” Birkin is basically the measure by which Hermès collectors are judged.
In fact, Christie’s set a world record with the sale of a diamond-encrusted “Himalaya Birkin in 2017, achieving a head-spinning sale price of £293k (about $390k).
“There is no bag more synonymous with luxury than the ‘Himalaya’ Birkin,” Donovan says. “Craftsmanship surpassed only by it’s rarity, it is the holy grail bag for any who consider themselves a serious connoisseur or collector of the brand.”
This same vest made waves when it traded hands for $20k earlier this year, expect its return to be greeted by bids equally worthy of headlines.
“The Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration is considered by many to be one of the most important and groundbreaking collaborations in the history of fashion,” Donovan says. “The legacy of this collaboration will live on forever, with notions of how luxury is defined transformed forever.”
Amidst all the other exotic and exclusive Birkin bags within Christie’s coffers, this ultra-rare Bleu Marine edition of the Birkin 20 Sellier Faubourg stands tall.
An even scarcer edition of an already sought-after Hermès Birkin, this cool-hued alligator leather Sellier Faubourg bag boasts a facade pieced together by the French label’s in-house artisans to recall the facade of its 150-year-old 24 Rue de Faubourg Saint Honore flagship store.
Birkins are already exclusive, but Hermès only crafts a few dozens of these Sellier Faubourg bags for special occasions, whenever it even deems to make any at all.
Released in 2006 during a pop-up at colette, barely of the Chanel [email protected] were ever officially released for sale. This one has a little bit of wear and tear but that’s not surprising considering that most of them were posed around the colette store where customers and staff occasionally toyed with them.
“Modeled after Coco Chanel and designed by Karl Lagerfeld, only 1,000 of these [email protected] were made, even fewer available to purchase,” Donovan explains. “Coveted by collectors of the brand and [email protected] alike, the secondary market prices of upwards of $80,000 have cemented this collaboration as one of the most collectible on the secondary market.”
These Jordan 13s, signed by the man himself, are especially meaningful for collectors. They were worn on April 18, 1998 for the last regular season game in Jordan’s final championship season, as documented in last year’s smash documentary, The Last Dance.
Honestly, this one is a steal. Before Supreme and Chrome Hearts were putting their stamp on everything from bricks to Nikes, Hermès was dishing cheeky collectibles to commemorate its store openings and special events.
This is an honest-to-goodness plastic construction hat simply printed with an Hermès logo and commemorative text to reflect that its origins. That’s all and, frankly, that’s plenty.
“A heritage brand that values craftsmanship and precision above all else, the hard hat created for the opening of the Hermes Toronto store in 2008 speaks to the brand’s underlying playful and creative spirit,” says Donovan. “Rare, the helmet has become a coveted collectors item to many fans of the brand.”
Alongside the handbags, collectibles, and curios, Christie’s is also serving up a selection of covetable skateboards that span all eras of streetwear. From KAWS’ late-’90s Zoo York decks to Supreme’s team-ups with the likes of George Condo and Damien Hirst, a spread of blue-chip art market talent appears in this auction by way of these collectible skate deck polyptychs.
“Supreme’s collaboration with some of the most important players in the current contemporary art market is one of the many reasons why the brand has evolved from a small ’90s skate shop to an iconic household name,” Donovan says.
“Forward thinking, many of the collaborations came at the start of these prolific artist’s careers, and like many of the Supreme collaborations we see, were a social or artistic commentary of pop culture and the present day art market.”