Expert guide: How to check if a Louis Vuitton bag is genuine

There’s a certain allure to owning a Louis Vuitton-bag.. It’s the epitome of luxury, a symbol of status and timeless fashion. 

However, the extensive amount of counterfeit bags being sold can turn this dream into a nightmare. 

Fear not, this guide on “how to check if a Louis Vuitton bag is real” is your handy guide showing you exactly how to ensure that your bag is authentic.

Key Takeaways from this guide:

Guide to authentication of Louis Vuitton

Tips for safe designer bag shopping

Industry expert tips and tricks

Essential Authentication Factors

Several key factors must be considered when determining the authenticity of a Louis Vuitton bag. These factors are like pieces of a puzzle that, when put together, paint a picture of authenticity. They include:

  • The monogram
  • Stitching
  • Material
  • Hardware
  • Stamped date code

Each one is a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship that Louis Vuitton is famous for, especially in their Louis Vuitton handbags.

However, counterfeit bags can be deceivingly similar to the real ones. Hence, a detailed understanding of these factors is necessary. 

For instance, the LV monogram canvas and the Damier canvas are distinctive styles that Louis Vuitton has perfected over the years. The consistency of these patterns is therefore a critical factor in authentication.

A louis vuitton vintage bag

Monogram and Pattern Consistency

Monogram and pattern consistency serve as unique and precise identifiers, much like the fingerprints of a Louis Vuitton bag. 

The print on a genuine Louis Vuitton Paris bag should be a symmetrical mirror image extending across the entire surface. The pattern should appear straight and not at an angle or irregular. Any deviations from this could be a red flag.

The devil is indeed in the details. The Damier canvas, for instance, is available in Damier Ebene, Damier Azur, and additional colors like graphite. 

A keen eye can differentiate between real and fake Louis Vuitton bags by examining the precision and consistency of these patterns.

Closeup comparison of Louis vuitton monogram
Image from CollectorsCage

Stitching Quality and Precision

Authenticity is also reflected in the stitching of a Louis Vuitton bag. Genuine Louis Vuitton bags feature mostly hand-stitched, slightly angled stitches, indicative of the absence of machine production. 

Conversely, uneven or straight stitches may suggest the presence of a counterfeit product. However be aware, that some models have partly machine-sewn stitches.

To further demonstrate the brand’s commitment to quality, authentic Louis Vuitton bags utilize white linen thread, which is subsequently dyed yellow and strengthened with beeswax, for stitching. 

This creates a distinct mustard-yellow stitching, providing durability and weather resistance. Counterfeit bags, on the other hand, often use brighter, synthetic yellow or orange threads, serving as a clear indicator of their inauthenticity.

Comparison of Louis Vuitton real fake stitching

Material and Texture

Fake manufacturers usually use lower-quality materials, which compared to the high quality of the genuine models feels way less luxurious. 

The Neverfull Tote by LV, for instance, is crafted from a soft and luxurious natural cowhide that bears the brand’s logo. An easy way to sort a lot of replica bags out is to test whether the leather used is real. Leather can be tested in many ways - e.g. real leather has a distinct smell and can absorb water, which most fake leathers can't.

The famous Vernis Leather used by Louis Vuitton is another unique material. This type of bag has been coated with a glossy patent layer. 

Here we usually see that replicas tend to be very off in the way that the sun reflects off the glossy surface. The Vernis leather should not be too shiny, and from what I have seen from checking hundreds of models, the material should most of the time become more yellow over time

So if you are dealing with a vintage model, you should be cautious if there is no yellowing at all in the material.

Comparing fake and real LV bag

Hardware Details

Hardware details on a Louis Vuitton bag can be likened to its jewelry. They not only add to its beauty but also signify the bag’s authenticity and value. 

Authentic Louis Vuitton hardware is crafted from high-quality metal and features distinct engravings. Counterfeit bags, on the other hand, may have inexpensive or inaccurate hardware, which can diminish their quality and longevity.

Louis Vuitton hardware predominantly consists of refined brass and is frequently coated with base metal to achieve a luxurious appearance. Gold-colored plating is used to create a premium aesthetic, showcasing the brand’s dedication to quality. 

By examining the connecting elements, such as D-rings on handles and zippers, you can distinguish genuine Louis Vuitton hardware from counterfeit ones.

We often see that the vintage models will oxidize over time, so if you see some green coloring around some of the buttons, this is completely normal.

