Guide to the most valuable Hermès handbag skins

Undoubtedly, luxury handbag resale has become a very profitable practice that has led more people to become luxury resellers. Amongst the brands with more potential, the Hermès French brand is leading the market with its handbags. 

In the luxury resale market, some elements make some handbags more coveted than others, and the skins of the Hermès handbag play an important role in their value and ability to revalue over time. Next, we will break down the most valuable Hermès handbag skins, so you can know in which skins to invest your money.

  1. The most sought-after Hermès calfskin
    1. Togo
    2. Epsom
    3. Clemence
    4. Box Calf Leather
    5. Swift
  2. The most sought-after Hermès exotic skins
    1. Porosus Crocodile
    2. Niloticus Crocodile
    3. Alligator Mississippiensis
    4. Ostrich
    5. Lizard
  3. Special mention: Chévre Mysore goatskin

The most sought-after Hermès calfskin

Calfskin is the most used skin for the crafting of Hermès handbags, with a characteristic grainy texture and a supple touch, the calfskin is always on top of the luxury handbag resale when it comes to Hermès. Next, we will show you the most coveted Hermès calfskin on the resale market and auctions.



Introduced in 1996, the Togo leather became one of the main skins to produce Birkin and Kelly handbags since it can be found in all types of Birkin constructions and sizes, and the Kelly Retourné version. This calfskin is recognized for its resistance to scratches and water while maintaining a very soft touch, a grainy texture, and a lightweight characteristic. 

Hermès Togo leather can develop a beautiful sheen as time goes by, as well as a more supple feel. This calfskin is currently seen in every auction and Hermès resale online market, making it one of the most sought and bought. Togo calfskin makes up 15% of the Birkin and Kelly handbags sold at auction.



The second most used skin in the crafting of Hermès handbags is Epsom leather, which was introduced in 2004 to replace Courchevel leather. This calfskin quickly became popular for its ability to hold colors, as well as its resistance to scratches and water, proving to be more effective than Togo leather. Epsom is a heat-pressed leather that shows small cross-hatched grains, providing a particular firmness and durability.

Epsom leather is used to manufacture Birkin, Kelly, and Constance handbags, and it represents 10% of these handbags sold at auctions, although it is present and sought in every resale market. This means that Epsom is the Hermès material that can average more than any other skin. This calfskin is used to produce every style and size of Hermès Birkin, Kelly, and Constance handbags.



Taurillon Clemence leather has been part of Hermès' materials for a long time. Very similar to Togo skin, it shows a soft and supple appearance with tight grains, since both materials come from male calves. Clemence is a heavier skin that can slouch over time, and this is why Togo is often preferred instead of Clemence. This skin also proves to be resistant to scratching, but not so much to water, since it can show water spots if it is not cleaned quickly.

Clemence leather holds 9% of the Birkin, Kelly, and Constance handbags sold in auctions. Even though it is not one of the most sold in the resale market, it still holds a very privileged place amongst other Hermès calfskins, and its softness and subtleness with colors make it very attractive.

Box Calf Leather


A very popular vintage Hermès skin, the Box Calf Leather holds 8% of the handbags sold at auctions. This calfskin was first introduced in the 1890s and named Box in honor of Joseph Box, a shoemaker in London. The most acclaimed characteristic of the Hermès Box Calf Leather is its rigid structure with a glossy finish and smooth texture. Over time, this skin can develop a beautiful patina, although it is very prone to scratches.

Even if Box Calf Leather is a skin mostly seen on vintage Birkin, Kelly, and Constance handbags, it is still produced in fresh handbags, although it is rare to find. The combination of Box Calf Leather in Noir (black) color with gold hardware is the most sought-after of the three most iconic Hermès handbags since it reflects the elegance and heritage of the classic brand’s style.



Hermès Swift leather is a soft and smooth skin with a pillow effect, this beautiful skin was introduced in 2006 to replace Gulliver leather. The small Swift grains are capable of holding the colors very well, with a lot of shine and light to them; this is why this skin is often paired with handbags of bright and bold colors. The Swift leather is often used to create Birkin, Kelly, or Constance bags in small sizes since the skin tends to slouch and becomes very floppy the bigger the handbag.

When it comes to numbers in the auctions and resale markets, the Swift skin represents only 6% of the Birkin, Kelly, and Constance handbags sold. It is believed that its vulnerability to scratches makes it a not so preferred smooth skin. However, in 2018, Hermès introduced the Jonathan skin to correct some of Swift's flaws.

The most sought-after Hermès exotic skins

Exotic skins are usually the most acclaimed when it comes to luxury handbag resale and auctions since they are very rare to find, therefore making them more exclusive and expensive. The beauty of these materials makes them excellent investments to regain in a future resale. Next, we will show you the most sought-after Hermès exotic skins and why they are so coveted.

Porosus Crocodile


Generally, Hermès crocodile skin is the most sought-after of all the brand’s materials, but Porosus Crocodile skin is the most preferred amongst them since its attractive pores make it stand out with both bright and dark colors. Hermès Porosus Crocodile skin is sourced from Australia and it features square, symmetrical scales with distinctive pores inside. Crocodile skin is usually sensitive to humidity and, if not properly cared for, it can deteriorate faster. This is why it is very important to store it in a secure place to maintain its integrity and value.

