How to authenticate a genuine Hermes bag

Hermes handbags are among the most sought-after fashion accessories. They are entirely handmade from start to finish by one master craftsman and made out of only the finest materials.

Although only a Hermes shop can definitely guarantee authenticity here are some basic hints to help determine if a Hermes bag is authentic:

Materials

Hermès only uses high quality leathers and exotic skins. Types range from the luxurious Togo and Clemence leather which have a softer feel and can relax over time to the more durable and rigid Epsom.

Blind stamp

The blind stamp shows the year of manufacture and the craftsman. The stamp can be placed in different spots and font and font size have not been consistent through the years. Note that not all authentic Hermes bags have blind stamps.

The blind stamp is a letter ranging from A to Z in a circle or square or without any geometrical shape depending on the year of manufacture. Next to this stamp there should be a craftsman ID which is usually represented by a number.

Stitching

Hermes stitch lines should be flawless, as every Hermes bag is handmade and hand sewn. There shouldn’t be any stitches noticeably out of place, out of line, crooked seams, or irregular patterns.

Lock

Regarding Hermes bags that come with a lock there are variations of lock imprints that Hermes has used over the years. The font will however always be clean and crisp, the lock number will match the number on the keys and with exotic leather bags the lock will be covered in the same exotic leather.

Hardware

Hardware on Hermes bags are always a genuine precious metal, usually either palladium or plated gold. The hardware also features small markings to indicate it is a precious metal. The metal on the handbags is thus heavier than a normal metal accent found on a less expensive handbag brand. The use of precious metals also means that the metal on an authentic Hermes handbag will not tarnish.

Bag Shape

When standing the bag should be neat and pronounced without any slumping or swelling in places. The handles should also stand straight

Toggle

Genuine toggles should turn smoothly when you twist them. Toggles should feel heavy and should not feel stiff when turning.

Lining

The material will always be of a high quality and usually made from similar leather to the exterior. Most Birkins bags for example are lined in chevre leather, goatskin, which is grained and not smooth.

Zippers

Hermes make their own zippers with the Hermes name on them. There are several variations of zippers that Hermes has used over the years. They vary depending on the style and year of manufacture. However, the zipper pull should be horizontal to the teeth and it should not hang down.

Logo

The logo is a stamp on the bag that reads “Hermes Paris Made in France”. This logo is featured in a delicate and neat font that is not affected by the texture of the leather and it is always embossed onto the material. On many fake Hermes bags, the logo will look irregular, big, or stocky. Make sure the logo on the bag is properly centered without being uneven, lopsided, or crooked in any way.

No Authenticity Card

Hermès bags never have them so a Hermes bag with an authenticity card is a fake.

Chanel serial numbers by year

Serial numbers and authenticity cards

As far as second-hand Chanel bags are concerned authenticity cards and serial number stickers do not constitute proof of authenticity. In deed they are quite easily forged. However they may help determine which year a bag has been manufactured. A missing serial sticker equally doesn’t mean the bag is a fake as many vintage bags have worn or missing serial stickers.

In 1984 Chanel started stamping a unique number for each item on an authenticity card and printed the same number on a serial sticker inside the item. Serial stickers identify the bag’s model and year. Note that bags made before 1984 do not have stickers

Chanel changes the location of the internal sticker depending on the models of bags and accessories and some can even be a little awkward to find.

it is common to find authentic second hand bags with worn or even missing serial stickers. It is simply a sticker and sooner or later with use it slowly starts to deteriorate.

As a simple guide, 6 digit codes indicate a bag made between 1984 and 1986, 7 digit codes a bag made sometime between 1986 and 2004 and 8 digit codes a bag made from 2005 onwards.

