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How to Authenticate a Vintage Designer Bag

Updated: Oct 29


If you have your heart set out on a second-hand vintage designer bag from a resale site or a vintage shop but can’t commit to it entirely due to authentication hesitations, you’ve come to the right place. Your uncertainty is completely valid. The new technological era has made it easier than ever to access our guilty pleasures, but like all things that are too good to be true, with easy access comes more misinformation. There are tons of fake designer bags floating all over the internet posing as the real deal! Counterfeit bags have become more sophisticated. Their disguise is so good that fake bags come with serial numbers and authentication cards, making it harder for buyers to distinguish between authentic and counterfeit bags.


At OneandDunn, our number one priority is to ensure the legitimacy of every item that lands in our showroom. We thoroughly vet our designer bags with four critical elements in mind, serial numbers, stitching, material, and hardware. We’ve created a guide to help you investigate if your vintage designer bag is the real deal. Remember that all vintage designer bags are unique and have different components compared to newer/current bags. Our only advice is to make sure you do your research before investing in designer bags, buy from trusted retailers, get recommendations from friends, and ask the opinion of experts.


Material and Hardware

The material, interior, and hardware are a dead giveaway, and sometimes fakes can be lighter or heavier than genuine vintage bags. The material feels cheaper, the “leather” smells funny, and something looks off. Check the inner pockets, fabrics, linings, and hardware carefully. Extra pockets that shouldn’t be there or poorly sewn linings are signs of fakes. Most vintage designer bags have a lining that has the designer’s name or logo sewin in. Fake bags also have poor-quality zippers, and most designer

brands like Louis Vuitton and Fendi engrave their logo on their zippers. Check the hardware of the handbag for engraving. The hardware should be always be engraved, and don’t forget to analyze the closure, magnet, and puller. Most designer companies place their logos or initials on the beginning inside part of the zipper- flip the zipper inside out, and 9/10 times you’ll find it.


Stitching

The stitching of a genuine designer bag should be seamless with a thick thread, there should be no loose threads, and stitches should be an exact size throughout the bag. In the image below, the authentic bag has neat, seamless stitching throughout the leather exterior, while the seam of the fake bag is discolored, uneven, and sloppy. Note: the stitching shouldn’t be frayed or changed in color


Serial Number & Date Code

Depending on the year and make of the bag, some vintage bags will not have a serial number. Some bags have no tags or labels at all. Some only say what country they are made in, and some say the brand or maker, and others have serial numbers. Serial numbers are unique to every bag and can tell you the age of the bag. If your bag is newer, there should be a serial number or stamp to indicate the bag’s year and make. For example, a date code can be found on every Louis Vuitton bag and accessory (pre-1980s). These are production codes rather than serial numbers.


Logo

The part the everyone notices the pinnacle piece of your bag… the logo. You can authenticate a vintage bag based on the pattern, logo, and canvas. Counterfeit manufacturers are trying hard to make the “real” thing, but they still miss a few key steps. For example, in the image below, you see two Gucci logo prints, both photos look very similar, but there’s a distinct difference.


On the real graphic, the alternating weave of the fabric (the tiny rectangles) in the image below is more defined on the monogram canvas. The fake one, however, has a less-defined weave. Carefully examine the serifs (tails) of the G. The real one has a more extended holder inside, while an outside shorter holder.

Image from Bagaholic 101


If you have any questions about our authentication guide contact us at oneanddunn1@gmail.com