Fashion Vintage

10 Tips To Tell If Your Vintage Louis Vuitton Bag Is Fake

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,Love vintage bags? Here’s how to tell if your vintage Louis Vuitton bag is fake

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

If someone were to ask you to think of a fashion logo, what would come to mind? Very likely: the LV of Louis Vuitton. Indeed, this bag brand has remained popular for centuries. The French luxury company has been selling trunks and leather goods since 1854, and has gradually expanded into to ready-to-wear clothing, shoes, watches, jewellery, sunglasses and even books. But the label’s most popular product is undoubtedly handbags, and the rarer, the better.

However, collectors of vintage Vuitton should remain alert: there are plenty of fakes out there.

If you’re purchasing a bag online, for pre owned Louis Vuitton, you can trust certain vintage designer goods sites such as Vestiaire Collective, The Hut, or FarFetch, as they authenticate all items before listing them. Otherwise, you should request as many photographs as possible to check specific areas of the bag, such as the back, front, lining, date code, monogram, and the embossed “Louis Vuitton Made in …” stamp.

Demanding the details of where the bag was purchased can help you verify if it came from one of the 460 shops in the 50 countries where LV is present. The receipt might not be a guarantee, since if the bag can be copied, so can the receipt. Or sometimes, a real receipt can accompany a fake fashion accessory.

After selecting the LV style that’s perfect for you, use these 10 tips to tell if your vintage Louis Vuitton bag is fake – they will definitely help you sort the quality from the crap.

10 Tips To Tell If Your Vintage Louis Vuitton Bag Is Fake

1. Louis Vuitton Logo

The distinctive LV logo was created more than a century ago to try to combat the production of counterfeits (which were a problem, even way back then!). There is never any tilting of the logo, smudging or blurred edges; nor will the monogram ever be crossed with stitches, folds or locks.

All Louis Vuitton vintage bags (except for some very old ones) have the LV monogram on the leather canvas, which is symmetrical from side to side. It can be upside down, but only in some cases, such as the Speedy model. In that case, you should note that there’s one continuous piece of leather that wraps from the front to the backside, making the LV monogram appear upside down.

This means an original Louis Vuitton Speedy bag should have upside down LV monogram on the backside and no seam at the bottom. Don’t ever trust bags that have two pieces of leather stitched together.

2. Provenance

When you check the provenance of the bag, don’t fret if you see ‘Made in USA’ or another country that isn’t France: LV has produced bags that are made in Spain, USA, Italy, and Germany. Many are actually Made in China today.

3. Leather & Handles

The leather you’ll find used for vintage Louis Vuitton bags is a bit darker than the contemporary ones. Some genuinely authentic bags are also made using coated canvas – the trim, however, is leather. Feel it: the leather trim should be dry. If the touch gives you an oily or slippery sensation, you might be dealing with a fake.

Moreover, LV bags don’t come with trims wrapped with tissue, polyethene or soft paper – only the forged ones have those coverings this this to make sure the material doesn’t erode or fade away and the stitches don’t come off. Another giveaway is the shade of the handles: light leather handles tend to darken on the inside areas. If your vintage bag’s light handles are still light inside, it’s a probably a fake. A bit of wear indicates a real leather handle.

4. Lining & Stitching

Original Louis Vuitton linings are never, ever, dark brown. They range in the nuances from grey to alcantara. Original vintage bags won’t have suede linings, although there are sometimes cotton ones, depending on the model. Damier Ebiene Canvas bags are historically lined in red microfiber. If you’re considering a specific bag, do your research, as each one has a different, distinctive lining. Pay special attention to details that counterfeiters often overlook, such as checking whether a particular lining was actually used in the year a bag was produced.

Stitching is a job that LV performs to perfection, that means that all stitches will be perfectly straight and even. The number of stitches will not change. For example, on authentic Louis Vuitton Alma, Speedy and Neverfull bags there will be exactly five stitches across each of the tabs where the handles are secured – no more, no less. There should be no back-and-forth or zigzag stitching, and if there is, you are being scammed into a mediocre copy of a real Louis Vuitton bag.

