Tycoon makes millions by selling 77 Hermes bags at Sotheby's
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Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau sold dozens of Hermes bags at Sotheby's for $3.2 million. Called the first part of the “Joseph Lau Fantastic Collection”, the event was the largest single-owner handbag sale in the Asian auction market. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to charity, the auction house said, without disclosing the percentage.
The sale included 76 Hermes bags and one from Chanel. Among the items sold were six diamond Birkins and an extremely rare bronze metal Kelly. According to the results published on Sotheby's website, the most expensive was the 2006 Bleu Jean Shiny Porosus Crocodile Birkin 25 in 18k white gold and diamond fittings, fetching HK$1.52 million.
Lau bought more than 1,500 Hermes bags as gifts, and his family still owns more than 1,000 bags, a spokesman for the tycoon said.
Former chairman of Hong Kong real estate developer China Estates Holdings Ltd. is a well-known collector and seller in the world of auctions. The 71-year-old tycoon bought his daughter a 12-carat blue diamond for $52.9 million in 2015, a record at the time. Lau also owns famous paintings, including “Mao”; Andy Warhol and “Everything Must Go” Jean-Michel Basquiat, which he plans to exhibit at his future art gallery in London.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Lau has sold at least $177 million worth of various collections since the beginning of 2020, including a painting by David Hockney, Chinese antiques and wine. Lau's net worth is about $6 billion and is mainly associated with the ownership of commercial real estate and shares in Chinese estates. The drop in net worth is driven by a protracted mainland real estate crisis and declining property values in Hong Kong.
Lau was convicted of bribery and money laundering in Macau in 2014, but never served a prison sentence due to lack of a extradition between the Territory and Hong Kong.
Less than 24 hours to place your bids ahead of 9 Feb 10am HKT sale of 77 exquisite handbags from The Art of Collecting Handbags – The Visionary Collection of Joseph Lau (Part I), including 6 diamond Birkins in different color and sizes. https://t.co/8E6x5QfQl5
— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) February 8, 2023
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