8-digit number:

19******Chanel series: 2014-2015

18****** Chanel series: 2013-2014

17****** Chanel series: 2012-2013

16****** Chanel series: 2012

15****** Chanel series: 2011

14****** Chanel series: 2010-2011

13****** Chanel series: 2009-2010

12****** Chanel series: 2008-2009

11****** Chanel series: 2006-2008

10****** Chanel series: 2005-2006

7-digit number:

9****** Chanel series: 2004-2005

8****** Chanel series: 2003-2004

7****** Chanel series: 2002-2003

6****** Chanel series: 2000-2002

5****** Chanel series: 1997-1999

4****** Chanel series: 1996-1997

3****** Chanel series: 1994-1996

2****** Chanel series: 1991-1994

1****** Chanel series: 1989-1991

0****** Chanel series: 1986-1988

6-digit number:

(1XXXXX – 42XXXX) Chanel series: 1984-1986

Authenticity cards were also introduced at the same time as the serial sticker. The serial number on the card should match the serial number inside the bag. It is worth noting that forging authenticity cards is relatively easy and that Chanel have never produced cards with a hologram effect. Authentic cards are thick, coated with plastic and feel a bit like a credit card.

How to authenticate a Chanel bag

Iconic Chanel handbags are very sought after and thus often counterfeited. Before buying a second hand Chanel bag there are clues to be on the lookout for and here are some of them:

The Interlocking CC Logo

The right C should overlap on top, and left C should overlap on the bottom. If it’s the other way around, it’s a fake. The width of the C should also match the width of the horizontal gap between the two Cs.

Quilting

With a new Chanel handbag the stitching should keep a consistent diamond pattern. The stitching should line up. Check if the quilt stitching on flap and pocket match the body. On a genuine Chanel, the quilt stitching should line up precisely on the front flap and back pocket. However the leather can stretch over time so it is not unusual for authentic vintage bags stitching to not line up perfectly if the bag is a little worn.

Stiching

Quality designer bags have a high stitch count. This ensures durability and helps maintain the bag’s original shape .The stitching on a Chanel bag should almost look like a smooth line. There should be at least ten stitches per inch. A low stitch count also causes the quilted effect to look swollen whereas the authentic Chanel which has a high stitch count has a flatter less swollen look to it.

Leather

Always check the quality of the leather. Chanel handbags are typically created with soft-to-the-touch lambskin or pebbled caviar leather, but they also come in other fabrics like denim or tweed. Lambskin leather should feel silky soft and appear visibly smooth. Caviar leather more durable, less likely to scratch and mark, is made from pebbled calf leather and has a characteristic bubbly appearance, and you should feel raised dimples when touching the leather.

Hologram stickers and authenticity cards

From 1984 onwards Chanel stamped a unique number for each bag on an authenticity card and printed the same number on a serial sticker inside the bag. Serial stickers identify the bag’s model and year while bags predating this do not have stickers. Serial stickers and authenticity cards help authenticate a Chanel bag. However they can be copied so the presence of a serial sticker does not automatically mean authenticity and equally a missing serial sticker doesn’t mean the bag is a fake as many vintage bags have worn or missing serial stickers. As a guideline 6 digit codes indicate a bag made some time between 1984 and 1986, 7 digit codes indicate a bag made between 1986 and 2004 and 8 digit codes indicate a bag made from 2005 onwards.

Hardware

For CC hardware, examine the lock to make sure the right C passes over the left at the top and the left C passes over the right at the bottom. On the back of the lock, it should say Chanel on the left and Paris on the right, typically with flathead screws. The hardware on the bag usually matches so everything should be silver or gold-tone depending on the bag. The inside zipper should also be consistent with the age of the handbag.

CC locks stamping marks

CC locks sometimes have a stamping mark. Not all bags have these markings and Chanel moved the position and style of these markings over the years. If the lock has a marking this means the bag is made in France. If you check the inside of your bag you should find the stamping Made in France. If the lock has no marking, then the bag is made in Italy.

Chanel brand stamping

Also check the colour of the stamping in the bag. Chanel stamp their logo and print text such as Made in France and Made in Italy inside their bags. If the hardware is Silver, the stamping in the bag should also be silver. If the hardware is gold, the stamping should also be in gold. An authentic Chanel bag never has mismatched hardware and stamping. Also note that the width of the C should also match the width of the horizontal gap between the two Cs in the logo.