All authentic Louis Vuitton handbags since the early 1980's have date codes. Date codes are a series of numbers and letters that represent the date the bag was made and the factory where it was made. These date codes are all font specific. This means that they are all done in a font specific to Louis Vuitton. Many, if not all, of the fakes out there today have date codes... fake date codes. The best way to tell the difference between a real date code and a fake date code is to first check the font. This can be tricky. Counterfeiters are getting rich knocking off designer bags and some have the fonts almost exact...ALMOST. On a knockoff bag, even if the font "looks" right, there are other clear giveaways.. material including the lining, the hardware and the stitching just won't match up to the real thing.
If you're not experienced in Louis Vuitton, but you want to buy one for a good deal, then purchasing from a REPUTABLE consignment shop is the best choice. Many resale establishments posing as legitimate companies have popped up seemingly overnight. They will claim "authenticity guaranteed" when in fact their "authenticators" don't have the experience, skill or knowledge to authenticate designer labels. Furthermore, the people who run some of these companies have sketchy business practices to say the least. Don't let a fancy website fool you. Buyers are getting taken as well as sellers on these sites. Be cautious. Do your research and read reviews on these businesses beforehand.
If you don’t already know this....
• Authentic Louis Vuitton cannot be purchased NEW (unless resale and they were just never used by their original owner) anywhere other than Louis Vuitton boutiques or from select major department stores.
• Louis Vuitton DOES NOT EVER go on sale nor does Louis Vuitton ever hold sales or promotions.
• There are NO Louis Vuitton "outlets".
• There is NO SUCH THING as purchasing Louis Vuitton "wholesale".
• Authentic Louis Vuitton bags DO NOT have authenticity cards.
Here is a quick reference guide to Louis Vuitton date codes.
Early 1980's: Three numbers with the first two numbers representing the year and the last number(s) representing the month. For instance, the date code of a bag made in May of 1982 would read "825".
Early to late 1980's: Three numbers followed by two letters. The first two numbers indicate the year and the last number indicates the month. The two letters indicate the factory where the bag was made. So, a bag made in France in May of 1989 would have a date code with the letters for the French factory (see factory codes chart) and the numbers "895" (two letters for the factory will follow this number). A bag from the 1980’s can also have a date code in the from of four numbers followed by two letters. In this case, the first two numbers are the year and the last two numbers are the month of the year. For example, a date code that reads 8901 V.I. means the bag was produced in January (01) of 1989.
1990 - 2006: Two letters followed with four numbers. The letters represent the factory, the first and third numbers represent the month and the second and fourth number represents the year. So, a bag made in France in December of 2004 would have a date code that looks like this DU1024.
2007 and on: Two letters followed by four numbers. The letters indicate the factory. The first and third numbers indicate the week of the year and the second and fourth numbers indicate year. So, a bag produced in the U.S.A. on the 20th. week of 2010 would have a date code of FL2100.
If a lining was replaced on a bag there will be no date code. On some bags, especially older ones with cross-grain leather lining, the date code may be rubbed and difficult to see and read. On bags with alcantara lining, the date codes can also be difficult to see but they will be there.
Date Code embossed in the alcantara lining of a Louis Vuitton handbag
Date Code embossed in the cross-grain leather lining of a Louis Vuitton handbag.
Date Code embossed on a leather tag sewn to the lining of a Louis Vuitton handbag.