Have you ever heard of the Hermès horseshoe? Neither had we – until recently, that is, when we read about it online at Christie’s Auction House filled us in. According to Rachel Koffsky, Christie’s associate specialist of handbags and accessories, “a horseshoe stamp signifies that a Birkin or Kelly bag was made by Hermès to the specifications of a top collector”. In other words, these bags are a small subsection of an already extremely rare and in-demand handbag style, thus making it even more expensive than your average Birkin. How much more? Says Koffsky – “At auction, a horseshoe stamp can increase the auction estimate of a bag by up to 200 percent.” These personalised touches indicated by the stamp can include anything from a contrasting interior to bicolour or tricolour exterior, contrasting stitching, or a brushed finish to the hardware. This horseshoe-stamped crocodile Birkin, which was estimated to go for anywhere from $80,000–$100,000, actually sold for a whopping $149,000 at Christie’s Handbags and Accessories auction, just last month! Hermes has lots of symbols. Some bags made for people associated with Hermes have a shooting star symbol, and some special order Hermes bags have a horseshoe stamp next to the Hermes Paris stamp. One should know, where the Hermes Paris stamp should be located on the bag. For instance, for Hermes Birkin and Kelly bags, the Hermes Paris stamp is usually located very close to the top edge of the bag. The stamp will be silver, gold or an imprint. If it is a metallic colour, it will match the hardware colour for that bag.