General Counterfeit Detection Education For All Luxury Handbags

Authentication Institute of America has created a brand cheatsheet for you to download below. This quick reference guide below allows you to determine when  Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermes items were manufactured (if the Date Code/Serial Sticker is present),

Please click on the image below to save as your desktop image or print out for your reference.

The first thing to know is that everything is counterfeited and the retail price point is irrelevant so don’t assume that everything you see is authentic. Starting with a general counterfeit education for each luxury brand, this is a great place to start when learning the differences between counterfeit and authentic handbags and accessories.

Counterfeit Chanel Perfume Set. There are no regulations in the manufacturing of counterfeits so you have zero idea as to what chemicals are being used in the manufacturing of counterfeit perfume.

Price points do not matter as you can see from these Adidas Original Duffel bag which retails here in the US for around $70.

Everything in this image is fake. From the receipt to the box and the bag, everything can and will be counterfeited.

One of the biggest red flags are the “additions” that counterfeiters add like the green tag handing from this fake Prada bag. Hint, the brand has never manufactured that tag.

Did the brand ever come out with that packaging? Even overseas which is how counterfeits will con you.

No matter how good it looks, that Louis Vuitton card was never produced by the brand.

As tempting as it looks, this full set from Chanel with a black caviar flap is all counterfeit.

Counterfeiters just love taking pictures in from of walls that have picture frame molding! Beware when you see items with this background.

Counterfeit Detection for Louis Vuitton Handbags

Louis Vuitton is the most counterfeited brand in the secondary market and below are basic counterfeit images that should be a red flag when shopping in the secondary market.

Updates as of January 15, 2023, the below are the manufacturing facility codes for Louis Vuitton. As they moved to RFID in 2022, date codes should not be present on handbags and small leather goods manufactured after that year.

France: A0, A1, A2, AA, AAS, AH, AN, AR, AS, BA, BC, BE, BJ, BO, BU, CO, CT, CX, DK, DR, DT, DU, ET, FL, LA, LM, LU, LW, LY, MB, MI, ML, MM, MS, NO, RA, RI, SA, SD, SF, SK, SL, SN, SP, SR, TA, TH, TJ, TN, TR, TS, TY, VI, V.I., VM, VT, VX

Germany: LP, OL

Italy: AK, BC, BM, BO, CE, CX, DI, FA, FF, FH, FK, FN, FO, FP, FW, FX, FY, FZ, IK, LE, MA, NZ, OB, PL, RC, RE, SA, SC, TB, TD, US, VL

Spain: AC, BC, BP, CA, CY, GI, JG, JJ, LB, LM, LO, LW, UB

Switzerland: DI, FA


Relined items from Louis Vuitton may have a Date Code that starts with DK. This is usually found on older items like Buckets.

Counterfeit Louis Vuitton Images

On a Louis Vuitton Heat Stamp, the registered trademark symbol should not be larger than the O in Louis and take note of the R in Paris. The leg should come from the back of the R not the front.

When. Louis Vuitton Date Code is stamped onto a piece of leather, the tab will not be rounded at the corners. You also want to make sure it’s a valid factory code.

While a Louis Vuitton Date Code may be present, confirm that the font was actually used by the brand. The manufacturing facility that AA represents (France) is no longer in operation and they never used this font.

Louis Vuitton does not use this format nor place date codes on a leather tab shaped like this. When placed on Vachetta leather, it should be a rectangle shape, sewn into the seam.

Counterfeiters will place the most emphasis on the exterior of a bag but the interior will always leave clues. The inferior materials along with below average craftsmanship shows that this is an item that was never produced by the Louis Vuitton brand.

Formatting is everything on a Louis Vuitton date code and this three letter and three number date code has never been produced by the brand.

The Louis Vuitton brand has never never produced this stamp in this or any other font.

Another counterfeit interior heat stamp that was never produced by Louis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton hardware should be stamped clean and not flat and misshapen like this rivet on a counterfeit handbag.

This counterfeit Louis Vuitton Heat Stamp is not consistent with authentic heat stamps. The font is not correct nor the spacing gf the letters.

On this counterfeit Louis Vuitton Pochette, the date code font, shape and trim is not consistent with authentic of the same style.

This Louis Vuitton date code’s font is not only incorrect but way too large.

To learn more about the Louis Vuitton brand, AIA is offering a FREE mini-course which you can find here.

Counterfeit Detection for Chanel Handbags

Chanel is a luxury brand whose handbags are highly counterfeited so understanding the basics of counterfeit detection is the first step in keeping safe when shopping the secondary market.

Chanel added in Serial Number stickers to handbags and SLGs around 1986 and items with a sticker would have a matching authenticity card with a matching number. In 2022, Chanel moved away from the numerical serial number (sticker and matching card) and implemented a small metal plaque which could be found inside of handbags with an alpha numerical number below the etched/engraved CC logo. These are also counterfeited.

The authentic reference images below will show you what authentic Chanel serial stickers will look like over the years (which are approximate).

Chanel serial numbers by years

0XXXXXX – 1986/1988
1XXXXXX – 1989/1990
2XXXXXX – 1991/1994
3XXXXXX – 1994/1996
4XXXXXX – 1996/1997
5XXXXXX – 1997/1999
6XXXXXX – 2000/2002
7XXXXXX – 2002/2003
8XXXXXX – 2003/2004
9XXXXXX – 2004/2005
10XXXXXX – 2005/2006
11XXXXXX – 2006/2008
12XXXXXX – 2008/2009
13XXXXXX – 2009/2010
14XXXXXX – 2010/2011
15XXXXXX – 2011

16XXXXXX – 2012
17XXXXXX – 2012/2013
18XXXXXX – 2013/2014
19XXXXXX – 2014
20XXXXXX – 2014/2015
21XXXXXX – 2015/2016
22XXXXXX – 2016/2017
23XXXXXX – 2017
24XXXXXX – 2017
25XXXXXX – 2018
26XXXXXX – 2018/2019
27XXXXXX – 2019
28XXXXXX – 2019
29XXXXXX – 2019
30XXXXXX – 2020
31XXXXXX – 2021
32XXXXXX – 2021/2022