Louis Vuitton handbags are beautiful (and expensive!) and some of the most replicated bags out there. So how do you know your bag is authentic? Well, there are a few things that are a dead giveaway: stitching color/quality, monogram imperfections, bright red embossing on handles or leather edges (this one is fairly common and oh so easy to spot… pay attention, guys!), and the ever famous date code. I’ll be talking about date codes and how to spot the real deal in this post. There are many great sites dedicated to authenticating LV bag authenticity using the date code. All of the info in this post comes straight from CoutureUSA and their detailed info on date codes in their A Quick Guide to Authentic Louis Vuitton Date Codes.
No Date Code? May Be an Authentic VINTAGE LV Bag!
Louis Vuitton bags did not have date codes prior to 1982. This makes it very difficult to authenticate older vintage bag.
Three to Four Digit Date Codes
Three to four digit date codes were used between 1982 to the mid 1980s. The first two digits indicates the year while the last digit(s) indicate the the month the bag was made.
This date code represents a bag made in March of 1985.
Three to Four Digits and Two Letters
The mid to late 1980s saw a change in the Louis Vuitton date code to mark the location of factories of manufacturing. Like the previous date codes, the first two numbers indicate the year and the next one to two numbers indicate the month of manufacturing. The two letters represent the manufacturing location.
This date code marks a bag manufactured in April 1987 in France.
There are several factory codes that could be used on Louis Vuitton items for factories located in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, United States of America, and there is also a code for Re-Line Items (DK).
Louis Vuitton Date Code Factory Abbreviations
Some bags, like my Alma, have the manufacturing location stamped outside the bag as well. This is a great way to authenticate your bag if your model uses an outer stamp as well.
In this case, the bag was manufactured in France (VI) and the outer stamp matches the manufacturing location in the date code stamp.
Two Letters Followed by Four Digits
The date code changed the numbering system to two letters representing the factory followed by the date between early 1990 and 2006. The date portion of the code was also rearranged with the first and third number representing the date and second and fourth numbers representing the year.
The date code in my Alma pictured above displays a factory location of France (VI) and a bag manufactured in May 1997.
Two Letters Followed by Four Digits (Revised)
Although the date codes appear in the same format beginning in 2007, the date portion of the system was revised. The month the item was manufactured changed to the week an item was manufactured, but still appears in the first and third position of the date portion of the date code.
This date code displays a bag made in France the 20th week of 2015.
And there you have it! Happy LV Bag shopping 😉