Also fading on zippers and darkening of the padlocks, is something we commonly see, which is the cause of years of patina and wear from usage. 

On vintage models, one should almost be more careful trusting the authenticity in the case of no wear on commonly used hardware such as the above mentioned.

Fake and real Louis Vuitton hardware zipper

Date Codes and Production Information

A Louis Vuitton bag’s date code serves a similar purpose to a birth certificate. It provides crucial information about the production location and date, playing a vital role in confirming the bag’s authenticity.

A common misbelief we see on forums, is that people believe that date codes are unique, or serve as some sort of serial number, however this is not true. 

The date codes gives the customer knowledge about the time and place the bag was made, and of course, multiple bags are created in the same timespan at the same factory.

The date code on an authentic Louis Vuitton bag should include two letters followed by a 4-digit number. The letters represent the factory location where the bag was made and the numbers indicate the week and year of production.

A real Louis Vuitton bag without a date code or with an incorrect one can be a clear sign of inauthenticity.

One should also compare the year found on the date code, to the patina of the bag, and assess whether the bag's condition is realistic taking into account how old it is.

Be aware that in March 2021, LV started using chips instead of stamped codes, which many fake bags don't use yet.

To check the chips, you will need to install an NFC reader app on your phone, which supports NFC reading, and hold your phone onto the chip. 

The location of the chip varies depending on the model, we suggest doing research online to find the exact location where a chip should be present on your model.

Fake Vs Real Louis Vuitton date code

Decoding Date Codes

Decoding the date codes on a Louis Vuitton bag can feel like deciphering a secret code. Grasping this code, however, is critical for bag authentication. 

Louis Vuitton has utilized various styles of date codes over the years, which typically consist of letters and numbers. The letters denote the country of manufacturing, while the numbers indicate the year and month of production.

The date stamp on a Louis Vuitton bag can provide valuable information about its manufacturing date and location.

Here’s how to read the date stamp of the most commonly used date code format (this is the format used in 2007 and up to the time of writing this guide:

  • The initial digit represents the manufacturing week of the year.
  • The third digit also represents the manufacturing week of the year.
  • The second digit represents the year of production.
  • The fourth digit also represents the year of production.

By understanding how to read these codes, you can know exactly when and where your bag was made, further confirming its authenticity.

Louis Vuitton date code decode

Note: To our knowledge Louis Vuitton has used at least 4 different date code formats.

  • Pre-1982: No date codes used by Louis Vuitton.
  • 1982 – Mid-1980s: Introduction of 3-4 digit codes. The first two digits indicate the year, and the next 1-2 digits the month.
  • Mid – Late 1980s: Added letters for the factory location. The year is the first two digits, the month is the last 1-2 digits, followed by the country code.
  • 1990 – 2006: The code format changed; country code is now at the start. First and third numbers for the month, and second and fourth for the year.
  • 2007 – present: The date code system shifted to a week-based system. After the country code, the first and third numbers indicate the week and the second and fourth the year.
Louis Vuitton date code decode new models

Location of Date Codes

Not only decoding but also locating the date codes in a Louis Vuitton bag is significant. Louis Vuitton’s date codes can occasionally be found directly embossed near the top edge of the bag or the seam of an interior pocket. 

However, the exact location can vary depending on the specific style of the bag.

For example, the date codes on Louis Vuitton Speedy bags are either on the lining or a leather tab within the bag’s interior pocket.

In our years of authenticating 1000's of designer bags, we have often spent a long time finding the date codes, on models that we are checking for the first time. 

This is because, on the vintage models, the date code can be hidden well, and faded which makes it hard to see at first.

If you don't see the date code at first, be sure to double-check to ensure that you checked everywhere.

A quick tip that we use at CollectorsCage is to Google the name of the style followed by "date code" on Google Images, to find pictures of where other people find the date code, and to give you a hint on what to look for. An example of a search could be "LV Speedy Bag Date code".

If you are certain that there is no date code, and the bag is not from before 1982, or is so new that it has a chip instead, you could be dealing with a fake bag.

Louis Vuitton printed and stamped date code

Logo and Stamping Examination

Another vital step in establishing a bag’s authenticity is examining its logo and stamping. The font style, size, and position of the logo and stamping can provide vital clues about the bag’s authenticity.

The font style should be thin and sharp, the ‘L’ should have a short base, the ‘Os’ should be big and round, and the two ‘Ts’ should touch or be very close together, presenting a bulky and substantial character appearance. 

