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The bag smashed the previous record, also set at Christie's Hong Kong, which was set last year when a bright pink crocodile skin handbag Hermès Birkin was sold for £152 666.

Christie's described the matte white Birkin sold on 30th May as the "rarest, most sought-after, most valuable" and explained that "only one or two of the Diamond Himalayas are produced each year.'' What makes the bag especially rare is the Nilo crocodile skin, the gloss coating and the hue of the bag which has been rendered to mimic the Himalayan mountains.

Hermès has been hit with criticism from animal rights' group PETA, as it takes more than one crocodile to create just one bag.