5. Zipper & Hardware

Older Louis Vuitton vintage bags should have Talon or Eclair zipper pulls, not the LV pulls that are used today. Hardware in general on a real Louis Vuitton never looks thrifty or cheap. If it’s defective – or even worse, made out of plastic – the bag is, without shadow of a doubt, a fake. Don’t forget to check the LV logo stamp on the zipper pull: it should have a sharp and clear appearance. Most importantly, Louis Vuitton’s hardware is usually in brass, golden brass or silvery metal hues (with some exceptions that have matte finishings).  

6. Date Codes

The date code can determine the authenticity of your vintage bag. But bear in mind that not all handbags with date codes are authentic, and not all handbags without the code are fake. Most genuine Louis Vuitton bags should have a Date Code and a Serial Number, but not a model number.

The date code is composed of 6 characters: starting from the left, the first 2 characters are letters and the rest of the 4 characters are numbers. Louis Vuitton bags from the early 80s had three or four digits only; those made in the late 80s had 3-4 digits followed by two letters. Some vintage handbags have one letter followed by 5 digits.

Since the 90s, the date codes consisted of two letters followed by four numbers. The first two letters tell you the country where it is made and the numbers tell you the month and year it was manufactured. Since January 2007, Louis Vuitton has adopted another serial number reading system: instead of first and third digit being the month, it now means the week of the year the bag was made.

7. Stamp & Font

One of the most notable details in the Louis Vuitton stamp is the font it uses. It has a perfectly round and wide O, in Vuitton. The L has an especially short tail and the two Ts in Vuitton almost touch. The letter of the country in which the bag was made should be a capital letter.

tips to tell if your vintage louis vuitton bag is fake

8. Tags and cards

If your vintage bag has the original tags, make sure they come in a pair and that they are either ivory white with dark brown letter and black barcode. They are never yellow, nor do they have a plastic, round LV white tag the fakes sometimes have. One tag will say “Louis Vuitton” and the material it is made of. The other tag will have the model number, the correct French name of the bag, and the barcode.

9. The Dust Bag

Vintage bags most certainly will come in a 100% cotton flannel bag (up until 2004), with neatly finished seams. The LV embossed on it is very small and dark. If there is a hint of red, text or other squiggles – it’s forged.

10. Price

This is also a giveaway if the bag seems too much of a bargain. No Louis Vuitton comes cheap! Nor do the original boutiques of the French brand have sales, discounts or wholesale distributions. The cost of Louis Vuitton items is constant all year around, which is a reflection of their strong market value. In fact, you may well find that some rare LV vintage bags are more expensive than new ones.

Do you have any questions or comments? Leave them in the discussion section, below!

Images: 2nd: poshmark 4th: 1stdibs.com

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

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53 Comments

  • Reply
    Candy Tankersley
    Mar 19, 2018 at 2:47 am

    I have a Louis Vuitton bag it doesn’t have any numbers or letters it has all the right hardware but I’m not sure if it’s a real or fake how can I have it looked at to find out?

    • Reply
      Chere
      Mar 19, 2018 at 4:03 am

      Where are you based, Candy?

      • Reply
        Vivi
        Sep 20, 2019 at 3:02 am

        J ai acheter un sac speedy Louis vitton avec des chiffres comme code

    • Reply
      Kel
      Jan 19, 2020 at 10:31 am

      I have a noe noe bag but have receipt but only has numbers inside 2018

    • Reply
      Mirasol Julian
      May 14, 2020 at 6:17 pm

      we have the same prob

    • Reply
      Melissa Olson
      Jun 24, 2020 at 1:25 am

      I have a LV bag it had a gold lock clasp which you press and it unlocks, its black leather, has kind of a plastic material on the front with the monogram pattern and there’s no code or serial number anywhere on the bag please help me identify this bag

  • Reply
    Willie fung
    Apr 8, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Im ahaving trouble identifying my bag as well as the date stanp is vi 882 . Also i seems so old many thing looks different then my other lv product.

