In an era of adapting to a digital world, this auction house has added its own take to the world of collectable purchases, by already having shifted the rarefied world of the auction house to a revolutionised online space.

From 3 to 17 November Christie’s will be auctioning vintage iconic Hermès designs, vintage Louis Vuitton and limited-edition Chanel.

To gain more insight about the online auction and what exactly is uniting collectors globally, Emirates Woman sat down with Rachel Koffsky, the head of sales for handbags and accessories at Christie’s.

How has the auction market managed to stay seemingly bullet-proof this year especially during the global health pandemic?

Christie’s first began holding online-only auctions in 2011, so we have almost a decade of knowledge and experience operating on a virtual platform. When the world went into lockdown, we pivoted our live sale strategy into the online space, transitioning viewings into viewing rooms and lunches into digital lectures. Besides the technology advantage, I believe that the firm’s constant investment in departmental specialists has also helped. Meaning that we have built strong relationships with our collector base who are trusting our longstanding expertise.

With a dynamic digital platform you’ve managed to stay abreast with the current trends, what are some of the new features you plan on adding in the foreseeable future?

 

Our digital engagement is improving nearly daily. We are doing all to make the experience for our collectors as detailed and engaging as possible. New viewing rooms have been installed, helping to view the objects for sale in the smallest details, including 360 degree photography and lot videos, and sharing even more knowledge in our lot descriptions. Furthermore, all condition reports can be downloaded online and there is a new chat option online to help clients to navigate our webpage.

Lime Sequin Mini Single Flap with Silver Hardware (estimate: £1,000-2,000)

What specific opportunities do you see in the GCC market region and are there any specific trends that the crowd leans towards?

The handbag collectors from the GCC region are very sophisticated and curating their collection of handbags, in particular looking for special editions in exceptional conditions. Collectors from this region have been growing in numbers recently, due to our handbag viewings in Dubai at the watch auctions and lectures in India. In addition, due to limited travel opportunities, our sales enable clients from the region to participate in shopping experiences in Europe from the comfort of their homes.

With each item needing to have ‘out of the ordinary’ features, on what basis are items selected to be auctioned?

The main criteria for handbags sold at Christie’s is brand, model, condition and rarity. Our collectors are very sophisticated, and they know that they will find the most precious and rare objects at Christie’s.

On the other side we are also the department attracting the largest number of new clients and must also cater to their needs to start collecting in this field. Therefore, we are delighted to offer items with starting bids at £100, to over £50,000.

Are customers in the Middle East vendours or purchasers?

The majority of the clientele in the Middle East are purchasers. However, we certainly have consignors from the Middle East. Oftentimes, collectors will sell a piece in order to fund a new purchase, or make room in the closet for a new acquisition.

What are your expectations for the upcoming auction, especially as items for the festive season will also be included?

The auction opened for bidding on the 3 November and already sold almost 80 per cent of lots offered, with the sale open until 17 November to increase the percentage!

Louis Vuitton’s Hermetic Explorer’s Zinc Cabin Trunk from the 1890s (estimate: £40,000-50,000) 

What are some of the key items that will be included in the upcoming Christie’s handbags and accessories online auction?

In addition to handbags by Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Dior, we also have an exceptional collection of Louis Vuitton trunks including a Zinc Explorer Trunk from the 1890s and very rare Flower Trunks from the 1920s which were not available for purchase, but gifted to VIP clients. We also have incredible sport and lifestyle pieces such as a Limited Edition Winged Mini Saddle and a Batavus Bicycle both by Hermès.

What advice would you give to collectors who are interested in purchasing vintage items this season?

Buy what you love! The primary motivation for collecting handbags should be passion. It is important that these objects bring you joy. It is also best to purchase the best available on the market with the budget you have set aside.

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Feature image: Instagram @christiesinc