Hopefully, you lucky Hermès Birkin and Kelly owners now realize that your bags retain significant monetary value, even if not at the level you have come to expect [Read: Part 1: Has The Value of Birkins and Kellys Declined?]. Assessing the worth of your bag is not easy (nor is the decision to part with it) and involves many factors. Below we discuss the factors that affect pricing as well as how to effectively rehome your Hermès bags.
The desirability of an Hermès bag is a very personal one. The size, color, hardware, leather, and condition may vary, as well as the popularity based on current trends. (Read: What Makes A Handbag An Investment?) The smaller sizes have become more popular over the past few years, and although larger bags are slowly starting to come back, the smaller bags have not lost their allure. Prior to 2016, larger size bags were produced in greater numbers which is why you are seeing more Birkin 35s on the resale market. The secondary market has seen a softening of prices on the Birkin 35 and Kelly 32 and 35 unless they are brand new in the box (BNIB). Although Birkin 35s were once considered the classic size and holy grail bag, presently there is less demand for that size. On the other hand, the smaller size Birkins and Kellys (size 20, 25, 28 and 30, the Kelly cut and Kelly pochette) have maintained or even increased in desirability. Hence, on the secondary market they are often listed above retail price. (Read: The Real Story on Hermès Resale)
There are many factors to consider when determining how much your Hermès bag will generate on the secondary market.
The smaller sizes continue to generate a premium on the resale market. They are often listed at almost double the current retail price if the condition is new or excellent. The larger sizes will still offer a good return on the amount paid depending on the market you choose. But you must factor in the hefty commission you will pay the reseller once your bag sells.
Everyone has a favorite color but there is no question that black (noir) and neutrals (etoupe, etain, gris asphalt, gris mouette, craie) will always be popular. Pinks are also popular as are other pops of color, because Hermès does color so well. There are also rare colors that are in demand because they were only produced for one season or were discontinued.
There are two common types of hardware, gold (GHW) and palladium (PHW). Many Hermès lovers favor one over the other, but some prefer variety in their collection (like our very own Pursebop). Hermès has also introduced rose gold on a limited basis. Brushed palladium, brushed gold, and permabrass are available for special orders only. Hardware choice can play a key role, particularly since Hermès tends to pair certain hardware with certain colors. Black and GHW seem to be the most popular combination (and thereby harder to get at times), whereas pink colors tend to see more PHW. This can affect the resale value of your bag particularly if you have a rare, popular or hard to obtain color/hardware combination.
Choice of leather can also affect the resale value. Many buyers prefer togo or clemence leather due to its durability. Others desire the rare leathers such as box, barenia, butler, tadelakt, or even exotics. Most Sellier Kellys are in epsom leather although special orders can be ordered in chevre leather. The rarer leathers could improve the resale value of your bag.
Brand new in box (BNIB) will always secure a premium price. Likewise, the better the condition of your bag (excellent, or very good) the more return you will see. Another consideration is the Hermès year stamp. Each bag has a letter stamp designating what year it was produced. Many purchasers prefer newer bags on the resale market, but older bags may have better leathers, a rare or discontinued color, or an older desirable shape, such as the Kelly 20. Demand will be higher and values will increase for these items.
Special Order or Seasonal Special Offer Bags
Special order bags in popular color combinations and rare push offer bags such as the Birkin Cargo or Kelly Picnic bag can do very well on the resale market due to their exclusivity and rarity. Similarly, exotic bags do well for the same reason, but there may be a smaller buyer market for these bags due to the increased price.
How Much You Paid for Your Bag
If you bought your Hermès bag before the many price increases, and/or purchased it in Paris where the prices are less than in the U.S. and other countries, you may be willing to take less than the present day retail price because your initial investment was less. This is an important consideration when deciding how to sell your bag.
Where to Sell Your Bag
You have numerous options when considering where to sell your Hermès bag. First, you must decide if you want to sell it quickly, or whether you are willing to wait and consign your bag with a reputable reseller. Resellers could potentially generate a higher resale amount as they reach more buyers. Some resellers will buy your bag outright and pay you a lower amount immediately. How much they pay will depend on the seven factors above. The better the condition and the more popular the size, color and hardware, the more they will likely pay. The amount paid could be close to the present retail price (particularly if it is BNIB or a highly sought after bag such as the Kelly Picnic bag), or several thousand dollars less than retail.
Or they will take your bag on consignment. It will be advertised online through their website and/or Instagram or other social media. This can take many months to sell. Your bag will not be available for you to use, and you will not be paid until your bag sells. The reseller will also take a substantial commision ranging from 20% – 50%. Make sure you know how much commission you will pay when your bag sells before signing the consignment contract.
Despite the factors listed above, Hermès bags remain the top sellers on the secondary resale market. They regularly generate higher resale amounts than all other designer handbags. But like most investments, they are subject to fluctuations in the market, popularity trends, and availability. Since it is still challenging in most Hermès boutiques to acquire a new Birkin or Kelly in the exact specifications you desire, demand for new bags on the secondary resale market remains strong and prices are at a premium. Although larger used bags with signs of wear may generate lower sale prices, all Birkins and Kellys in excellent to very good condition are seeing substantial returns on their initial investment.
In sum, buy what you love and enjoy your Hermès holy grail bag. If you decide to sell it some day, be realistic about its present day value based on the condition and popularity of the color combination.