The Must-Have Accessory: Mini Hermès Kelly for Collectors
A Mini-History of Hermès Kelly
As far as we know, the earliest Kelly Mini was made in 1957 and came with a mid-length shoulder strap. A ten-year gap would pass before Hermes would introduce the Mini Kelly 20 in Retourne construction, a model that is exceptionally rare today. In 1980, it was introduced with a round top handle, which led collectors to call it a bracelet handle.
It would take Hermès seven years to re-design the Mini Kelly and reintroduce it to the world as the Hermès Mini Kelly 20 II, seven years after its discontinuation (the last known Mini Hermès Kelly bag dates from 2009).
As of this version, top handles and depths were reduced. Mini Hermès Kelly bags never came with locks, keys, or clochettes, although shoulder straps have been part of the bag's design ever since. In the turn of the century, Kelly 20 bags were not included in this change, so it is extremely rare to find them with double-loop hardware.
The Original Mini Kelly
Hermès' original Mini Kelly did not sell well during its debut period. In an era when big bags reigned supreme, the Mini Kelly was generally too small for most women, despite its popularity among fashion icons like Elizabeth Taylor, who owned three. In leather, these bags are easily found for under $10,000, and exotic versions can be found for even less. Hermès' new Mini Kelly 20 II first went up for auction in 2018, so that was the situation until then.
Since then, the collectible value of these vintage bags has increased in tandem with the value of their mini cousins. Over the past few years, Mini Kelly bags have become less common on the market, with less than two sold at auction per year on average.
It's extremely hard to find vintage Hermès Kellys in regular leather today, and their value is expected to keep growing with the new model.
An Hermès Mini Kelly 20 with Shiny Porosus Crocodile Rose Bonbon and Gold Hardware from 1997 sold for over $155,000 at Sotheby's in Hong Kong recently. A rare mini Kelly from The Visionary Collection of Joseph Lau, in pristine condition and in a rare pink crocodile color, was highly sought after by multiple collectors.
Hermès Mini Kelly 20 II
The auction prices of the Hermès Mini Kelly 20 II have risen steadily over the past six years. In Epsom and Chèvre, the Mini Hermès Kelly bag sells for $8,000 and $8,500, respectively, but on the secondary market it sells for multiples of that value.
Whether you are an experienced collector or a young collector, you will love this incredible new version of a timeless bag. Since the new Mini Kelly first appeared at auction in 2006, it has averaged over $15,000, surpassing the value of vintage Mini Kellys. The average auction price for a Mini Hermes Kelly bag in 2022 approached $30,000. Prices for all Mini Hermes Kelly bags have risen dramatically since then.
It seems as if this style is setting new records season after season, and the trend shows no signs of stopping. There hasn't been a clear rise in the price of exotic Mini Kellys season over season, with average auction prices ranging from $32,000 to $48,000 for ostrich and lizard versions, and from $37,000 to $57,000 for alligator versions.
In future seasons, pristine condition Mini Hermès Kelly's will likely achieve record auction results due to their scarcity.
Hermès Mini Kelly in New Variations
As the Mini Kelly's popularity grows, Hermès is creating more versions. We now offer a tri-color Mini Kelly Bag and a Mini Kelly Touch (with an alligator handle and side straps). According to Rich Report, this Mini Hermès Kelly is one of the most popular models of the brand, and as a result, there will be more limited edition models to be released in 2023 as a result of its popularity.