Matthew Rubringer was a rising star at Heritage auction house in Dallas where he created the handbag department. He’s now doing the same on a global scale at Christie’s.
Part of his secret has been the coolly analytic appreciation he has for Hermes’s craftsmanship and his ability to spot the telltale marks of it from a distance.
Here’s what he told The National:
“What has got the Birkin to where it is today is the fact that Hermès has stayed so true to its core. There is nothing by that brand that is not magnificently produced. They have the best craftsmen in the world, they work with the best materials in the world, and they make as many as they can make, and that’s it.”
The 29-year-old specialist’s respect for the bags and Hermes goes back some time:
Rubinger’s interest was piqued as a teenager, when his mum asked him for help hunting down a bag online. “I really did my research. I was curious about why certain pieces were selling for certain amounts.” The bag was found and bought, but a few weeks later, Rubinger sold it for a profit. “I made a small margin and thought that I was the wealthiest person ever,” he recalls. “So I did it again. And from that day until today, it has been completely organic steps forward.”
The National’s reporter can’t help but be astonished that a man would have such a precise knowledge of handbags:
“I actually think it’s what makes me good at this. I don’t get overrun with emotion or want to keep the bags for myself. Although I have a huge amount of respect for these pieces … I can look at them analytically. When I see a bag, I see a spreadsheet, as un-luxurious and unfashionable as that might sound.”