  • Reply
    deisy
    May 3, 2018 at 5:45 am

    I have a question how do i know if its real . The code is Fl2116 ??

  • Reply
    Marlyn Angsuco
    Aug 15, 2018 at 3:31 am

    My mother gave me lv chantilly she bought from a friend last 1985 and now she gave it to me as i can see it’s fake? is it possible at that time have a fake lv?

    • Reply
      Chere
      Aug 16, 2018 at 3:06 am

      I’m not sure about that, but it’s less likely to be a fake as the boom for counterfeits really took off from around the 90’s. You can probably rest easy! 😉

      • Reply
        Ann
        Oct 14, 2019 at 11:20 pm

        Mrs.Chere I have a Louis Vuitton and the code is GI 5106.Someone bought this bag for my b-day and not sure if it’s real.

        • Reply
          Chere
          Oct 15, 2019 at 6:59 pm

          Hi Ann! I recommend taking it to your local Louis Vuitton outlet to ask them there, as it’s hard to tell online. Good luck!

      • Reply
        Pablito Reyes
        Jun 20, 2020 at 8:26 pm

        Hi I bought my wife a speedy 30,10 years ago, she’s thinking that it wa fake, because it didn’t came with a box and it’s made in USA, and the stitches inside is not as clean as it should be , and didn’t came with authenticity card, but has a number inside which is SD1190.

  • Reply
    Robin Lippin
    Aug 18, 2018 at 8:46 am

    I have a vintage (prob from the 70s) travel/passport/credit card envelope shaped one. The inside is the same as the outside with the embossed LV design, same material. On the inside of the change purse, it have the rounded o’s, the t’s almost touching but the bottom of the L doesn’t look as short as some of the authentic ones. The F in France is not capitalized. The zipper only says eclair on both sides. I haven’t seen this model so far. It zips all around with a leather handle on top, for easy carrying and it’s flat. There is no other markings, except on the inside of the change purse. When you hold it with the handle, the LVs lay horizontally, not upside down or rightside up. Can this be real? Thank you so much in advance!!

    • Reply
      Chere
      Aug 19, 2018 at 3:45 am

      Hi there! It’s hard to say without seeing a pic. I’d recommend bring it to your nearest LV shop and asking them – either it’s a fake, or a rare gem!

  • Reply
    Whitney
    Oct 8, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    I have gotten a fur LV that was given to me after my Aunt passed. It does not have a datecode anywhere on it. The inside stamp looks to be authentic and the “F” in France is capitalized. It has a small key that is attached. Due to it being a fur purse it’s hard to find indication if it is real or a fake. My aunt was the known socialite and always had the nice of nice things. I am just trying to figure out if it is authentic.

    • Reply
      Chere
      Oct 8, 2018 at 6:58 pm

      It’s very likely authentic, Whitney! LV has produced several fur models over the decades

      • Reply
        Dina Leyao
        Jan 7, 2020 at 4:29 am

        Hi, I had purchased a second hand Louis Vuitton Saumur 35 from LXR and Co at Hudson Bay (Toronto) at 995 Can $ but Im not sure if it’s authentic. The ” f in made in france is in small letter, and the code inside is TA 8088 but the A is like inverted V as it doesn’t have that half line to look as capital A. The other LV is Louis Vuitton Batignolles Horizontal at 1195 plus tax, serial number DU0095. In this LV, the F in made in France is in capital letter.

        • Reply
          Chere
          Jan 7, 2020 at 6:30 am

          What year did you buy it?

  • Reply
    A Park
    Nov 9, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    Do all vintage LVs have heat stamps inside? I have two from the 70s/early 80s and I don’t see heat stamps in either. Could they still be real?

  • Reply
    Lucille
    Dec 3, 2018 at 1:06 am

    Mine doesn’t have a provenance should I be worried?

