A selection of stunning Hermès handbags from a private collection is to go under the hammer at Bonhams next month.
Sold as part of the Knightsbridge auction house's Jewellery sale on 16 May, the collection of 64 iconic bags will feature exotic pieces in crocodile, ostrich and lizard.
Included in the sale are versions of the renowned Kelly and Birkin bags, among a selection of other styles dating from the 1950s to 2008.
The prestigious luggage and accessories firm, who can count many of the world's wealthiest women as fans, is known for its meticulous craftsmanship.
Renowned for its immaculate finish and top quality materials, Hermès has never used assembly lines and a craftsperson makes a single handbag at a time, hand-stitching individual pieces to create the finished product.
The brand is rich in history, and some of its bestselling bags have intriguing stories behind them. The iconic Kelly bag, one of Hermes most popular styles, was originally known as the Sac à dépêches when it was developed by Hermes in 1935.
In 1956, a photo of Grace Kelly, who had become the new Princess of Monaco, was pictured carrying the Sac à dépêches to hide her pregnancy.
Fuchsia KElly from 2006, left, and right, a light blue ostrich Kelly from 1997, both with £4,000 to £6,000 estimate
Photographs were sent all over the world and put on the cover of Life magazine. As a result, the bag became known as the Kelly and has been hugely popular ever since.
The Birkin has similarly romantic roots, conceived as it was in honour of French star Jane Birkin.
The Birkin was allegedly created after the company's CEO Jean Louis Dumas sat next to the actress on a Paris to London flight.
Birkin had been discussing her difficulty in finding a leather weekend bag, explaining her ideal.
Shortly after, in 1984, the bag she described arrived at her flat with a note from Dumas. Although nowadays the bag can be made to order, the design is still one of the most recognised in the fashion industry.
The bags provoke deep desire in many women, with Victoria Beckham accumulating a collection worth a reported £1m, and British-born author Barbara Taylor Bradford owning an impressive 24.
Everyone from Katie Holmes and Julia Roberts carry their own Hermes too, as well as Hilary Duff and Kelly Brook. And of course, the bag's namesake herself, Jane Birkin - who says she covers her 'bloody heavy' Birkin with stickers to disguise the fact she's carrying a 'snobbish' bag.
Two patent Constance bags, £1,500 to £2,000
Left, patent crocodile Birkin, estimated value £8,000 to £12,000; right, patent crocodile Kelly, estimated value from 1999 value £4,000 to £6,000
Victoria Beckham regularly carries luxurious versions of the Hermès in pink ostrich skin and glossy black crocodile, worth up to £42,000 each, as well as the rare 'Silver Himalayan' style, which, at £80,000, comes complete with three-carat diamond.
Over at Bonhams, the collection to go under the hammer appears to be more classic collection.
There will be a fuchsia ostrich Kelly bag, 2006 (estimate of £4,000 to £6,000), a light blue ostrich Kelly bag, 1997 (estimate £4,000 to £6,000), and a light brown ostrich Kelly bag, 1995 (estimate £3,000 to £5,000).
An Hermès black patent crocodile Birkin bag, 2003, an Hermès dark brown matt crocodile Birkin bag, 2008 and an Hermès dark brown matt crocodile Birkin bag, 2003 are all estimated to sell for £8,000 to £12,000.
Other Birkin bags in the sale include, a pale blue togo leather Birkin bag with white stitching, 2006 (est. £4,000 to 6,000), a red togo leather Birkin bag, 2008 (est. £4,000 to £6,000), a black togo leather Birkin bag, 2005 (est. £3,000 to £5,000).
A number of smaller ‘Constance’ bags will also be offered in the sale, including two Hermès crocodile Constance bags (est. £1,500 to £2,500), three togo leather Constance bags (est. £1,200 to £1,800), an Hermès deep cherry red leather Constance bag (est. £600 to £1,000).
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