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The 35cm Hermes Himalayan Birkin is the most sought-after handbag in the world. In 2019 one sold for just over $500,000. We’ll give you a second to let that sink in…

OK, so what makes this bag so special? Let’s take you back to where it all started.

During the early eighties, model Jane Birkin travelled on a plane from Paris to London. The model, famous for making use of a basket instead of a handbag to carry her stuff around since she couldn’t find a decent handbag, complained to the person sitting next to her that her basket doesn’t fit into the overhead compartment.

The basket broke when she tried to squeeze it in and the contents spilled on the floor.

Of course, it was first class and the person sitting next to her just happened to be Jean-Louis Dumas, the head of Hermes at the time. Hermes is a French luxury goods manufacturer still famous for producing some of the world’s most luxurious and expensive accessories and other items.

The two then decided to start designing handbags on the back of an airplane sick bag. A year later, Dumas presented Jane with the very first Birkin bag. To this day, Birkin bags are made by hand and from the finest calf, ostrich or alligator leather – depending on the design and style.

Although they weren’t that popular in the beginning, people started to notice the bags during the nineties and they became a hit. Since then, the Birkin has become the ultimate status symbol.

It’s rumoured that Victoria Beckham has over 100 Birkin bags, estimated to be worth more than $2 million.

So, what makes these bags so exclusive? Hermes actually go out of their way to ensure its exclusivity by not allowing just anyone to buy one of their bags.

You can’t simply walk into a Hermes shop and buy one, you have to be important or rich enough to be offered the chance to buy a Birkin. Even then, you can’t pick and choose as you are offered one and then it’s take it or not.

As if that’s not enough, Hermes places a limit on how many Birkins one person can buy in a year.

According to Business Insider, a Birkin bag’s value increases by 14% per year.

So, it could be seen as an investment, right?

Watch the Business Insider video below to see why Birkin handbags are so sought-after.

Image credit: Business Insider

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