I bet you didn’t have me down as a Judith Leiber kind of girl. But I have a secret thing for these teeny tiny kitsch crystal-covered minaudieres. They’re like pieces of jewellery really, there’s no way you’re getting more than a lipstick and a pound coin in there.
Judith Leiber started her company in New York in 1963, an émigré from Budapest who designed handbags in her head to get her through the misery of living in one room with 26 others during WW2. She steadily built up her business of unique decorative bags shaped like fruit, animals and flowers, eventually selling the business in 1993.
Original Judith Leiber bags from before that time have her signature inside, something I learnt at the London preview of Christie’s’ next handbags & accessories sale, which takes place in Paris on 12th December. There will be 250 lots of luxury bags, including a yellow courchevelle leather Hermes Mini Kelly 20, which once belonging to Elizabeth Taylor, and some fine novelty Chanels (Matryoshka minaudiere anyone?).
The estimate prices are pretty good for many of the Hermes bags which are in impeccable condition and are estimated around £1000-£1500. These are a guide though so prices could go way higher. (Tip: the hot colour to invest in is pink.) It’s an interesting time for buying and selling luxury on the secondary market, especially handbags. Apparently, Christie’s is seeing lots more crossover of collectors from other categories – wine, art – which suggests they’re taken rather more seriously as investment purchases.
The good thing about a Leiber is it really does double as a work of art. It would be a shame to stuff this crystal Humpty Dumpty in a dust bag when he would be much happier out on display…
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Judith Leiber 1990s Humpty Dumpty crystal minaudiere in green and red. Lot 184. l. 9 x h. 12 x p. 9 cm, includes mirror, comb and pouch. Estimate: EUR 1,500 – EUR 2,500