    • Reply
      Chere
      Dec 3, 2018 at 3:08 am

      Probably not, if it ticks all the other boxes. When in doubt, visit a LV store with your bag to check 😉

    • Reply
      Elizabeth Barakat
      May 11, 2020 at 6:08 am

      My Alma multicolor white has a tag FL0063. Does it mean it was made in Flotida 1963? It also has a tiny crack down near the end of the zip. Am wondering why?
      I am based in Dubsi
      My other LV has no tag but happy about it as all original descriptions you mentioned are there

  • Reply
    melodie
    Dec 4, 2018 at 9:35 am

    That’s not True for the Capital Letter, many vintage have france instead of France and they are authentic

  • Reply
    Vina F
    Dec 23, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    a cousin gave me an lv bucket bag .. its vintage its been with her mom for more than 20 years and i am going to get it restored but i have doubts it doesnt have a stamp and date code

  • Reply
    Maria Hainsworth
    Apr 9, 2019 at 1:33 am

    I just bought a Louis Vuitton Denim Baggy GM that came with storage bag, receipt and box. I’m not sure if it’s real. Some of brass is worn and I see silver !! I think it’s plated!!! Help!! Oh and the stars are not aligned perfectly under the side zipper

    • Reply
      Chere
      Apr 9, 2019 at 5:33 am

      Ohhh….that doesn’t sound good I’m afraid Maria! 🙁

  • Reply
    Bobbie E May-Webb
    Apr 9, 2019 at 11:28 pm

    Ok I have a clam shell I’ve been told by servel people it’s real there is no date code on it. 1 zipper pull is gone and no key to the lock it’s in used shape could it be good

    • Reply
      Chere
      Apr 9, 2019 at 11:52 pm

      Interesting! The unusual shapes may break the rules in the article…if it really is that rare and if it’s real, it is gonna be worth a fortune! Best to take it to your nearest LV store to verify it – and check its value!

  • Reply
    Tammy Cerdena
    May 28, 2019 at 11:47 pm

    Hi could you please tell me if this small LV is real. The code is M41534

    • Reply
      Chere
      May 29, 2019 at 12:14 am

      The code sounds right to me!

      • Reply
        Tammy Cerdena
        May 29, 2019 at 4:09 am

        Ms chere
        It’s a small little purse. How could I find out it’s value. It was given to my daughter years ago. It looks vintage. Was wondering if you might know value thank you so much for your time

        • Reply
          Chere
          May 29, 2019 at 8:19 pm

          Hi there! The best thing to do would be to take it to your local LV outlet 😉

  • Reply
    Tammy Cerdena
    May 29, 2019 at 4:07 am

    Ms chere
    It’s a small little purse. How could I find out it’s value. It was given to my daughter years ago. It looks vintage. Was wondering if you might know value thank you so much for your time

  • Reply
    Anna
    May 30, 2019 at 9:39 am

    I bought a vintage petit noe strap for my noe bb (this way I can wear it on the arm).
    I’m dying to know if it’s real!
    I can’t upload pictures I guess?
    It says made in france with a small letter.. and under the hardware buckle (to adjust lenght) is has a stamp: M m
    Does anyone know what that means??

  • Reply
    Jessica Warren
    Aug 12, 2019 at 3:42 am

    Hello! I recently purchased a very vintage Vuitton bag. The inside has only one marking- a capital R in a circle. The lining is a tan super soft/kid glove leather. Does anyone know of this marking on an LV bag. It’s likely at least 1970’s or older/ Thanks

  • Reply
    Anniemay
    Aug 23, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Hi
    I was given Louis Vuitton 50 sirus luggage bag
    I had it too Louis Vuitton in France too be fixed
    As I stupidly put it on the luggage belt @ Gatwick and they broke handle
    Anyway the fixed it
    If it was fake would if they fixed it for me
    It has
    No s
    8910 V l
    Is this date code correct
    I’ve been looking up stuff
    Iam not sure
    8910 indicates oct 89
    Please can you tell me
    It was passed on from my late auntie
    Kind regards

    • Reply
      Chere
      Aug 23, 2019 at 3:29 pm

      Hi Annie May! They would not have fixed it for you if it were fake

  • Reply
    Sandy Redmann
    Aug 26, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    I have a few Louis Vuitton that are not marked inside. They all have all look authentic from what I am reading with the exception of the codes not being there. How can I know?

