Since the early 1980s, Louis Vuitton has included date codes with its bags, small leather goods, and most accessories. These are not considered serial numbers and are not used for the purpose of verifying authenticity. Rather, these are date codes consisting of letters and numbers (or in the case of older bags, simply numbers) that identify the date and location the bag was manufactured. Date codes for hard-sided pieces; however, such as trunks or structured suitcases, typically include more than four digits. The letters in the date code correspond to the country in which the bag was made and the numbers correspond the date. Refer to the handy guide below to help you decipher what your bag’s date code means. This can be particularly helpful when considering purchasing a vintage or used Louis Vuitton bag.
Note that unlike brands such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton does not include (and has not historically included) authenticity cards with its handbags.
The presence of a date code does not guarantee a handbag’s authenticity, as counterfeiters are known to simply include date stamps in their fakes. At the same time, if your bag is missing a date code, don’t panic; the absence of a date code does not necessarily mean that the bag is not authentic. For example, date codes stamped on the alcantara fabric (a soft, microsuede-type material) used in lining some Louis Vuitton styles are known to fade, making them difficult to read, or disappear completely. This can happen with older purses, vintage purses, or ones that have had their linings cleaned.
Louis Vuitton presents a host of usual options for the context of how the code is presented. These tricks should help you to both locate, and partially authenticate your Louis Vuitton handbags.
- All date codes are typically located within the interior of a bag or small leather good.
- They are directly embossed into the fabric, or they can be embossed or printed—depending on the factory and model—on a rectangular leather tab sewn into an interior seam (this is the most common method).
- Some older models do have the date codes embossed on or somewhere near the handles (i.e. Sac d’Epaule).
- The leather used for the tab will also match the leather trim used for the bag itself. For example, a Monogram coated canvas bag will have a Vachetta tab, whereas a Damier Ebene coated canvas bag will have a brown PVC coated leather tab.
- Usually found inside inside a pocket, either located inside the bag or at the exterior of the bag, the tag will always be sewn into a seam.
- For embossed date codes, they will most likely either be found near the top edge of the bag or near the seam of an interior pocket. Also, for certain models, such as the Speedy, the date code can usually be found embossed on a riveted leather tab underneath the loose interior pocket.
- When printed in lieu of embossed, the method is usually foil stamping. Similar to embossing, the codes are pressed into the material, but with a sheet of colored foil while applying heat
Finally, it be sure to check to see if the country indicated by the two letter factory code (listed below) in your date code matches the “made in” country stamped on the bag. If, for example, your date code includes the letters BC (signifying Italy), yet the bag is stamped “Made in France”, it is a sign of a fake.
A0, A1, A2, AA, AAS (Special Order), AH, AN, AR, AS, BA, BJ, BU, CO, CT, CX, DR, DT, DU, ET, FL (also USA), LA (also USA), LM (also Spain), LW, MB, MI, ML, MM, NO, RA, RI, SA (also Italy), SD (also USA), SF, SK, SL, SN, SP, SR, TH, TJ, TN, TR, TS, TY, VI, VX
Italy:BC (also Spain), BO, CE, FH (also USA), FO, FP, MA, NZ, OB, PL, RC, RE, SA (also France), TB, TD
BC (also Italy), CA, LO, LB, LM (also France), LW, GI, UB
FC, FH (also Italy), FL (also France), LA (also France), OS, SD (also France), TX