$203,150 purse: Hermes bag sells for what?!

$203,150 purse: A handbag sold at a Dallas auction was the most expensive ever sold. An anonymous collector bought the $203,150 purse, a red crocodile Hermes Birkin bag.

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    This product image provided by Heritage Auctions shows an Hermès Diamond Birkin handbag that sold for $203,525 in an auction in Dallas. Heritage spokesman Noah Fleisher said the bag, made of crocodile hide and featuring 18-karat white gold, diamond-encrusted hardware, went to a collector who wished to remain anonymous.
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File this one under, “what lousy economy?” Earlier this week, an anonymous collector shelled out $203,150 for a purse.

Sold at the Heritage Auction house in Dallas, the purse is a Red Hermès crocodile Birkin-style handbag, with "hardware" – that is, the buckles, clasps and so on – made from solid 18-karat white gold and diamonds.  The 30 cm tote is a world record setter for the most expensive purse ever sold at a public auction.

If any bag was going to hold such a record, it was bound to be a Hermès Birkin.  Since its creation in 1984, the bag has been the ultimate symbol of lavish spending, luxury fashion, and exclusivity. Hermès, a high-end fashion brand, manufactures all of their leather goods by hand; the company boasts that each item is constructed start to finish by the same leather craftsman. One bag may take between 18 and 24 hours to produce.

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There used to be a six-year waiting list for a Birkin, but it was cleared in 2010, ostensibly making the bag available to anyone who could afford it. Depending on materials used, Birkin bags can cost anywhere between $9,000 and $150,000.

The mind-boggling price of the Heritage auction bag owes to its construction materials: crocodile leather, 18-karat gold, and diamonds. According to a spokesman for Heritage Auction house, the bag was expected to go for much less – about $80,000.  Two other crocodile Birkin bags were sold at the same auction, for $113,525 and $95,600.

The purses are collectors items, so don’t expect to spot them hauling around cell phones and car keys anytime soon.  

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