A hush spreads through the auction room as Lot 259 comes up for sale. Handcrafted, in pristine condition and incredibly rare, few are lucky enough to lay their hands on something so beautiful — let alone buy one of their own.
There’s a flurry of excited whispers as bidding starts at £6,000. Within seconds it’s jumped to £6,500, then £7,000.
Smartly dressed women are nudging one another — and their husbands — as they crane their necks towards the back of the room, where a glamorous blonde in skinny jeans and a baby blue cashmere jumper is refusing to back down.
Sophie Highfield looking at a Louis Vuitton handbag at Fellows Auctioneers in Birmingham
Handbag heaven: Reporter Sarah Rainey with an Hermès rouge Porosus Crocodile Handbag
She raises her bidding card to signal £7,200. An online bidder offers £7,400. The woman pauses, sighs, and raises the bid…