What is the History and Origin of the Kelly Bag? The Difference With Birkin and the Value of its Assets | JEWEL CAFÉ Malaysia

Date Updated: November 21, 2023

What is the History and Origin of the Kelly Bag? The Difference With Birkin and the Value of its Assets | JEWEL CAFÉ Malaysia


The Hermes Kelly bag is very popular!


I agree. Since its birth in 1935, it has been loved by celebrities all over the world.


For nearly 100 years…. That’s amazing! Where did the name Kelly bag come from?


That’s a good question. Let’s take a look at the origin, history, and asset value of the Kelly bag!

Every iconic fashion item a notable luxury brand produces has a unique history and origin. Besides their quality, the popularity of these luxury fashion items is tied to their history, making them fashion masterpieces that are immune to the relentless marching of time.

The Kelly bag is one of the few iconic fashion items that has remained a symbol of elegance and luxury for over fifty years. It is one of the best bag products designed by the Parisian high-fashion luxury brand Hermes. While the Kelly bag is highly demanded worldwide, we can only fully appreciate its significance if we know its history and origin. 

As a result, this article will give a historical recount of the Kelly bag, highlight its difference from Birkin – its sister product, and show the value of its assets. Additionally, we will offer you tips to sell your Kelly bags at a high price. So, let’s get started!

Historical Account of the Hermes Kelly Bag

Hermes is a giant French fashion house that started as a manufacturer of quality horse harnesses. The idea was to provide saddles and bridles to European noblemen until 1892 when the brand started selling ‘HAUT À COURROIES’ – a bag for equestrian accessories.

In 1935, Robert Dumas, the grandson of Charles Émile-Maurice Hermès, redesigned the Haut à Courroies, creating the original Kelly Bag known as Sac à Dépêches at the time. This creation became a masterpiece that was very popular among the elite, retaining the admiration of all for many years until a turning point in history 20 years later.

This was when Sac à Dépêches transitioned from a local masterpiece to an international symbol of luxury and wealth. It was when the Sac à Dépêches took on a new name to give the bag a wider adoption by celebrities and millionaires across Europe and America. It was the origin of what’s now known as the Kelly bag.

The Origin of the Kelly Bag

Unlike many other fashion items, the Kelly bag didn’t get its popular name immediately after its first production. The bag was formerly known as Sac à Dépêches until 1956, when Grace Kelly, a famous Hollywood star, was photographed with it.

Grace Kelly had initially used the bag in one of the films she starred in, but it was when it was photographed with her that it became so popular. At the time, Grace Kelly was pregnant, so she carried the bag to hide her baby bump away from the constantly prying eyes of the paparazzi.

The photograph that was taken went around the world so quickly that people started calling the bag ‘Kelly bag.’ This prompted many fashionable women worldwide to demand the bags at Hermes boutiques, lasting another 20 years before the brand officially changed the Sac à Dépêches to the Kelly bag.


The Kelly bag is based on the first Hermes bag, which has a long history.


That’s right. You can see how it has been loved for a long time.

What are the Features of the Hermes Kelly bag?

The production of the Hermes Kelly Bag spans over 80 years, with each edition handcrafted with sophistication, precision, and attention to detail. This results in an admirable consistency in creating bags that retain the same features regardless of color and size.

The first notable feature of the Kelly bag is its trapezoid shape, rigid structure, and top handle. This unique shape offers the bag a unique identity that makes it easily noticeable. Besides the shape, the bag is available in 30 different high-quality materials, allowing each buyer to select one that most represents their style.

Furthermore, there are over 200 color variations of the Kelly bag, marking the excellence of the Hermes brand that accommodates the dynamic tastes of its customers. Customers can even find and select bags with different hues of the same color. This gives room for multiple styling ideas to complement dress and shoe selections.

The most exciting feature of the Kelly bag is that it is available in eight sizes, ranging from 15 cm to 50 cm. Every customer can choose between inner or outer stitching to suit different impressions. For example, the internal seams are concealed to give a soft impression, while the outer seams are visible to provide a crisp-cool impression.