Also, an observable gap between the ‘L’ and ‘O’, and the ® symbol not being symmetrical and accurately positioned between the V and U in ‘Vuitton’ are signs that the bag may be counterfeit.

Vintage louis vuitton hand bag

Font Style and Size

Authenticity is further affirmed by the specific font style and size used in Louis Vuitton bags. The font style specifically utilized in genuine Louis Vuitton bags is a style of Futura and Austin Roman. Any deviations from this font style could be a red flag.

The ‘L’ has a short base, the ‘Os’ are big and round (not oval!), and the two ‘Ts’ are very close to each other. 

These are the typical attributes of the font style on an authentic Louis Vuitton bag. Any inconsistencies in these characteristics might suggest that the bag is counterfeit.

Louis Vuitton font fake vs real comparison

Stamping Position

Authenticity is also indicated by the position of stamping on a Louis Vuitton bag. The trademark LV logo stamps on authentic LV bags are consistently positioned throughout all handbags and accessories, displaying crisp and neatly aligned stamps with well-spaced lettering that is easily legible.

However, misplaced or misaligned stamping, especially if coupled with loose threads, uneven stitches, or asymmetrical stamps around the label, can serve as indicators of a fake Louis Vuitton bag. 

By carefully examining the stamping position, you can avoid getting fooled by counterfeit bags.

Louis Vuitton baggy denim bag
Image from CollectorsCage

Handle and Strap Inspection

Crucial insights into a bag’s authenticity can be gained by examining its handles and straps. 

The handles of genuine LV handbags are initially a very pale, beige color. Over time, they develop a patina, a natural darkening of the leather due to regular use, exposure to sunlight, and the natural oils from the hands.

In the above paragraph, we taught you how to identify the date code, and decode what year the bag was from. Here you should compare the patina on the handles and straps, and assess whether the condition is realistic considering the age of the bag.

Additionally, the stitching on the handles and straps of an authentic Louis Vuitton bag is precise and durable, with no loose threads or sloppy craftsmanship. 

On the contrary, counterfeit bags often exhibit uneven stitching and loose threads, which are clear signs of inauthenticity.

Louis Vuitton real vs fake handle comparison

Material and Patina

The journey of a Louis Vuitton bag is recorded, akin to a diary, in the material used for its handles and straps and the patina they develop over time. 

Genuine Louis Vuitton bags are crafted using cowhide leather, which is characterized by a distinct, well-defined color glazing.

This leather naturally darkens over time, developing a patina that serves as evidence of its authenticity. It generally takes approximately a year of consistent use for a genuine LV bag to develop this distinctive patina. 

Counterfeit bags, on the other hand, may use synthetic materials that, despite resembling the texture of cowhide, do not develop a patina in the same way.

Counterfeit versions, often aren't using real leather, which causes it to be less exposed to raindrop stains. So you should expect authentic vintage bags, to have some slight water stains or atleast a light tan on the leather parts.

Comparison of patina on real vs fake Louis Vuitton bag

Stitching and Trim

The authenticity of a Louis Vuitton bag is further attested to by the stitching and trim on its handles and straps. 

Genuine Louis Vuitton bags feature precise stitching and trim, distinguishing them from counterfeit bags which may exhibit sloppy or incorrect stitching and trim.

The stitching should be hand-stitched with a slight angle to each stitch, displaying high-quality, even, and flawless characteristics, with consistent and precise stitching throughout the bag. 

The trim on a genuine Louis Vuitton bag is crafted from high-quality leather that complements the overall design.

Louis Vuitton Keepall travel bag

Lining and Interior Details

Critical insights into a bag’s authenticity can also be drawn from its lining and interior details. Genuine Louis Vuitton bags commonly utilize brown cotton textiles. 

The quality of the interior is luxurious, and often the fake manufacturers don't prioritize high-quality materials on the inside lining.

In addition to the lining material, the color of the lining also serves as a crucial indicator of authenticity. For example, authentic Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene bags feature a red lining, whereas fake copies sometimes use other colors. 

The inside linings of authentic LV bags can be many colors, so do your research about which lining color should be in your specific model.

Lining Material and Color

The unique and precise lining material and color used in Louis Vuitton bags can come in many styles, depending on what model you have. 

We suggest looking at historic photos online, to see what color your lining should be, and assess whether it matches the same shade as yours.

