It is hard to believe that our Luxury department is in its tenth year. A lot has changed since we first began with a large collection of designer items that were presented to us by a single vendor.
The department has grown immensely since that first auction in April 2011. What a varied auction it was. We were in the experimental phase and I recall a sea of designer bags, clothing, and accessories (mainly scarves). There were, however, hero lots in the auction which set us up for the future of Luxury at Leonard Joel.
We sold our first Hermès Birkin in that auction; a 35cm in classic gold Togo leather with silver tone metal hardware, I recall. What a price! It sold for $13,250, more than retail at the time in 2011. Everyone was blown away. An orange Epsom Kelly Sellier 28 sold for $6,600 and a never to be seen again ladies diamond Kelly wristwatch by Hermès, with a special order matte Havane alligator strap, was fiercely fought over and sold for $12,000. Well, we knew on that day that a new category had been created, and there was no turning back.
The auctions have changed and demand for quality designer goods has increased over the years. We are now the biggest seller of Luxury items in Australia at auction. COVID brought its challenges to the auction world in 2020. As always, Leonard Joel looked to the future. In November 2020, ‘Virtual Luxury’ was created; an opportunity to offer multiple Luxury items from various locations around Europe in the one auction in Australia.
It was an instant success with the lure of being able to buy a fantastic variety of luxury items otherwise not available for purchase here.
Alongside Modern Design and Prints & Multiples, the other ‘Design Icons’, our auctions continue to grow. In these ten years, terrific relationships have been built with both buyer and vendor. As the secondary market for luxury goods continues to grow, we are in good stead for the years to come.
JOHN D’AGATA / Head of Luxury
Banner Image: A Birkin Handbag by Hermès, sold at Leonard Joel’s first Luxury auction in 2011.
Sold for $13,420