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The Birkin Bag That Returns Every Year to Haunt Us

Very rare, very predictable.

The bag sits on a shelf. It is white crocodile skin, fading to gray around the edges.
The Hermès Himalaya Birkin at auction in 2014.
Photo: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

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Once again, the good citizens of the internet have received a visitation from a ghostly white handbag known as the Hermès Himalaya crocodile Birkin. The New York Post reports that the white gold and diamond-encrusted bag just sold at Christie’s in Hong Kong for $382,000, becoming “the priciest handbag ever sold at auction.”

Ever, except — and here’s the spooky part — a version of the same ultra-rare Birkin made headlines in June for selling for $379,261, “making it the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction.” In May 2016, a diamond Himalaya Birkin went for $300,168, “making it the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction.” Unnerving.

The Himalaya Birkin is so named because, to quote the Christie’s website, “the smoky grey fades into a pearly white, resembling the majestic, snow-capped Himalayas.” Dyeing crocodile skin that color is very difficult and Hermès produces only one or two of them a year, hence their rarity and price.

In 2014, a Himalaya Birkin surfaced on 1stdibs thanks to a dealer called JaneFinds. “This is arguably the rarest, most spectacular, and most jaw-dropping Birkin to ever be made, and it is likely the only time a bag of this caliber will be offered on the luxury resale market,” she told Vogue at the time.

And yet it was not. Who will free the spirit of the Himalaya Birkin, doomed to bounce back and forth between auction houses, stirring up luxury-interest headlines, for all of eternity?