Louis Vuitton Lining real vs fake comparing

Pockets and Compartments

Pockets and compartments within a Louis Vuitton bag, like secret compartments, are each purposefully designed. 

The standard pocket and compartment designs in authentic Louis Vuitton bags may vary based on the particular style and collection. 

They often include multiple compartments, such as zippered pockets, slip pockets, and interior pockets, to facilitate organization and storage.

However, counterfeit bags/ fake bags may exhibit uneven patterns and inconsistent stitching within the pockets and compartments. 

By closely examining the pockets and compartments, you can avoid getting fooled by these counterfeit bags.

CollectorsCage wall of designer bags

Tips for Safe Shopping

Shopping at official Louis Vuitton stores or trusted resellers is vital to ensuring the purchase of an authentic Louis Vuitton bag. 

Louis Vuitton does not offer sales or discounts on its bags, so if you come across a New LV bag being sold at a discounted price, it’s likely to be a counterfeit product.

Reputable Retailers

The guarantee of purchasing an authentic bag comes with shopping at authorized Louis Vuitton retailers or trusted resellers. 

Moreover, diligently researching and comparing reviews of the reseller you are shopping from is crucial, to ensure that the seller has a good track record of selling only authentic bags.

At CollectorsCage we always offer a lifetime authenticity guarantee on every product that we sell.

Shop our selection of Louis Vuitton here:

An insider trick to have Louis Vuitton check your bag

Unfortunately, Louis Vuitton usually does not offer to check second-hand bags for authenticity, however, there is a little trick that some use to ensure the authenticity of their bags. 

Louis Vuitton has great repair service, but they will only repair authentic bags.

Using this knowledge, some people have handed in their bags for a minor repair, such as replacing a zipper or a button, just to see if the repair center will accept or refuse their items.

Depending on the outcome, they will know if the bag is approved by LV themselves.

Louis Vuitton Pochette handbag

Research and Price Comparison

One can avoid buying counterfeit products by thoroughly researching and comparing prices before purchasing a Louis Vuitton bag.

Essential factors to take into account when comparing prices include:

  • The bag’s condition
  • Style
  • Popularity
  • Demand
  • Rarity

By understanding these factors, you can ensure that you’re getting a reasonable price for a genuine Louis Vuitton bag. If the offer is too good to be true, be extra careful buying a bag.

Louis Vuitton travel bags


We’ve journeyed through the intricate world of Louis Vuitton authentication, learning to scrutinize every detail from monogram patterns to date codes, stitching quality, lining material, and even the patina on the handles.

The knowledge we’ve shared is your most potent weapon against the counterfeit market. 

So, the next time you set out to purchase a Louis Vuitton bag, remember, it’s not just about owning a luxury product, but a piece of art, a testament to the meticulous craftsmanship and timeless design that is Louis Vuitton.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I check the LV bags by serial number?

No, Louis Vuitton handbags do not have serial numbers; instead, they have "date codes" stamped on interior tags or directly on the interior linings. Therefore, you cannot check an LV bag by its serial number. However, we suggest checking the date code, in your process of authenticating your bag.

What if my Louis Vuitton has no date code?

If your Louis Vuitton has no date code, don't panic. The absence of a date code does not necessarily mean that the bag is not authentic, as new LV products now have microchips instead of date codes. However, all bags between 1982 and 2021 should have a stamped date code somewhere.

What does a Louis Vuitton date code look like?

The date code can be embossed in the material, sewn on using a small leather patch, or sewn inside the bag using a chip.

Are all Louis Vuitton bags red inside?

Louis Vuitton bags use various linings, including red or honey canvas, brown cotton, and red microfiber, depending on the collection and style. It's important to research specific bags, as there are exceptions to these general linings.

Do Louis Vuitton bags go on sale?

New Louis Vuitton bags do not go on sale. If you see one being offered at a discounted price, it's likely a counterfeit. However second-hand resellers, can of course do sales - while still selling real louis vuitton bags.

Matilde Stadager Luxury bag expert and writer

Meet the Author

Matilde Stadager - Luxury Bag Expert & Writer 

Matilde Stadager is an expert in the world of high-end and fashion bags. With a great sense of the current trends, she has been a shopping advisor for clients of Collectors Cage for years. Her many years of experience includes doing authentication of products & sourcing designer bags. Matilde knows a lot about the history of the different fashion houses, and bag models. In her writings she shares all her experience with the readers.

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