Joseph Lau, one of Hong Kong’s most prominent property developers, is selling his rare handbag collection through Sotheby’s via an online auction from Monday to Feb. 9. It will be followed by a second installment of bags in July.
The first batch of 77 rare bags, which Lau acquired over the past two decades, is valued at 16.3 million Hong Kong dollars, or $2 million. Part of the sale proceeds will go to charity, Sotheby’s revealed.
Touted as the largest single-owner handbag sale in Asia, the lot includes a shearling Teddy Kelly 35 and a So Black Kelly 35, both from the Jean-Paul Gaultier era at Hermès, circa 2004 to 2010.
There is also a rare bespoke multicolored Fringe Birkin 35 in red leather, as well as six diamond Birkins of various sizes in blue jean, matte, electric blue, red, violet and fuchsia.
The blue jean shiny croc Bikin 25 with 18-karat white gold and diamond hardware is valued between 1 million and 2 million Hong Kong dollars, or $127,000 to $254,800, and is the priciest item on offer. The rest of the diamond Birkins are valued between 400,000 and 700,000 Hong Kong dollars, or $50,960 to $89,180.
Other prized pieces in the auction include a Rose Bonbon mini Kelly 20, an Orange Kelly Doll and a Bronze Metallic Kelly 25, which according to Sotheby’s was only in production from 2004 to 2005. The color of the bag was inspired by the window displays designed by Leïla Menchari for the Hermès flagship store at Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris. The Metallic Kelly bag is valued between 400,000 and 600,000 Hong Kong dollars, or $50,960 to $76,440.
Morgane Halimi, global head of handbags and accessories, said, “The limited-edition pieces that have made and shaped the history of handbags in the past two decades can all be found in this collection.”
With a net worth of $13.6 billion, according to Forbes, Lau is the former chairman of property developer Chinese Estates. He is best known by the public in Hong Kong for love affairs with several high-profile actresses in the past two decades, which often involved gifting rare bags and high jewelry as proof of affection.
He has been married to former showbiz journalist Kimbee Chan since 2016. They have two children.
In 2017, Lau transferred 75 percent of his shares in Chinese Estates to Chan and their son, citing serious health issues. This made Chan the richest woman in Hong Kong. Chan is also an avid rare Hermès bag collector.