Handbags authentication techniques should never be a myth!
Thank you for stopping by. I mean it. I understand how frustrated you might be searching for factual, concrete and useful information on this topic. I, myself too, once was mystified by the experts, always found myself ended up with more confusions with their notes and claims. Things ought not to be this. Authentication is and should be by nature aligns with the quality control procedure. Authentication instruction should be precise and yield accurate results with no room for ambiguity. This the what I aim to bring to you through these blogs.
In March 2020 on Instagram, I made a series of posts with a title: "5 minutes to authenticate a preloved Chanel bag like a Pro". Here is a Part 1 re-edition aiming to get fuller content.
The Preloved Chanel market is flourishing; the challenge to many first-time and causal buyers, is to avoid falling victim to getting a counterfeit. I have never come across a fake that the seller would admit it or price it out cheap. Since running a business here for 12 months, we have already received dozens of inquiries on making a discernment on fakes. In two accounts, the person paid but only realized that the thousands of dollars spent item was a fake upon delivery. It was a very messy and agonizing experience for the buyer.
The skill and knowledge to authenticate Chanel bags is not a mystery and should never be. The techniques I covered here are not my invention, and I do not hold any authenticity. They are discussions and claims I found on the internet; I did my best to validate then re-organized them into articles.
Fret not. It is not about feeling for the caviar's right grain size or the correct plumpness of the lambskin. Those are way too abstract. My articles cover some objective methodologies, when employed accordingly, that should lead to the same repetitive results. I am confident that anyone will able to master the skill after reading.
Without further delay, Let's jump into it.
Get yourself a UV flashlight
First of all, you need a UV flashlight. DIY videos are plenty on the internet; the one I like the most is converting the cell phone in a minute with some clear tapes, red and blue markers. It is low cost and simple on both set-up and removal. Or, if you prefer, like for myself, I bought a UV flashlight from the local hardware store. The one on the picture cost me about 10$ years back.
Let's wind back a little. In case you have NOT been appropriately informed, inside each Chanel handbag, there is a sticker label with a unique serial number printed on it. Make it a habit that ALWAYS before anything, ask the seller to send you the sticker label photo.
I came across a couple of times bags about 3-4 years old, minty condition and the seller claimed the label fell off and was gone. That is always a big red flag. Personal opinion strongly recommends walking away. Chanel does not do a lousy, sloppy job; this sticker can remain glued to the bag after decades, even with the corners curled up and broken.
When you decide and finally meet up with the seller, always ask for permission before going all in "plowing" the bag. The location of the sticker varies from model to model. In some models, it is not easy to access. Like the long flap wallet, the label is at the top corner of the front slit pocket's wall. You will need to pull it wide open to read the serial number. So, it is of courtesy and self-protection that you should never touch the bag without permission. For one, the seller might prefer to do the job for you, and second, you won't want to be accused of breaking the bag. Besides, do best to have with you a pair of clean white gloves for the inspection.
Once you get hold of the label, put it under the UV light, it will reveal a vertical line in red.
You can trace this single red line feature to bags made from 2000 on with the serial number of 7 digits starting from 6XXXXX.
For bags made between 1994 and 2000, the sticker was made differently. Under UV light, it is an opaque rectangle in the center of the label, which happens to be where the serial number prints locate. It is not clear if that was an intended effect or merely a substrate layer for printing purposes.
For bags made before 1994, we do not have a sample on hand, and we have no information in that regard.
Never underestimate this little feature. For some unknown reasons, still, plenty of people do not know about it. That turns out unexpectedly an advantage for buyers: Fake bag factories have ignored to put on the feature in their products. So, consider it as your first line of defense against counterfeit.
Being that said, I am not suggesting the redline as a piece of single evidence for identifying authentic Chanel bags. Some labels reveal only a faint or smear line of red. It could be different reasons, but it is not part of the discussion here. (Or simply put, I don't have a clue!) In cases where there is no redline, avoid jumping to conclusions. You don't want an unnecessary upset seller nor to miss a chance for a possible good bargain deal.
It is not common to find 20 years+ bags in the market circulation other than a low number of collectable vintage items. I see the risk of getting fakes from the made before the year 2000 is slim but still be cautious. Recently I noticed a surge of listings on an identical vintage model from multiple sellers in different countries: Same model, material and colour, store fresh new condition plus very decent original package. Since I heard of no news on any back stock released (I wonder if there was ever any with Chanel), the entire affair looked oddly suspicious.
Want to see how good you can detect a fake Chanel?
I prepare a test for you
PS: We welcome you to share the material, please just can make reference back to Planet Deluxe. Thank you.
About the author: Fashion idiot, some kind of technical trained professional, has been work stationed in Asia for years, humbly facilitated manufacturers spanning across diverse industries with some eye-opening encounters.
About Planet Deluxe: We run a consignment store in Montreal, Quebec Canada specialize in authentic Chanel bags and other designer brands.