When I visit Paris and I walk up or down the Avenue George V, I like to stop and gaze in wonder at the Hermès shop windows. Normally there are some Kelly or Birkin bags on display. I don’t know the genesis of my wish to have one or other of these bags but a wish to have one, I have. Just in case you don’t know the starting price of a Kelly or a Birkin is around €5000.
I can’t imagine ever, even if I had the money, walking into a Hermès shop and saying I’ll take one. It seems such a staggering sum to pay for a bag. Even assuming that I had unlimited funds, there is the small matter of the waiting list (six months I believe). The thing is though, over the year I have spent that amount of money and a bit more on bank shares. Naturally I thought I was making a sane, sensible and almost risk free investment when I bought them. I did not foresee the banking apocalypse; my shares are now virtually worthless.
While I was doing some de-cluttering I came across an article I had torn out of the Irish Times way back in December 2010. The article was in the Fine Art & Antiques section, what caught my eye was the heading ‘Hermès: not just a bag, an investment’. There is apparently a secondary market for the bags. According to the article ‘Because demand outstrips supply, the bags not only retain their value but some offer the potential for significant capital appreciation.’ The article goes on to say that Pat Frost a Christie’s director is of the view that to make mega money the bag has to be a Kelly or Birkin (not any other type of Hermès) must be in immaculate condition, in an unusual colour and made of a exotic skin.
So, if only I had bought a basic (exotic skins are not for me) Kelly or Birkin instead of my dud bank shares not only would it most likely have retained its value I but would also have had the pleasure of using it. Oh well, c’est la vie.