    • Reply
      Chere
      Aug 26, 2019 at 11:19 pm

      Hi Sandy! Sounds authentic, but take it to your local LV shop to be sure 😉

      • Reply
        Sandy
        Sep 7, 2019 at 4:08 pm

        So they are ok with you bringing bags in to Authenticate?

        • Reply
          Chere
          Sep 8, 2019 at 6:20 am

          Yes, should be! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tintin
    Oct 30, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    I have a genuine vintage Louis Vuitton baseball cap.
    From Tijuana, Mexico! 😉
    I’d love to wear it in France, or even better to the LV store in Paris. But I think customs would shred it.
    No sense of humor.

  • Reply
    Two are from the 1970s I believe and I’m trying to make sure that they are real there’s no date code or anything inside but they both have Talon zippers. Is there anyway I can send you a picture?
    Nov 5, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Hi there! I was at And Estate Sale and picked up a few vintage handbags with LV being some of them. Two are from the 1970s I believe and I’m trying to make sure that they are real there’s no date code or anything inside but they both have Talon zippers

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    Dec 6, 2019 at 5:34 am

    Hi purchased a bag many many years ago from a woman-I took a chance hoping it’s authentic. She told me it’s a late 70’s French company purse that is authentic. I know nothing and just figured -heck, buy it -ya never know. Well I have tried really hard and can’t find a bag like mine. I am wondering if you have ever seen one like it? I don’t know how to upload a picture. It’s kinda a triangle shape on the sides-similar to a speedy, but definitely not one. The handles are different and it has 4 brass feet on the bottom. The inside is leather also, with a nice patina to it. The zipper says EMAR

    • Reply
      Chere
      Dec 6, 2019 at 6:20 pm

      It’s hard to say without a pic, but LV has made some uniquely shaped bags in the past. In fact, yours may be a rare collector’s item! You should take it to your local LV outlet to check

    • Reply
      Heshmi Vijaymani
      Jun 9, 2020 at 1:02 pm

      Hi there I’ve recently purchased an Lv mm looping from a deceased estate. There is no code inside. It’s a sturdy bag. However there is an outside zipper on the back of the bag and handle is pale in color. I’ve done lots of searches online but can’t see any similar bag with outside zipper. Everything else is consistent with a genuine LV.

  • Reply
    Gale
    Dec 20, 2019 at 5:49 am

    I have acquired a LV Manhattan bag but I’m having trouble authenticating it. It does look real and smells leathery and has the red on the handles. The date code is SR0021 and has the Louis Vitton tag made in France. The stitching is so neat and tidy and the interior of the bag is a cream suede.

    • Reply
      Chere
      Dec 20, 2019 at 7:52 am

      Sounds authentic to me!

  • Reply
    Richard Scales
    Jan 2, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    Hi… I have a keepall 50, the vintage version with the zipper tag that goes over a brass post which the padlock sits.

    Everything checks out in your guide but I don’t have a date stamp anywhere?

    • Reply
      Chere
      Jan 2, 2020 at 6:22 pm

      It still sounds legit!

  • Reply
    Kris Barnes
    Jan 19, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    I purchased a red epi style LV at the goodwill store for $4.00. Of course my first thought was a knock but hey it was in really good shape. I have checked online what to look for , the hardware is brass (rub it a lot to see if anything came off), the lettering on the tag are small with short L , round O’s, T’s look like there touching with Paris under Louis Vuitton under that it has made in France with capital F. The rivets cleanly read Louis Vuitton, snap reads Louis Vuitton, stitching is smooth, seams are smooth, found a code tag in center zipper pocket sewn into seam. FL0035 is code . Snap closure has Louis Vuitton also. So now I’m thinking it’s a real Louis. Is there anything else i can check ?

  • Reply
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