In all, the features of the Kelly bag resonating in each piece show the length to which the brand accommodates the extensive tastes of the client base. With the Hermes Kelly bag, there’s something for everyone, which makes it an excellent choice for those who can afford it. So, how much does the Kelly bags cost?


The variety of materials and colors is amazing!


You won’t find many variations like this with other brands. It can be said to be one of the major characteristics of Hermes.

Price List of Hermes Kelly Bags By Size

As we mentioned, the Hermes Kelly bag comes in different sizes. As a result, they have different prices. Below is a short list of the best-selling Kelly bags and their sizes:

Kelly 25

The Kelly 25, similarly regarded as the ‘Mini Kelly,’ is a versatile compact-size bag. It has a shoulder strap allows users to style it in two different ways, either as a shoulder bag or a pouch. Despite its size, Kelly 25 has a decently spacious interior that allows for storing items like phones, keys, and other smaller accessories. It measures width 25 x in height and 17 x depth 10.5cm. It is made of different materials, including Togo and Clemence. 

Kelly 28

Kelly 28 is another variant of the Hermes Kelly bag with an exceptional storage capacity. It can carry a long wallet and an A5 notebook, making it a good option for everyday use. Like other models, it is also made with quality materials, including Togo, Clemence, and Epson, for its inner and outside stitching. It measures 28 width, 22 height, and 11.5cm depth.

Kelly 32

Kelly 32 is a giant model of the Hermes Kelly series. It is made from high-quality materials, including Togo, Clemence, and Box Calf, for its interior and exterior stitching. It has a great storage capacity that could fit folding umbrellas, tablets, and other gadgets. Kelly 32 measures 32 width, 23 height, and 12cm depth.

Kelly 35

Kelly 35 is one of the most popular business bags because of its style and storage capacity. The bag can comfortably store A4 documents and other items and retain its beauty as a handbag. It is made from Togo and Clemence materials for its interior and exterior, and it measures 35 in width, 25 in height, and 13 cm in depth.

Kelly 40

Kelly 40 is another sizable version of the Kelly Bag series. It’s too large for business use. So most people use it for carrying items for short trips. It is made from quality Togo and Taurillion Clemence materials for its inner stitching. Its dimensions include 40 width, 26 height, and 15 cm depth. 

Kelly 50

Kelly 50 is an extension of Kelly 40 in terms of use. They are too big for everyday business use, so people mostly use them for trips. Despite its size, Kelly 50 is elegant, chic, and attractive. It is hard to find on the market and may cost quite a sum if found. Its dimensions include 50 width, 28 height, and 24.5 cm depth.


Hermes bags are luxurious….! It’s my dream.


Although the list price gives the impression that it is quite expensive, it is an item packed with craftsmanship and quality materials.

What is the Difference Between Kelly Bag and Birkin

In addition to the Kelly bag, Hermes also produces Birkin, an equally elegant and luxurious handbag. Like its sister product, Birkin attracts so much demand from people worldwide. However, there are often questions about what makes the bags different, and we’ll answer that by highlighting each bag’s essential features below:

1. Shape

Kelly and Birkin bags may look alike at first look, but there is a nuanced difference between them in shape. The Kelly bag has a trapezoid shape with crisp lines and a ruler-straight top, while the Birkin bag has a nearly square shape from top to bottom. The Birkin bag is wider than the Kelly bag, making it a better option to carry more items.

2. Size

Hermes’ Birkin and Kelly bags have different sizes to meet women’s needs and styles. These sizes are measured in centimeters, and the Kelly bag has one more size than the Birkin bag. For instance, both have 15 to 40-cm sizes, but only the Kelly bag has a 50-cm size, which is rare.

3. Prices

Both Kelly and Birkin bags are luxury bags with limited production and sales. The exclusivity of each product, the quality of their materials, and their durability make them more expensive than regular products. Generally, the Birkin bag is slightly more costly than the Kelly bag.

4. Handles

The handle is the first difference new admirers of the Hermes collections notice about the Kelly and Birkin bags. While the Kelly bag has one handle that is carried with the bag closed, the Birkin bag is similar to a tote with two handles. Both bags have short handles, but the Kelly bag has a detachable strap accessory.

