Fashion’s most sought-after handbag was sold for HK$2.32 million ($298,655). Hermès’ Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Diamond Birkin 30 went on sale at Christie’s Hong Kong on Monday. Bing Lee, Hong Kong-based spokesperson for the auction house told AFP that “it was the world record price for any handbag sold at auction.”

The bag originates from Hermès popular Birkin series and was made in 2008. According to the auction house, the bag Diamond Himalayas is the only handbag that has the lowest production run. Only one or two bags are produced every year globally, hence the high price these bags can fetch. Such luxury and exclusivity have led to a rise of consumers investing in high-end luxury goods, where handbags are one of the most popular among collectors.

So why are Hermès bags so expensive? Aside from Hermès handbags made out of real crocodile skin and are encrusted with gold and diamond studs by artisans, many fashionistas understand that the brand is a symbol of status and affluence. Personal shopper Nicole Pollard Bayme, who owns four Birkin bags, said that to get your hands on one of these bags directly from Hermes but you have to be a regular shopper in every area of the store such as home, ready to wear, accessories before Hermes would let you buy the bag.

This cultivated rarity has pushed up the sales price of these bags and Hermes has put the scarcity principle at work. The brand exploits those who are conditioned to see items in limited supply as symbols of financial success. As consumers continue to the path of excess and luxury, the prices for these handbags will continue to skyrocket.

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