'Irish' bag in clover at lucky charm auction


A HERMÈS handbag made to “honour” Ireland was sold at auction yesterday for £79,250 (€98,904), despite being adorned with a four-leaf clover “lucky charm” rather than a shamrock.

The green crocodile skin bag was sold in an online auction by Christie’s in London. No details were given on the identity or nationality of the buyer, although given the nature of the bag it will be hard for them to appear with it in public without drawing notice.

The French luxury goods firm had made four one-of-a-kind versions of its Passe-Guide handbag, representing England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as “a tribute to the United Kingdom and Ireland”. They were auctioned to raise funds for London’s Royal Academy of Arts.

The “Irish” handbag raised the largest amount by far and more than three times its high estimate. The Welsh version made £27,500, English £23,750 and Scottish, £17,500. The Irish was the only bag made of crocodile; the others were calfskin. Christie’s said “the buyers have all asked to remain totally anonymous” and would not reveal their countries of origin.

A Hermès spokeswoman told The Irish Times the company had created the clover charm as a “humorous” addition to the bag but would now “offer a shamrock charm for the Irish Passe-Guide bag in order that the ultimate buyer of the bag can choose her charm according to her mood”.