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Press Release - November 17, 2010

Diana Vreeland, ‘Holy Grail’ Hermes Birkins and extraordinary Louis Vuitton handbags add flash to debut of luxury auction in Dallas

Heritage’s Luxury Accessories category unveiled as part of Dec. 13 Fine Jewelry and Handbags auction

DALLAS, TX – Fashion and style icon Diana Vreeland’s English brown crocodile suitcase from the 1930s, replete with her initials (estimated at $5,000+), along with two Hermes Porosus Crocodile Birkin handbags, one in Shiny Fuschia, the other in Matte Black (both estimated at $40,000+) – among the most desirable handbags in the world – will anchor the debut auction of Heritage Auction’s new Luxury Accessories category, part of the company’s Dec. 13 Signature® Fine Jewelry and Handbag auction, which will be on view in New York at the Fletcher- Sinclair Mansion (2 E 79th St) from Dec. 2-5.

The auction not only marks the first appearance of Luxury Accessories at Heritage, it is also the first auction for the company conducted by Matt Rubinger, Director of Luxury Accessories at Heritage and a widely-known and highly-respected voice in the world of high- end handbags.

“What this auction signifies is nothing less than the budding of a new market,” said Rubinger. “For the first time we can quantify this market with a solid track record of value and a growing number of collectors. This collection of the most sought after and collectible bags in the world, together with tempting starting bids, has ensured that this will be a significant auction for long-time collectors, fashion insiders and emerging collectors alike. And with the sale just two weeks before Christmas, I have a feeling more than a few of these will end up under a tree somewhere.”

Diana Vreeland was one of the most famous women in fashion history, and anything directly associated with her comes with a cachet accorded only to the most influential of people.

“Vreeland was Fashion Editor for Harper’s Bazaar, then Editor-in-Chief of Vogue,” said Rubinger. “She was a good friend of Coco Chanel, mentor of Richard Avedon and discovered Lauren Bacall and Edie Sedgwick among the many. A find like this doesn’t come along often, certainly, and a smart collector is going to take home this very special piece.”

Including the Shiny Fuschia and the Matte Black Crocodile Hermes Birkin handbags, the auction includes a superb selection of more than 30 Hermes Birkins and Kelly handbags, all of which are greatly coveted by collectors. Other highlights of this special Hermes section include a special order 35cm Horseshoe stamp Vert Fonce and Blue Jean Clemence Leather Birkin (estimate: $15,000+), a very rare Pure White 30 cm Birkin (estimate: $9,000+), a tri-color Kelly (estimate: $3,000+), a special edition Blue Jean Nilo Crocodile Cuckoo Bag (estimate $12,000+) and a special edition Miel Alligator Cadena Lock Bag (estimate $10,000+) .

“If such a thing as a ‘Holy Grail’ handbag exists,” said Rubinger, “then they are the Hermes Birkins in Fuschia Porosus Crocodile and in Black Porosus Crocodile. The fact that we have both of these amazing pieces has already set collectors buzzing.”

The name Judith Leiber is very well known to any handbag aficionado, and the 19 collectible Judith Leiber Minaudieres, almost all from while she was still the head of the company, are sure to garner the full attention of advanced collectors. The grouping includes the Full Bead Arabian Horse (estimate: $2,500+), the Full Bead Red Tomato (estimate: $2,500+), the Full Bead Green Frog (estimate: $2,000+) and the Full Bead Black Rose (estimate: $2,000+), four of her most signature and sought after designs. The collection also includes some her earliest metal bags from the 1960s, which are rarely available on the market.

The auction features what can only be considered one of the best collections of limited edition Louis Vuitton ever assembled, including the two finest pieces from the 1996 Louis Vuitton Centenaire Monogramme, where seven designers were asked to re-interpret classic pieces in the company’s signature monogram.

“Very few of each design were ever produced,” said Rubinger, “and they were never on the shelves of boutiques, just offered to special clients, who snapped them up immediately, resulting in a sell-out of the bags.”

These two pieces are the Azzedine Alaia for Louis Vuitton Alma bag, done with the classic monogram and leopard pony hair (estimate: $3,000+) and the Manolo Blahnik for Louis Vuitton Shoe Trunk, done with a bright pink satin interior (estimate: $7,000+). Both pieces are signed by the designers, labeled Centenaire Monogramme and numbered.

For the 1998 World Cup in France, Louis Vuitton created a classic monogram soccer ball in leather straps (estimate: $2,500+), one of which makes its auction debut in the Heritage event. The ball was produced in extremely limited quantities and only made available to very special clients. Further special Louis Vuitton in the auction includes two examples from the 2003 collaboration between Takashi Murakami and Marc Jacobs that revolutionized the fashion history and became the “It” bag for numerous A-list celebrities. The examples here include an extremely rare limited and numbered Eye Love Multicolore Eye Love You bag (estimate: $3,000+) and a limited and numbered Edition #003 Boite Joallerie Jewelry Box (estimate: $4,000+).

In 2004, following the revolution that was the 2003 Show Bag Collection, Vuitton produced Les Extraordinaires, which included several spectacular pieces crafted entirely by hand of the most luxurious materials, the most exquisite and sought-after of which, the Vison Monogramme Le Fabuleux, (estimate: $10,000+), makes a welcome appearance in this auction.

“This bag could well be the most luxurious bag ever made by Louis Vuitton,” said Rubinger, “done entirely in mink, with black alligator accents, and a chocolate brown lambskin interior. The bag had a retail price of $19,980 in 2004 and as one of only five in the United States, is an excellent investment piece.”

Rounding out the superb Louis Vuitton section are two more pieces created for the Spring/Summer Les Extraordinaires collection. The first bag, the Louis Vuitton Lilac Draped Ostrich Pochette (estimate: $3,000+) is also known as the “Naomi Campbell bag,” as the Supermodel was often seen carrying one, while the second is the highly collectible Louis Vuitton Theda PM Swarovski Strass Rose (estimate: $3,000+).

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit

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