Auction houses come in for a handbaggingPARIS (AFP) - Two rival auction houses have clashed over which one may have set the record for the sale of a crocodile-skin Birkin handbag by the luxury goods firm Hermes.
Paris auction house Artcurial said last month it had sold a red, orange and pink coloured bag, named after the British-born French actress and singer Jane Birkin, for a record $82,600 (63,800 euros) on May 21.
But US auctioneers Heritage Auctions disputed the record, saying they sold a red Birkin bag in the US in December 2011 for $203,150, although the claim was quickly disputed by Artcurial which pointed out that the clasp was encrusted with a diamond, meaning it was not a like with like comparison.
Heritage countered that it had also sold a grey Birkin bag in April with a "palladium" clasp for $86,500 and others with unspecified variations for $113,525, $104,500 and $95,600.
Perhaps the record was in fact set by another bag sold in 2007, according to media reports, for $96,723.
But that too had a distinguishing feature -- it was owned by Jane Birkin.