The Hermes Birkin has been top of mind lately and I assure you not because one is dangling from my arm. More like: last week my brother sent me a text asking if I wanted to buy a purple Birkin that was for sale on his company’s intranet. 13k. (Wall Street, dontchaknow). I immediately responded that he should ask mom because “everyone knows those are the sort of things that get passed down from generation to generation…” To which he replied: Already did. She apparently thought me more deserving, citing “fashion blogger.” Obviously my mom has never read this blog, because she thinks it is generating income. Birkin- toting income at that.
Then, last month, I read Primates of Park Avenue, the nonfiction book penned as an anthropological text of sorts, recounting the story of a Midwesterner turned Manhattanite, and her trials and travails assimilating into the culture of the Upper East side. The book was slightly annoying, perhaps most so when the author claims to have “gone native” when she broke down and bought a Birkin. Apparently the bag’s high position on the purse food chain actually caused others to swerve out of her way on the sidewalk and gained her acceptance into their pre-school mom’s group.
The icing on the cake came Sunday when I read in the New York Times that a Birkin had sold for $300,000 at a Christie’s auction in Japan. By no means a record, as one had sold for over $1 million a few years ago. But it joined the ranks of art, watches, and other collectibles that sold in a selectively curated group of 40 objects. The buyer was a Birkin collector, who will never actually take the purse for a stroll or say, carry it to dinner. Instead it will remain locked in a safe, not gathering dust. The collector touts buying Birkins as investments, as they have outpaced the returns on gold over the last 35 years and have fewer barriers to entry and are more liquid than other such collectibles, such as art and jewelry. But don’t go thinking your Marc Jacobs is going to send your kids to college. Not just any bag will generate these types of returns. Birkin’s (along with a few other luxury brands such as Balenciaga, Gucci, and Channel) are unique in this way. Particularly those in mint condition are in high demand and often fetch above retail at auction.
So look no further than this post, the next time you are trying to justify that luxury item splurge, particularly if it’s a Birkin. Just remember:
- It’s an investment for future generations,
- It’s an investment for now (sell your gold, buy Birkin’s!)
- And if need be, said luxury item can be used as a weapon to fight off all those Marc Jacobs toting preschool moms.