Would You Pay $300,000 for This Purse? Birkin Bag Sets New Record

Hermes signature Birkin with Himalayan crocodile leather
A model carries a Hermes signature Birkin bag made with Himalayan crocodile leather and diamonds. The accessory sold for $300,168 at a Christie's auction in Hong Kong on May 30, making it the world's most expensive handbag.BOBBY YIP / Reuters

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/ Source: CNBC.com
By Robert Frank

A white crocodile skin Birkin bag became the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction, when it was purchased for more than $300,000.

An unidentified buyer at Christie's in Hong Kong spent HK$2.32 million,or $300,168, on Monday for the matte white Himalaya Niloticus crocodile diamond Birkin 30.

That price was well over Christie's estimate of $194,000 to $259,000, and broke the record for the priciest handbag ever sold at auction. That record was set by Christie's last year, when another Himalaya Birkin was purchased for $223,000.

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Himalayan Birkins are considered the rarest, most sought-after handbags in the world. While Hermes won't say how many they make, experts believe only one or two are produced each year.

The bags are made from Nilo crocodile hide that's dyed in a laborious process, creating a white center and gray edges that resemble the snow-capped Himalayas. They also include hardware made from 18-karat white gold and diamonds.

The sale was part of Christie's "30 Years: The Sale" event, to commemorate the 30th year for its Asia operations.