Hermès Porosus Crocodile skin is produced in both matte and lissé (shiny) variations, enhancing certain hues in which the Hermès handbags are produced. The Porosus Crocodile skin is commonly used to craft Birkin and Kelly handbags, especially in smaller sizes. Alongside the Alligator Mississippiensis and Niloticus Crocodile skin, the Porosus Crocodile represents 18% of handbags sold in auctions, the highest percentage on the resale market.

Niloticus Crocodile


The skin used to create the iconic Hermès Himalaya handbag, the Niloticus Crocodile skin, is a very coveted luxury leather with its characteristic asymmetrical larger scales which becomes a favorite for dark and rich colors. As its name indicates, the Niloticus Crocodile skin comes from the sweet waters of the Nile River. Just like the Porosus Crocodile and the Alligator skin, the Niloticus is very sensitive to temperature and humidity changes, so it must be stored correctly to preserve its beauty. If a Niloticus Crocodile vintage bag retains its characteristics intact, its value increases automatically. 

The Niloticus Crocodile skin represents 18% of the handbags sold in auctions, and it also proves to be a very coveted skin in the luxury handbag resale. As the other Hermès exotic skins, the Niloticus Crocodile is commonly used in handbags in small sizes like the Mini Kelly and Birkin 25, it can also be found on Constance handbags. Like the Porosus Crocodile, the Niloticus comes in matte and lissé (shiny) finishes.

Alligator Mississippiensis


The Alligator Mississippiensis skin comes straight from the Mississippi River in North America, it's characterized by its symmetrical smaller scales with a smooth feeling. This exotic skin is often applied to Hermès Birkin, Kelly, and Constance handbags in small sizes, and like the rest of the exotic skins, it is hard to obtain, therefore its demand increases in the luxury handbag resale market. 

Hermès handbags made of Alligator skin are difficult to take care of, as too much humidity or variations in temperature can damage the material, even producing mold growth. A well-kept Hermès Alligator handbag is tremendously valuable, and this is why Alligator skin is also 18% of the Hermès handbags sold in auctions. Like the crocodile skins, the Alligator handbags can come in matte or lissé (shiny) variations, which are often paired with bold colors to complete the style and beauty of these handbags.



Ostrich is one of the most exotic skins in the luxury market, with its silky patina and its characteristic pores indicating the placement of the feathers, this skin is used by Hermès to create Birkin, Kelly, and Constance handbags, especially in bright colors and small sizes. The Ostrich skin can evolve through time to obtain a richer and darker color than it was originally applied, this is why Hermès vintage Ostrich handbags are very sought-after.

Even though the Hermès Ostrich handbags represent only 5% of handbags sold at auctions, they are still very coveted and difficult to find, so they make for good luxury items to resell in the future. As the rest of the exotic skins, they must be properly cared for to keep their beauty intact and be valuable through time.



Hermès offers two varieties of Lizard skin for its handbags, the Varanus Niloticus and the Varanus Salvator. The Varanus Niloticus Lizard is characterized by very small rounded scales that follow a consecutive pattern. This variation is more common to find than the Salvator, and it is used to produce mainly Kelly and Constance handbags in small sizes and bright colors; this variation of Lizard skin can come in matte or lissé (shiny) finishes.

The Varanus Salvator Lizard skin used by Hermès is very characteristic, with small rounded scales but with a natural ring pattern created with beige and brown colors. This beautiful skin is often used in its natural state, which means that the brand doesn’t apply dyes to it. The Varanus Salvator Lizard skin is used to craft the three Hermès main handbags, and these bags are referred to as “Ombré”, as the natural Salvator skin resembles the effect.

Both Hermès Lizard skins are very valuable and sought-after, the Varanus Salvator is way more rare to find and therefore is more expensive. However, the Lizard skin in general represents 3% of the handbags sold on auctions. This means that when these handbags are present, which is on a few occasions, the collectors, resellers, and investors are deeply interested in them.

Special mention: Chévre Mysore goatskin


Finally, we can’t leave aside one of the other most valuable and preferred skins in the Hermès resale market, we are talking about the Chévre Mysore goatskin, which represents 3% of the handbags sold in auctions. Even though it is a small percentage, the Chévre Mysore goatskin proves to be very valuable in the resale market, not only for its resistant quality but also because nowadays most of the Chévre Mysore handbags are produced through the Hermès special order system, which makes them very coveted and exclusive.

The Chévre Mysore skin is represented by a unique grainy texture, a firm feeling, and a spine that shows in the lining of Kelly and Birkin handbags. The Chévre goatskin proves to be very resistant to scratches and water. This skin has also become popular for its regular use on the mini Kelly handbags.

Now that you know which are the most valuable Hermès handbag skins for the resale market, you will surely invest in handbags with these characteristics to maximize your earnings and make your business grow.

If you want to learn more about Hermès and the resale of luxury handbags, browse our blog for resellers and improve your knowledge.

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