***Note: The photos in this post feature a real CHANEL Boy Bag on the left in all shots and a fake on the right
Chanel bags top many a lust list and are truly a luxury item. They are also some of the priciest designer bags on the market with price increases occurring every few months. The retail price of a classic flap bag has increased by 70% in the last 6 years. From beautiful materials to impeccable construction, a Chanel bag is worthy of its investment. Since many of Chanel’s bag styles sell out quite quickly and wait lists do not always guarantee you your dream bag, many people turn to re-sale sites to scoop up their dream bag. The purchase of pre-owned or vintage designer handbags brings with it the need for consumers to be vigilant about what they are purchasing.
For those considering purchasing a used Chanel bag, here are the important features to look for in terms of authentication:
Chanel started using date codes in 1984. Since then, every bag comes with a sticker containing a serial number as well as a corresponding authenticity card. Date code stickers can usually be found on the inside lining and will vary depending on the year the bag was made. Date codes on newer bags will have a clear sticker with gold speckles placed over the number. Authenticity cards have a gold border. The border of a fake card can be unevenly placed on the card and have a holographic / rainbow reflection. Some authenticity cards will have a white circle in the top right hand corner. This indicates that the bag was made after 2005.
Over time, date code stickers can become detached from the bag and authenticity cards can be lost, so don’t worry if either are missing.
In terms of the actual serial number, there are a few important things to note: The first number of a date code will indicate which year the bag was made in starting in 1984 with 0. Date codes starting with single digit number are seven digits long while date codes starting at 10 and up are eight digits long. A nine-digit serial number is a clear indication of a fake.
See our Chanel Date Code Guide for more details and to find the year of your coveted preloved Chanel.
Chanel “MADE IN” Stamp:
Chanel “made in” stamps are usually embossed directly into the lining of the bag or on a leather patch. The colour of the logo stamp will always match the colour of the hardware, so a bag with gold hardware should have a gold stamp.
Chanel bags are made in either Italy or France. Watch out for stamps that read “made in Paris.”
Lettering in Chanel stamps is always clean and sharp. Beware of crooked or messy logos with blurred fonts and uneven spacing.
The CC logo is the most recognizable symbol of the brand, and thus good counterfeiters rarely make a mistake with it. However, always make sure that the right C overlaps the left at the top of the logo, and the left C overlaps the right at the bottom.
A good indication that your bag is fake is the type of screws used on the back of the turn lock. For example, a real Boy Bag will never use a Phillips head screw (like on this fake.) Chanel typical uses Allen screws (like this real Boy bag) or flathead screws.
Chanel uses a very high stitch count in their classic diamond quilt which allows the bags to last for years. A low stitch count on a fake will make the quilting look puffy and uneven. Also be aware of sloppy or frayed stitching.
Chanel used 24k gold plating on their hardware up until 2008. Hardware on a real Chanel bag will feel heavier and more substantial than on a fake.
Chanel uses several different brands for their zippers whose names will be marked on the zipper pull, the most popular being Lampo but also include: YKK, EP, and zippers with the Chanel logo printed on them.
If it seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Remember that an authentic bag will always be made from the highest quality leather and materials. If you are buying used luxury bags from a reputable seller, you should have nothing to worry about. Don’t be shy to ask for additional photos or even receipts if they can get a hold of them and use an authentication service. If you'd like a professional authentication, try our new handbag authentication service which comes with a guaranteed certificate or a letter of evidence to explain points of inconsistency.
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