Money Bags

For­get stocks and shares, says Ge­orge Hop­kin. If you want to score big re­turns —and look fab­u­lous at the same time— the an­swer may be close at hand

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life -

im Kar­dashian strikes again. The woman with the most pho­tographed der­rière in the world and global fash­ion­istas like Vic­to­ria Beck­ham are the lat­est in a long line of stylish celebri­ties who have helped the high-end, high-price lux­ury handbag keep its iconic sta­tus—and, it has emerged, its sta­tus as an ab­so­lute, dead­cert in­vest­ment op­por­tu­nity.

Re­searchers at lux­ury on­line mar­ket­place Baghunter re­cently set out to com­pare the per­for­mance of three pop­u­lar forms of in­vest­ment: gold, the S&P 500 In­dex and Her­mès Birkin bags. Be­tween 1980 and 2015, the S&P 500 re­turned an av­er­age of 11.66 per cent a year, while gold man­aged just 1.9 per cent. But Birkin hand­bags’ in­crease av­er­aged 14.2 per cent, say Baghunter num­ber crunch­ers. And they point out that un­like the S&P 500 and gold mar­kets, which have fallen as well as risen, the value of Birkin hand­bags has never dipped, pro­vid­ing year-on-year in­creases with­out fail.

“De­spite warn­ing signs glob­ally for many of the tra­di­tional in­vest­ment mar­kets to­wards the end of 2015, the lux­ury bag in­dus­try has re­mained as strong as ever, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing con­tin­ued growth, with de­mand at an all-time high,” says Baghunter CEO Eve­lyn Fox. “An in­vestor who man­ages to get their hands on a brand new Birkin or one in pris­tine con­di­tion can sell it al­most im­me­di­ately for up to 120 per cent of its value on the sec­ondary mar­ket. There is sim­ply no other in­vest­ment that can of­fer sim­i­lar prospects.”

Some of the world’s most sought-af­ter hand­bags went un­der the ham­mer in De­cem­ber at Christie’s Hong Kong Hand­bags & Ac­ces­sories auc­tion, with 95 per cent of lots sold for a to­tal of US$6.2 mil­lion, a new Christie’s record for this cat­e­gory. The top sale, US$153,000, was a Matte White Hi­malaya Niloti­cus Crocodile Birkin 30 with pal­la­dium el­e­ments by Her­mès.

“Th­ese fig­ures high­light the fact that the finest and rarest hand­bags are now con­sid­ered true col­lectible items,” says Matthew Rub­inger, in­ter­na­tional di­rec­tor of hand­bags and ac­ces­sories at Christie’s. “Fifty-two per cent of lots sold above their high es­ti­mate and six of the top 10 hand­bags re­alised more than US$100,000.”

Spe­cial­ist on­line mar­ket­places have emerged to make the most of the lux­ury hand­bags gold rush. In ad­di­tion to Baghunter, fash­ion­able in­vestors can buy and sell on Portero, Snob­swap and Lol­lipuff. But with so many op­por­tu­ni­ties and op­tions, where should the first-time handbag in­vestor spend their money?

“In terms of in­vest­ments, it’s best to stick with the clas­sics, like the Her­mès Birkin and Kelly bags as well as Chanel’s Flap bags,” says Portero di­rec­tor Alexis Clar­bour. “If you’re look­ing for an en­try-level re­sale bag, try Louis Vuit­ton Nev­er­full or Speedy bags. Go­yard has also be­come an ex­cel­lent in­vest­ment with their

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