5. Front Flap 

Kelly and Birkin bags have top flaps with two straps that run across the front. While the front flap of the Kelly bag is straight, echoing the lines of the bag, the Birkin bag has a front flap with two slits that run across the handle. Note that both flaps have a turn clock to close the bag.

What’s the Popularity and Asset Value of the Kelly and Birkin Bags 

The Kelly and Birkin bags are the signatory bags of the Hermes brand. Their luxurious and valuable nature makes them very difficult to buy, and they are only accessible to wealthy and affluent individuals like celebrities, politicians, royalty, and other fashionable women worldwide.

As a result, both bags command so much popularity, making them the ‘Holy Grail’ of handbags. So, if you have either of them, rest assured you have valuable assets that’ll continue to appreciate the rarer they become. Even the second-hand bags from these two models sell at a high price, but there are certain things you must do to sell at a high price.


Both Kelly bags and Birkin bags are sometimes sold for more than the list price. That’s surprising!


It seems certain. Second-hand items are also in high demand.

Proven Tips on How to Sell Kelly Bags at a High Price

As mentioned, Kelly bags are challenging to acquire and people are always willing to pay reasonable amounts. However, you can sell at a high price if you observe the following tips:

1.     Observe the Bag’s Condition and Carry Out Maintenance

Before you take out your Kelly bag for appraisal, you must observe its condition. This involves checking the bag’s interior and exterior components for any damage or defect. Doing this will help you determine what needs to be fixed and what needs to be polished.

You must carry out maintenance care if you discover any loosening, damage, or dust. Prepare the bag in a way that looks almost new so that the dealer you’re selling to is encouraged to offer a reasonable price. Note that the newer your bag looks, the higher your chances of getting a higher price.

2.     Prepare the Bag’s Accessories

The Kelly bag is a luxury bag with attractive packaging that gives it an excellent presentation. The packaging includes a storage bag, box, warranties, and straps, all of which constitute the bag’s accessories. Having these accessories helps you get a reasonable price.

Additionally, having these accessories is another way the dealer proves you’re selling a genuine Kelly bag instead of a counterfeit. While that’s not to say counterfeits don’t have accessories, submitting original ones offers dealers a better way to vet the bag’s authenticity.

3.     Take it Out for Appraisal 

After observing the first two tips, the next thing to do is take the bag out for appraisal. You must expect that different buyers will offer different prices for it. This allows you to determine the worth of your bag despite being second-hand. 

Additionally, taking the bag to several purchasing companies lets you weigh multiple proposals and determine the best. The more dealers you meet, the better your chances of getting the highest value for your bag.

4.     Sell as Soon as Possible at a Store Specializing in Brand Purchases 

Don’t be too invested in appraising your bag at multiple stores to waste time before selling. It would be best to sell as soon as possible because the longer it takes, the lower the prices. So, do yourself a good favor by appraising fast and selling faster.

As you’re aware, all luxury brands have stores worldwide, so you must ensure you sell at a store that specializes in Hermes brand goods. These stores also offer maintenance services before reselling these items. So, you can even use their maintenance care.

Considering the popularity and value of the Kelly bag, there’s a significant demand for it. So, if you’re selling yours, note that observing the tips above is crucial to getting a higher price. So, position yourself for the best deal by following our tips.


There are so many tips to sell at a high price! It’s very informative!


Sometimes a little bit of effort can make a big difference. Please give it a try.


The Kelly bag is an iconic bag with a fascinating history and origin. While it differs slightly from its sister product, Birkin, both remain some of the best luxury handbags in the world. They are equally popular and have great value. So, if you must sell any of them, ensure you do so for a high price.


I learned about Kelly's history, origin, and wonderful charm.


You can see why it has been popular since it first went on sale. Since it is traded at a high price, many people hold it as an asset.


A bag that can become an asset is amazing. I need to become a wonderful woman who looks good in a Kelly bag!


Go for it!

The person who wrote this article

author Micheal Author

Micheal is a graduate of the Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan. He has been a writer since 2018, giving insightful submissions on both classic and emerging trends in the fashion industry. He shows his enthusiasm by reviewing branded fashion items including bags, watches, and jewelry to offer his readers authentic and unique insights that improve their style.

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