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

,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? Or maybe other tips not mentioned here on how to tell if your vintage louis vuitton bag is fake? Leave them in the discussion section, below!

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

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
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63 thoughts on “10 Tips To Tell If A Vintage Louis Vuitton Bag Is Fake”

  1. I have a LV suppose to be a special edition bag it’s made In France and had a black leather tag with 5 numbers on it. It’s beautiful they said it was from 2002 it doesn’t have any letters on the tag

  2. The code I have seen is M41526 which I believe is the serial number back then for LV speedy 30. Is it legitimate code? The purse looks vintage with lots of patina on the handles. Thank you

  3. Hello.
    I have Lv speedy 30 . All the descriptions fit on my purse. But the code I have seen on one of the leather strip inside the purse says.M41526, and it is the only code i have seen. The purse looks vintage as there is a lot of patina on the handles. Thank you .

  4. Hi I have a I bought a LV bag at stage store but they were having a going outta business sale and everything sounds like genuine like in your descriptions but the tag saysLV. Keepall45 Bandoulii 1/2 re but before the 1/2 re it has a upside down ? And the number 191MQ332 it says estimated retail value 1880.00 then below 1395.00 but I only paid 735.00 with tax cause they were having a 50 percent going outta business sale I know u said LV bags never go on sale is this an exception in this case could this be real. The code inside is FL0092. Also it came with a card that says vintage pre/owned and a card that says this product is guarenteed 100% authentic . we pride ourselves in our rigorous authenticity protocol. We do not buy or sell reproductions. I found this kinda odd cause I didn’t know it was pre-owned until I got it home and seen these tags on the inside they didn’t have a sign stating that and I assumed since it was a department store it was real . it didn’t come with no box or dustbag. Plz help wish I could leave pictures how can I post pictures.?

  5. 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 ?

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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

    1. 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

    2. Heshmi Vijaymani

      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.

  9. 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?

    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

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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??

  15. 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

      1. 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

  16. Bobbie E May-Webb

    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

    1. 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!

  17. Maria Hainsworth

    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

  18. 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

    1. Elizabeth Barakat

      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

  19. 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?

  20. 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.

      1. 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.

  21. 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!!

  22. 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?

      1. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. Candy Tankersley

    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?

      1. Hello I have a louis vuttion bag and I was just wondering if it real or fake in the inside it has the M5331 and just want to know thank you and hope you can help.

    1. 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

      1. Hi i have a LV bag that my mother gave me 40 years ago as a gift from her trip in france. I was young and only wore it twice. I realised it might not be fake. She bought it as a gift i had no idea until i pulled it out now and noticed the writing in the bag as per attached. Its not your traditional LV bag. But was wondering if i attach photo could you let me know. Very much appreciate your time. Thank you . The colour is mauve. How can i attach the photo or send you a pic via email.

    2. My louis vuitton handbag doesn’t have a code nor is the zippers made like the ones on the picture I saw mine has leather peices on the zipper part

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